A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 28, 2009

You know it’s really cold when …


The alpaca poop piles are frozen!  Yes, they were frozen solid this morning, hardly surprising as the temperature was only 15 degrees when we first went out.  The prospect of the frozen poop piles made me wonder what other alpaca breeders do who live in areas where the cold stays around for longer.  Our temperature is supposed to get up in the fifties today, but I know in some of the northern states the cold temperatures linger for days or even weeks.  I suppose their farms are designed more to cope with the cold weather than farms in the Southwest are, but still there must be some weeks when daily poop clean up is impossible due to the poop piles being frozen.


Apart from the frozen poop piles our herd fared well during the cold night.  Sunrise found most of the herd cushed in the shelters with a couple of brave souls venturing out to eat hay from one of the outside hay feeders.  I am always concerned that the small crias might feel the cold.  Our fall crias are too big for cria coats and are still quite vulnerable, but they didn’t seem to be bothered by the cold.  Their fleece is now reaching a length where it gives them better protection and insulation.


As I looked at the girl’s pasture I could see our resident American Hawk huddled up on the fence line with his feathers puffed out.  Usually he perches higher up in the trees on the north side of the property, perhaps the house was providing some protection from the wind and a warmer area for him to perch in.


All of the alpacas were glad to receive their morning feed and fresh hay followed by some warm soaked beet shreds.  Fresh water all round was a welcome provision, even though it is cold the alpacas still need to have a good supply of fresh water to keep them properly hydrated and functioning well.


Even the dogs were not too bothered by the cold on their morning walk, chasing the scent of rabbits over the property and sniffing out evidence of other visitors to the farm overnight.  The cold must have started to get to them though as they voluntarily cut short their walk and headed home before I told them to do so.


The joy of living in New Mexico is that cold weather does not usually last long, by yesterday afternoon we had sunny blue skies and the temperature had climbed to 32 degrees.  Warm enough to thaw out those poop piles and send me back outside for another round of poop scooping.  The down side of living in New Mexico is the lack of moisture, yet again the promised moisture passed us by with not a drop falling from the sky.  Let’s hope that spring brings us some much needed rain.


Today is supposed to reach the mid fifties so the chore routine will be closer to normal, no more frozen poop piles and icy water buckets I hope!



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