A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 4, 2008

Spring, Winter, Spring

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Health — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:13 am

Dust Storm_030208It’s getting hard to keep up with the seasons around here.  Sunday started off at as beautiful spring day, calm, warm and sunny.  By the early afternoon the temperatures were in the 70’s, yet we kept receiving weather warnings that we were in for a winter storm.  Surely not, how could we possible go from such a beautiful day back to winter. 

Then it happened, about 10 minutes before I was due to start chores (Murphy’s Law of course) the skies grew grey, the wind picked up and then the dust started to blow.  I should have realized something was about to happen when I looked out of the window a few minutes earlier and saw the girls all running into their shelter – they knew what was coming.

As you can see from the picture on this post, chores were a delight that afternoon.  (Note  the round floating dots in the picture are dust particles) The winds became sustained around 50 mph and it was quite the challenge to hold onto the buckets of hay as I walked, propelled by the wind, between the pastures.  The weather was so bad the girls who normally get extra pellets at evening chores would not venture out from the shelter.  So the girls got to dine in that evening, and the hay was spread between the feeders in the shelters, to put it outside would have been a waste as it would have blown away.

Even the dogs rejected their evening walk.  Missy and Tripster set off with good intentions but when the wind gusted they decided it was time to head home.

By Sunday evening the snow was falling!  We received about 4” of snow, but only 2 – 3” landed on the ground, the rest was carried away in the winds.  By Monday morning we had a nice layer of ice under the snow, the schools closed for the day and many businesses did the same.

The good part of this was finally we received some moisture.  The snow is better than a hard rain as it slowly melts and puts moisture into the soil, where as a hard rain will only run off the ground.

By Monday afternoon the skies were blue and the snow had melted away.  The temperature was climbing and today we are supposed to be back in the 60’s.

The tough part of this drastically changing weather is it is not easy on the alpacas (nor their owners but we have a centrally heated house to retreat to).  To have temperatures that swing so sharply is definitely hard on the alpacas bodies.  To help them cope we make sure that we follow a good nutritional program and use a good probiotic on a daily basis.  The best we can do is to ensure that our herd is in prime health year round to help them fight all that nature throws at them.

We did feed the alpacas extra during the brief storm, we wanted them to be able to generate more heat internally and some extra hay for a day will help them cope through the brief cold spell.  The herd also appreciated beet pulp shreds soaked in warm water.

It looks as if we may have another weather swing later in the week, hopefully not quite as dramatic as the last one!

Rosemary

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