Getting Your Alpaca Ready for Winter

Covered up in their thick coats of fiber, you would think Alpacas don’t require any special attention during the winter months. Winter can be absolutely brutal at times, both to humans and domesticated animals. Alpacas are not an exception to the rule.

A lot of preparation needs to be undertaken to ensure the animals are protected and save you from the winter madness, whereby goods and services can be unavailable. Here are some things to consider to get ready for winter:

1. The source of Hay
An alternative source of feed must be found because of the snow. It will be important to keep the animals well fed so that their bodies can generate enough heat during the cold months.

2. Is there enough room in the enclosed space?
Animals tend to get territorial when it comes to meals and the males may become overly aggressive in confined areas. This, in turn, can lead some of the animals that can’t fend for themselves to starve to death.

3. Alpaca Shelters
The greatest value of these camelids is their natural fiber. The fleece cover found on these animals is always in high demand and this can lead to great profit margins. During the cold seasons, alpaca shelters must be set up to protect the prized assets. Websites such as provide a convenient means of ordering the delivery and installation of barns and shelters to one’s farm. It is easier, though, to deliver the alpaca shelter to the East Coast states due to proximity to the company. The good news with alpacas is that their barns are not difficult to clean since the animals drop their dung in only one area in order to limit the spread of diseases and parasites.

It is also important to ensure that the animal shelter has enough ventilation as the animals will tend to herd closer together during the winter cold. Proper bedding that is clean and dry should also be laid out for the animals. The straw that is used should be about 7-inches deep for the animals to be comfortable.

4. Necessary arrangements for birthing and feeding
It is important to make preparations for the pregnant females and the feeding crias during the winter months. The pregnancy should be monitored closely to ensure the dam does not go into labor unattended. The crias are at risk of death if exposed to the harsh cold, therefore, cria coats and covers should be put on the babies until the temperatures rise.

Creep feeders filled with hay and feed supplements should be provided to the pregnant dams and weaning crias in the set up shelter. A lot of warm water should also be made available to ensure the animals remain healthy.

5. Weight watching
This last point is very important. The herd should be weighed every month or less depending on age. This helps to ensure the animals are healthy and with a great body score.

Using these tips will ensure you and the herd is ready for winter and the seasons ahead.