When looking at farm animals, you might think sheep and goats are pretty similar, and you’ll probably see both have a lot in common with cattle.
However, you might be wondering how similar goats are to llamas.
Can they eat the same food? What happens if they do?
For the most part, goats and llamas have a very similar diet, and goats can safely eat food formulated for llamas. However, food prepared for goats is typically high in copper, which is toxic to llamas, so avoid feeding too much goat food to llamas.
Throughout this article, we’ll cover what both goats and llamas eat, the similarities and differences, and if you’re able to keep them together in the same pasture.
What Do Llamas Eat?
Llamas are the larger cousin of alpacas and eat a herbivorous diet much like other ruminants.
Being ruminants makes them very efficient at breaking down plant material for energy.
It also allows them to get the bulk of their nutrients as natural browsers.
Llamas are not picky eaters and will find daily meals consisting of a wide variety of grasses and forage.
It usually consists of bushes, flowering plants, leaves from trees, and just about anything green they can get their teeth on.
Besides fresh grass and greens, llamas will happily eat large amounts of alfalfa hay, cereal grains, and salt block mineral supplements.
Without access to pastures to browse for food during winter, most farmers will supplement hay feed with specialty pellets.
Nutrena Alpaca / Llama feed found on Amazon is an excellent example of the nutrients needed.
It includes the proper levels of protein at 14%, ~1.5% calcium, and other supplements to their mineral intake.
This product will help keep healthy animals over winter.
Besides food, access to water is another essential part of a llamas diet.
Llamas need amounts of water between 2-5 gallons per day.
Water consumption will change drastically based on temperatures, though
However, water is vital to digest food and keep them healthy and happy.
What Do Goats Eat?
The adage that goats will eat anything isn’t too far from the truth.
Most farmers will find their goats have far stronger stomachs than almost any other domesticated animal.
Goats are also ruminants and will eat every plant a llama will eat, with grass being a diet staple.
Goats will also eat alfalfa hay when they do not have access to a pasture to feed on and will need a loose mineral supplement to make up for the lacking nutrients in the hay.
The nutritional requirements of goats are easily met when they have access to a wide pasture to browse from with several plants and flowers, but without pasture access, their diet is a little more complicated.
With a mostly hay diet, goats need additional protein to keep healthy body weight, especially during winter.
One of the key nutrients goats need to be supplemented with is copper, which is pretty unique for goats to need at such a high level.
Differences And Similarities In Goat And Llama Food
For the most part, a goat will be able to eat anything a llama can eat. Both animals are ruminants who rely on forage while it is available and can survive primarily on hay the rest of the time.
Both will need mineral blocks and supplements to stay healthy on a limited diet.
Both animals are very efficient at breaking down plant material into their basic nutrients and can get most of their energy this way without other forms of protein.
Grains are great supplements for both animals and will help them maintain a balanced weight in moderation, but they can cause bloat if the animals get too much of it.
Both animals will also be unable to digest their food without clean water and need it to keep their digestive systems in line and function properly.
Fresh water should be kept in troughs and checked daily, especially during the winter, to ensure they aren’t frozen over or using automatic waterers is great, so you don’t have to keep checking the water so frequently.
Both animals also benefit from using feeders to hold their hay off the ground, which will help prevent parasites and diseases they may get from eating off the ground.
Further Reading: Most effective hay feeders for goats and llamas
Overall, goats and sheep will eat pretty much the same stuff, and if they are being kept together, they eat almost the same diet.
The only time this would change is when the goats need to be fed a copper-rich supplement, and then the llamas will need to be separated for health reasons.
Will Goats And Llamas Get Along?
If goats and llamas both eat pretty much the same diet, this means they can easily be kept together, right?
Well, thankfully, yes!
Goats and llamas usually get along great, and there are plenty of benefits to keeping them together.
A single llama kept with a herd of goats will usually all get along with them, although animal temperaments can vary from one to the other, so nothing is guaranteed.
However, in most cases, they will get along well.
Llamas are great animals to keep with goats because they are social animals who need to be kept in a herd with companion animals, and goats are a very common choice.
Llamas add the benefit to any herd they are in of being an aggressive and protective member of their herd.
They have a very powerful kick and stand up to most predators, which can make all the difference if you have problems with coyotes, foxes, or even stray dogs.
Llamas are great at protecting other animals and do it instinctually, which eliminates any training involved if you go with a livestock guardian species of dog.
It is possible to keep more than a single llama in your herd, but they risk being temperamental with others of their species, so make sure they are two who already get along.