The University of Arizona

Diet selection and utilization by llama and sheep in a high altitude-arid rangeland of Bolivia.

D. Genin, Z. Villca, P. Abasto


Botanical composition of llamas and sheep diets were quantified monthly during 1 year in the arid highlands of Bolivia to identify competition between these species for forage resources. Results indicated higher proportions of coarse bunchgrasses in llamas diets (48 to 75%) than in sheep (37 to 68%), while sheep consumed more soft herbs and grasses than llamas (25 to 45%, and 8 to 25%, respectively). Llamas had higher (P < 0.05) digestion coefficients than sheep for organic matter, dry matter, crude protein, and fiber fractions of the principle bunchgrass paja brava (Festuca orthophylla) during the vegetative phenological stage. Shrubs represented less than 20% of the diet components in both llamas and sheep. A canonical discriminant analysis showed that there was not a strong dietary overlap between these species, and suggested that mixed herds could allow a better utilization of the overall available forage.


Bolivia;performance;Festuca;llamas;high altitude;festuca orthopylla;arid zones;voluntary intake;species differences;diet;digestibility;shrubs;sheep;seasonal variation;botanical composition;grasses;forage;feeding preferences

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