A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 12, 2008

Wet Weather Jack In The Boxes

Yesterday we were treated to some heavy moisture as a result of Hurricane Norbert coming in over California.  It’s amazing to think that weather in California could affect our weather in New Mexico, but on this occasion it did.  The day started off with some heavy showers in the morning the rain became heavier and steadier rain as the day went on.


With three young cria in the pasture I wanted to make sure they stayed as dry as possible.  Sometimes a crias dam will get comfortable sitting out in the pasture during a heavy rain and there beside her will be her soaking wet cria.  I know that alpacas are pasture animals and a little rain will not hurt them, but I hate the thought of a young cria getting soaked to the skin and then becoming cold and possibly chilled as the evening draws in.


In preparation for the weather I had some cria coats ready.  Carina’s cria has been wearing a cria coat at night since she was born, but Sleeper and Dutchesses cria were not used to wearing cria coats.  As soon as it started to sprinkle with rain I went out and put the coats on the crias.  Once a cria is wet it can do more harm than good to put a coat on over their wet fleece so I wanted to get the coats on the crias before they became wet.


Throughout the day I would check on the crias.  At one point when there was a break in the rain, Dutchesses cria suddenly appeared without his cria coat on.  He was running and kicking his little legs up in the air as if to say, “I’m free, I’ve got it off” and there in the pasture lay his cria coat.  I went out and put the cria coat back on, much to the little guy’s disgust.  He’s a macho young man and I think the idea of having to wear a cria coat was not macho enough for him!


Whenever the rain started to increase I would look out to check that the crias were inside the shelter and quite often they were not.  Their dams were all taking shelter but the three little ones would be sitting out in the pasture cushed in the rain.  So out I would go and put the crias back in the shelter, where they would stay either until the rain eased or until they felt it was a good time to run outside again.  I seemed to spend most of my afternoon running out, gathering up crias and putting them back in the shelter, only to find they had popped back out again a short while later.  It was like trying to keep the lid on three very active Jack in the Boxes!


For most of the year our three sided shelters are great for our weather, but on a day like yesterday it would have been lovely to have a barn I could have penned the crias and their dams in.  Still this amount of rainfall is a rare occurrence in our area and our alpacas much prefer to be out than in, so it is hard to justify building a large enclosed barn to be used just a few times a year.


I am not sure that the crias found their trips in and out of the barn fun, but towards the end of the day I did start to wonder if I was the victim of a mischievous alpaca game, as the little ones tried to see how often and how fast they could get me to come out of the house to put them back into the shelter!



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