Alpacas are pretty sturdy animals, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a few precautions to help them survive the winter.
The tips for preparing your alpacas for winter include providing extra food, making sure they have a source of water, winterizing their shelter, providing extra bedding, clearing out the snow for a place for the alpacas to eat, shoveling some snow for the alpacas to play in, checking your fencing, and considering if you want to put a coat on your alpacas.
Read on to find out whether or not alpacas like snow.
Provide extra food
To start us off, we are going to want to make sure we provide plenty of extra food to our alpacas during the winter.
The main reason for this is because they will need to have extra calories to burn.
You see, during the winter their bodies are going to burn calories trying to keep their bodies warm during the cold weather.
And since their body will be trying so hard to keep them warm, they will need more calories to burn.
So before the winter comes, make sure to have plenty of whatever it is you are giving them for food.
Alpacas typically like grass for their diet.
They can also eat leaves, wood, and bark as part of their diet.
But mainly grass is the food to feed them.
So make sure you have plenty of it saved up before the wintertime comes around.
Make sure they have a source of water
Once winter comes around, you have some things to consider with the water.
The first of those is what are you going to do about your water freezing over.
If you put the water into a trough, then it most likely will freeze over.
This means that the alpacas won’t be able to get to the water.
Even if you bring the water out each day at the beginning of the day (the coldest part of the day), then it is still going to freeze over.
So what are you going to do about this?
You can purchase a water heater for your trough, which means you can bring the water out for the alpacas and then not have to worry about it.
You still probably want to check the water a few times a day to make sure that your alpacas are getting enough.
But at least a water heater will allow you to keep the water from freezing over and make sure they have water all throughout the day.
Winterize their shelter
First, before we get into talking about winterizing their shelter, you have to make sure that they actually have a shelter.
This doesn’t need to be a giant barn.
It can be a shed that is large enough to hold the alpacas.
But it does need to at least have a roof and three walls.
And out of the three walls, one should be on the side where the most wind comes from.
This way, you can make sure they are protected from the wind on the side and the snow from above.
Next, you need to make sure you winterize whatever shelter your alpacas are using.
All animals benefit greatly from having a shelter they can use during the winter.
This is mostly because the shelter gives them a break from the wind since the wind makes your alpacas really cold.
So make sure that you do what you can to winterize your shelter.
First, you’ll want to check your shelter for cracks or holes.
Once you find a crack or a hole, use a good wood filler to fill in the holes.
Make sure you are checking for these before the winter starts because it will be harder for the wood filler to dry if it’s in the cold.
Next, make sure that the shelter has some areas for ventilation.
The ventilation should make it so air can get into the shed, but that the air doesn’t pass right over where the alpacas are.
This means that you should put two holes on opposite sides of the shed.
And those holes should be high enough that the air won’t pass right over the alpacas.
You do all of this for your alpacas and they will be plenty happy and warm.
Provide extra bedding
Imagine sleeping on the cold, hard ground during the winter season wherever you live.
I’m sure you wouldn’t want this, so don’t do this for your alpacas either.
The best thing you can do for them during the winter is to provide extra bedding for them.
And that also means every few weeks that you put extra bedding on top of the bedding you’ve already given them.
This can give them a nice warm place for them to sleep and to relax during those cold winter days.
Clear out the snow for a place for the alpacas to eat
Now that you have their shelter set up and have given them extra bedding, you’ll want to clear out a place for snow, if applicable.
It won’t be the best situation if you give them their food in a place where snow is located.
This is because the snow could make the food wet, which could then make it unhealthy for the alpacas to eat.
So clear out an area so you could feed your alpacas in a nice dry place.
You might want to put something on the ground where you are feeding them, such as a pallet or some plywood.
This again will raise the food off of the ground and allow the alpacas to have some dry food.
Shovel some snow for the alpacas to play in
Have you ever seen the look on your child’s face the first time they saw snow?
Or how about when you took your dog outside for them to see snow for the first time?
The same is true for your alpacas.
They absolutely love the snow.
They would spend all their time in the snow, just playing in it.
So you might do what you can to provide them a good pile of snow to play in.
If that means you pull out a shovel and make a hill for them, then you should do it.
If you have a tractor where you can move even more snow, then you should do it so you can have a nice pile for them.
But as mentioned before, make sure you have snow moved away from where they will eat and then also give them a pile of snow to play in.
Check your fencing
Alpacas are pretty good at defending themselves.
Actually, people usually get alpacas to help defend their other animals at their farm.
So the fencing is typically to keep your alpacas where you want them.
And this becomes important during the winter season.
The last thing you want is for your alpacas to get out of your yard and to walk around the neighborhood and not come back.
So it’s good to walk around your fencing and to check it for any holes that might exist.
If you find a hole in the fence, fix it the best you can and then move around to the rest of the fence to look for more holes.
Once you’ve gone around the whole fence and fixed any holes, you should be fine.
Also, keep in mind that you typically don’t need too high of a fence for your alpacas.
They aren’t like pigs, who will get out whenever they have a chance.
No, alpacas won’t try to get out if a fence is in front of them.
They won’t try to climb over it and dig under it, so as long as you keep the fence in good shape, they will stay in their assigned area.
Consider if you want to put a coat on your alpaca
Alpacas can be pretty resilient in cold weather.
They can survive pretty well up to -10 degrees celsius, which anyone in a cold-weather area can tell you that is pretty cold.
So depending on if your area gets that cold or not, you might want to consider if you want to put a coat on your alpaca.
And that is really up to you.
You won’t be hurting your alpacas if you put a coat on them, they might actually sweat.
So if you are willing to pay some money to purchase coats for them, go ahead and do it.
Just keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to do it.
Your alpacas are pretty strong animals that don’t need a whole lot during the winter.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a few things for them.
That includes making sure you provide them with shelter, some extra bedding, giving them extra food, making sure their shelter is protected, giving them their food in a dry area, piling some snow for them to play in, and thinking about whether or not you want to give them a coat to wear.
Do what you can for your alpacas and they will be happy all throughout the winter.