Top 7 Tips To Prepare Your Llamas For Winter


You might take a look at your llamas and think they are going to be perfectly fine through the winter.

But don’t let their looks fool you.

There are a few things you should do to help your llama get through the winter season.

These tips include providing additional food, providing cracked corn with their food, checking their shelter, providing extra bedding, taking care of the water that might freeze over, considering if you want jackets on your llamas, and possibly providing a heat lamp in their shelter.

Read on to find out one extra tip for llamas and the winter.

Provide additional food

First and foremost, your llama’s bodies are going to try their best to keep warm during the wintertime.

This means that they are going to expend more heat than they usually do to keep warm.

As opposed to the summer, when they have to try their hardest to cool down, so they will do things like be in the shade or play in the water.

In the wintertime, they don’t have options like these, so the body does its best by generating more heat to keep the llama warm.

And because they are generating more heat, they will be burning more fuel.

This means they need more food to keep up with the fuel they are burning.

It would be like if you were going to the gym for hours a day, but you only ate the same amount of food as when you don’t go to the gym.

You are going to be so hungry all the time or you will barely be able to walk.

So you need to provide more food to your llamas so they generate the heat they need to stay warm.

Provide cracked corn with their food

Cracked corn is a good, high-energy source for llamas.

So the wintertime is a perfect time to provide this to your llamas.

It isn’t typically recommended to give to your llamas at other times besides the winter because of the amount of energy it allows your llamas to have.

As we’ve discussed earlier, your llamas need to have a lot of energy for the amount of heat they are going to generate to keep them warm.

And so cracked corn would be a perfect supplement to this.

According to ShagBarkRidge.com:

Corn, a grain, is also a high energy source and may be added to the diet under certain circumstances. Animals in early lactation or in late gestation may have 3/4 lb. cracked corn added to their diet for energy. In extreme cold weather, 1/4 lb. of cracked corn per 100 lbs. of body weight for every 10 degrees below 30 degrees up to a maximum of 2 lbs. per head. A second feeding with the addition of cracked corn (breakfast) may be added to the expectant mother’s diet about 4-6 weeks before her delivery date and then continue with the additional feeding after birth. Especially if the mother is prone to losing a lot of weight after giving birth and having the nursing cria at her side. This is a good time to use your “body scoring” and/or keep a monthly record of her weight Grains, such as corn or oats, should only be used as supplemental high-energy sources and are normally not given during hot humid weather.

http://www.shagbarkridge.com/info/feed.html

So cracked corn should only be given to llamas in certain circumstances, with winter being one of those circumstances.

Check their shelter

Now that you’ve taken care of the feeding portion of winter, you next need to consider their shelter.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind for the llama shelter.

First, it should be a place that is a respite from the cold.

This means it should be a place they can go to to get away from the wind and breeze.

So, the shelter needs to have a roof and at least one wall.

And that one wall should be facing the side that gets the most wind.

It would be preferable that the shelter have three walls, if possible.

Three walls mean that they will be covered on most sides from the wind and it will also keep in most of the heat that the llama generates.

But one wall would be sufficient if that is all that you have.

Second, the shelter should be clear of cracks and holes.

You see, if there are cracks and holes in the shelter, then that makes the shelter pointless since the reason you have it is to keep the llama safe from the cold breeze.

With cracks and holes, the breeze is going to get into the shelter regardless.

So make sure to walk around the shelter and look for any holes or cracks you might find.

If you find one, make sure to fill it in.

A few options for filling in the hole include wood filler or taking a piece of cardboard and putting it over the crack or hole and using some kind of tape to keep the cardboard in place.

Once you have the crack or hole filled in, you next want to make sure the shelter has some ventilation.

There is a difference between a hole and some ventilation.

Ventilation is strategically placed so that clean air is brought into the shelter and then taken out of the shelter without going across the llama.

This allows good air to circulate through the shelter without making the llama colder.

Holes and cracks on the other hand typically make the llama colder.

So ventilation should be put at the top of the shelter.

Of course, if there is only one wall to the shelter, then you don’t need to worry about ventilation (your ventilation is just having one wall)

Provide extra bedding

Just like you probably won’t want to sleep on a cold floor, neither do the llamas.

So you should provide a nice warm place for them to sleep and to relax.

And this means providing some extra bedding for them.

Llamas typically like to have straw for their bedding.

So when it comes to the wintertime, give them plenty of straw to use to lay down on and to sleep.

Now the llamas might eat some of the straw that you’ve provided for bedding.

So it becomes important to check the llamas on a regular basis and make sure that if they are eating the straw, that you then provide more straw for them to use as bedding.

Tak care of the water that might freeze over

Now you’ve got your llamas set up in their shelter with extra food and with a break from the wind.

Now you need to make sure they are getting plenty of water.

Llamas should be consuming between half and one and a half gallons of water per day.

This is quite a bit of water for them to drink.

So you need to do a bit to make sure that they are taken care of.

The first of this means that you have to have a trough that is big enough to hold the water they will need during the day (unless you want to be going outside and giving them water multiple times a day).

This trough should give you just enough water for a llama to have during the day.

The nice thing about it is if the water freezes over, you should be able to pretty easily dump the ice on the ground and then fill it up again.

The next thing you have to remember is like I mentioned above where the water may freeze over.

And depending on where you live and what the temperature looks like, this could happen to you a few times a day.

So you can either go out and check on the water a few times throughout the day, or you could purchase a heater for your water feeder.

This water heater should work for getting your water warm for your llamas.

It might be a little bit expensive for what it does, but it will probably beat having to get dressed up a few times a day to go outside and check on the water.

Consider if you want jackets on your llamas

From stories I’ve read, llamas like to be in the snow.

Many people have reported going outside and finding their llamas sitting out of their shelter while the snow is falling down on top of them.

They might do this to help them cool down or they just might like how it feels, but otherwise, it seems that the llamas can deal with the snow pretty well.

So you need to consider whether or not you want to put a jacket on your llama.

It seems that llamas can do pretty well without a jacket, but if you live in an area that is very breezy or gets unreasonably cold, then get a jacket for your llama.

And this will help them stay warm during those really low temperatures.

Possibly providing a heat lamp in their shelter

Lastly, think about whether or not you want to have a heat lamp for your llama.

Most articles you will read online tell you that you don’t need a heat lamp and the cons far outweigh the pros.

This is because people are afraid that fires might be started from the heat lamps in cases where you don’t even need them.

Llamas can tolerate temperatures up to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty cold.

So if you are worried about possibly starting a fire in your shelter, then you should pass on it.

But if you feel like you can provide the heat lamp without starting a fire, then go ahead and put it in place.

Again, it all depends on what you feel comfortable doing.

Summary

Llamas are pretty sturdy animals and they can take quite a bit.

This includes during the winter.

But you’ll want to make sure to give them shelter with additional food and water, while also giving them extra bedding and making sure they are staying as warm as they can be.

If you do this, your llamas will be happy.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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