Alpacas and hot weather

The alpacas are a pretty durable animal but they should/must be sheared in the spring before hot weather arrives.  We sheared later than usual this year, in late April, but I have decided that is the best time, late April into May.  Earlier than April and we have cold weather that hits us late in the season; one year we were shearing in March and it was sleeting!  The alpacas were shivering.  The later in the spring you shear, then the less “grow back” of their fleece by the time the hot weather is here.

I have a big, cheapy  thermometer I bought (Dollar Tree store, everything really is a dollar!), and it helps me keep an eye on the temp in their barn.  We designed it with doors on the east and west sides so there is usually always a very nice breeze that comes through and they like being able to see all around them and not feel trapped.  They hang out in the heat of the day and I turn on the ceiling fans in the late morning which really move the air (they are 3 blades and look like airplane propellers bought through Farmtek catalog, Canarm reversible, with manual speed control). 


pregnanat Sarah's Flashback (aka Flash) enjoying her hay

pregnanat Sarah's Flashback (aka Flash) enjoying her hay

Hershey Surprise, settled in with his hay

Hershey Surprise, settled in with his hay

The nice green grass has slowed down growth and so I divided up a bale of hay so they could munch on something and they each got their own flake today; I am using the hay troughs, turned over, to keep their buckets of water raised up high so they can’t dip their feet in the buckets in the hot weather.  This is another project on my husband’s list, after the chicken coops, is to build a platform the water buckets can sit on.   So I got a few pics of them enjoying their hay today.

I usually will top off their water late in the morning and while I am there I give them a spray down to cool them off a bit.  They line up for this and jockey for position to be directly in front of the hose.  Keeping the water on their lower and underneath sides keeps the wet off their back and from trapping in the heat in their fleece, creating a sauna effect.  They are happy campers after a bit of a spray.


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