A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

December 30, 2007

Warm Shreds or Cold?

With the temperature staying on the chilly side we have been making sure the alpacas have enough feed to keep them warm.  Certainly they all seem to be more hungry during the cold weather and are eager to see us at feeding time.

Call us soft, but during these cold months we soak the alpacas beet pulp shreds in warm water.  We just feel it must be nice to get some warmth inside them from the shreds.  I am pretty certain that in South America you don’t find alpacas sitting around the campfire warming water to soak their feed in, that would be quite the picture wouldn’t it!  Still we have the ability to give them that little luxury and they certainly don’t object.

When we soak the shreds we always check the temperature of the water to make sure that is not so hot that it will burn the alpacas lips and mouths, and usually by the time we get around to putting the shreds out the cold outside air has cooled them a lot.

One thing we have noticed though is that the shreds seem to swell up better in the warm water than they do in the cold water that we use in summer.  As part of our reasoning for feeding beet pulp shreds is to get additional water into the alpacas diet, I have started to wonder if we would not be better to soak the shreds in warm water in the summer and then allow that water to go cold before putting out the shreds. 

When we first started using beet pulp shreds in our alpacas diet we would make up a big container of them and use it over two or three days.  We found out pretty quickly though that the shreds seemed to deteriorate after a couple of days and the alpacas were not that keen on eating them, so we went to soaking the shreds on a daily basis.  I might well try soaking the shreds in warm water overnight this summer and seeing how that works out.

The temperature today is supposed to be a little warmer, but by Monday evening we are supposed to drop down to 10 to 15 degrees.  I have been busy skirting fleece in the garage this past few days and as there isn’t any heat out there I would really appreciate some warmer weather.  We seem to be in a pattern of a couple of cold days, a warmer day and then a drop back down into the cold temperatures with a little snow thrown in for good measure.  One good thing about living in New Mexico though is that we won’t be seeing this weather for too long.  With the passing of the winter solstice our days are gradually getting longer and before we know it the winds of spring will be here, followed by the heat of summer. 

Rosemary

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