Alpacas in Winter

Alpaca fiber is oh, so, so warm and socks, hats, scarves, gloves, and sweaters made from alpaca, are the best!  Alpacas have their fiber to keep them warm, and honestly they mind the heat much more than the cold. However, there are times and conditions when our alpacas appreciate a little help keeping warm.

Alpacas in Winter

Our rule of thumb is that we close the alpacas in the barn, when we hit single digit temperatures.  Even alpacas appreciate being able to get out of cold, harsh winds and pelting rain or snow.  We line the inside walls of their shelter with bales of straw, stacked three or four high, to cut down on the drafts as well as have handy for layering on top of the manure.  Other than the cold and the snow, alpaca care is actually a little easier in the winter because we don’t clean up the manure in the barn.  Rather we spread straw on top of the manure.  Heat is generated from the lower layers of composting manure and straw.

Alpacas in Winter

Feed ahead of the weather.  In winter, we always have plenty of hay available and when it is cold, our alpacas easily eat twice as much.  They seem to know when a change in the weather is coming.

Alpacas in Winter

Older alpacas and little ones can have trouble staying warm.  There actually is Winter Wear which can help immensely especially if an alpaca is sick or compromised in some way.

Alpacas in Winter

Below are some tips written by Ben Fisco of Humminghill Suri Alpaca Farm on “Raising Alpacas in Harsh Winter Climates”.  Read the entire article here.

  1. Breed for spring and autumn births.
  2. Use layered, thick, dry bedding in sheds and barn.
  3. Bring alpacas inside in extreme cold and when they are wet dry them off before sending them back to the pasture.
  4. Use a flame and fan-free heating system when heat is used.
  5. Avoid drafts.
  6. Provide good drainage.
  7. Provide good ventilation and air circulation in all barns year round.
  8. Clear pastures of snow in areas large enough to provide exercise.
  9. For cria hypothermia, place cria in a plastic water-tight bag in warm water up to, but not including, the head.
  10. Use heated water buckets.
  11. Use cria coats and coats for adults when you see them shiver.  Use common sense.
  12. Feed large volumes of high quality hay in cold weather.

Alpacas in Winter

Several other helpful articles:

Can It Get Any Colder?
Tips On Raising Suris in Cold Weather

So, Whose Idea Was It?

Alpacas are herd animals, and when one does it, they all do!

Alpacas Venture Out in the Snow!

Whether it is going to the barn, to the pasture, waking up, going to sleep, or using the dung pile, I find myself wondering…
“so, whose idea was it”?

More Alpacas In the Snow

After days in the barn, one of them must have decided, “we are out of here”!

More Alpacas In the Snow

They made lots of tracks in the new fallen snow…

Hank

And almost seemed surprised to see all the white stuff!

Lorelei

They ran and played…

Gus

And looked for something, anything green…

Alpacas Looking for Something Green

Aurora

Some would have rather stayed in the barn…

Ladyhoo and Mayflower

It wasn’t grass but it would have to do!

Miss Miami

Some posed for pictures…

Champa Eating Snow

Others ate snow!

Lacy Lady and Friends

They were curious to see all that was new, happy to be out of the barn, and it was one of those times that I stopped my work…to watch…and enjoy…our beautiful alpacas!

 

Winter At Alpaca Meadows



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