A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 1, 2007

Sharing A Refreshing Drink On A Hot Day

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpaca Health, Alpacas, camelids, General — alpacalady @ 7:56 am

As our weather continues to warm up we start to take more precautions to ensure that alpacas are comfortable during the heat.

Here on the high plains of eastern New Mexico we are fortunate that we have a dry heat and usually some form of breeze (although on most days “wind” would be a more accurate description).  This makes our heat more tolerable than if we had humidity added into the mix.

Our alpaca shelters are all three sided to allow air to circulate within them and as the weather warms up we set large fans going in each one.  The fans are set to run across the ground and we also damp the ground in front of the fans giving the alpacas a nice place to cush and cool off on.

Another precaution that we take to help our herd stay healthy during the heat is the adding of electrolytes to the alpaca’s water.    There are several electrolytes available that are specific to livestock, but we find most alpaca breeders use good old Gatorade.  Our herd seems to favor the lemon-lime flavor but I hear that cherry flavor is a big hit too if you can get it.  So far the cherry flavor Gatorade has not shown up in our stores and usually we only have a choice of lemon-line, fruit punch or orange.

Another product I have recently heard of being used as an electrolyte in alpaca water is Emergen-C.  Emergen-C is sold as an energy booster/antioxidant mix for humans but it does contain electrolytes too.  I use Emergen-C on myself when I am trying to avoid catching a cold and also when I fly or travel and have found it to be quite effective but have not yet used it on our alpacas.  Emergen-C contains 1,000 mg of vitamin C and while I understand that excess vitamin C is usually passed out of the body via urine I wonder if there would be any long term effect of using a product with such a high dose of vitamin C throughout the summer.  Another question for the vet the next time I talk to him.

In the meantime we will stick to what we know is safe and offer the lemon-lime Gatorade to the boys and girls,

We usually buy the large tubs of powdered Gatorade and add about half of one of the enclosed scoops to each 3 gallon bucket of water.  One word of warning though when you are putting out electrolytes, always make sure there is also some plain water available – while most alpacas do love the flavored water sometimes there are one or two that do not like it.  Plain water must be available at all times so that those that do not like the Gatorade have something to drink.  So always make sure you put out that bucket of plain water too and check that it is filled up throughout the day.  Once the temperature drops in the evening we usually offer only plain water to the alpacas. 

The only problem I have had with using Gatorade so far is that as I mix up the alpacas Gatorade buckets I start to want to have a drink of it myself, especially if it is a hot day!  I keep a bottle of cold water with me when I am doing chores in the heat, but have so far managed to resist taking a drink of Gatorade from the alpaca buckets which is probably a good thing!  I just have to wait until chores are over and then sit down in the cool of the house and have a long drink of Gatorade for myself.

Rosemary

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