Alpacas are wonderful animals and can adapt well to a variety of weather conditions. But during the bitterly cold days of winter, it is important to put a little bit of extra attention into the care and maintenance of your alpaca.
During severe winter temperatures, some alpacas have a harder time staying warm, especially if there are sudden changes in the weather or temperature.
Tip #1: Provide adequate shelter.
Offering your alpaca a warm and enclosed space to escape the unrelenting rain, wind, ice, or snow is important. Make sure that the area is warm and dry with bedding, water and food. The area should be warm and cozy and can be made with three sided shelters made with straw bales along the open side. This is helpful in blocking the wind and other drafty areas. You can also use sheets of plywood or tarps to protect the area from the cold weather elements. Be sure to have an area of bedding that allows the alpaca to stay off of the cold flooring area.
Tip #2: Provide blankets or coats.
Surprisingly enough, alpaca don’t mind wearing coats or blankets to keep warm during the cold weather. There are a variety of styles, colors, and patterns available and can be made to fit adult alpaca as well as younger ones. This is a great way to keep your alpacas warm and comfortable even in the harshest of cold winter days. Have several coats or blankets available at all times in case the one becomes dirty or wet. If you don’t want to buy new ones and are able to knit well, you can buy old sweaters at local thrift stores and knit a whole new blanket or sweater for the animals.
Tip #3: Provide appropriate food.
During cold weather, it’s important to feed your alpaca hay, not grain. This is where they get the majority of their nutrition. Be sure to keep your alpaca fed regularly and are kept full at night especially.
How do you know if your alpaca are cold?
The most obvious sign that your alpaca is not doing well in the cold weather is shivering. If you see your animals shivering or they look distressed while being out in the elements, lead them to shelter immediately. Hypothermia can set in and your alpaca will become very ill at that point. If you see the weather starting to change, get them undercover right away.
About the Author:
The Alpaca Group has over fifteen years of experience with raising and breeding alpacas. They operate on a 47 acre farm in Ridgefield, Washington. They have over 200 alpacas with diversified bloodlines and colors that are sure to make you fall in love with alpacas.
The Alpaca Group focuses their breeding program on the fiber of their alpacas. Fineness, shearing weight, and uniformity are a few of the most important values to them and their breeding program which is backed by scientific testing results.