Sunday, August 15, 2010


I know we haven't had it as bad as much of the country, but we have had higher than usual temps. I've also noticed more higher humidity days. I can't think of a summer that we have run our air conditioning this much. Last summer we struggled to hit 80*, and here we are in the 90's (though the day I took this picture wasn't a higher humidity day):

The poor alpacas do not like hot and humid. They handle the cold better than the heat, their fiber is too insulating for this type of weather. And from what I've read, this is not weather typical to their native land.

I do wonder what effect the heat could have on them. I remember the first year we had alpacas it was a warm summer, and by the time the fall shows came around, many alpacas did not have enough fiber growth to meet the full fleece classes. The warmer temps actually slowed down the fiber growth rate (which makes sense from a nature point of view, if it's hot, they don't need the fiber for warmth). Makes me even more glad we are not going to a fall show until November. Our animals will have plenty of growth by then (they need 2 inches to qualify as full fleece). If we were going to any of the September shows, we would be quite concerned right now (I never want to show in shorn again, as I've blogged about in past posts). We also have noticed having to rebred more of our dams this summer. In the past almost all of them took on the first try. I don't know if that is due to the heat, or something else going on. But it makes sense to me, again from a nature point of view, that a pregnancy wouldn't take when conditions are rough.

To keep them cool, we have fans running in all the barns. We use the same fans we take to the shows. Here are the fans in the maiden's barn:

I hose them down a few times a day (even alpacas who in the past didn't want to be hosed down, have decided they like it after all). Here are our maiden girls with wet chests, bellies and legs from being hosed off:

They have the least amount of fiber on their bellies, and their chest is where they regulate their temperature. Cold water from the hose on those areas really cools down their entire body. Their typical routine after I hose them off is to go roll. Some of them will then go sun themselves! Others will head to the barn to cush in front of the fans.

I have a pool set up for Spot (the alpacas could use it too, but none of them are interested). Spot will get into the pool and splash around, but only on the really hot days:

A couple weeks back I ran out of DE (diatomaceous earth). I blogged about this wonderful product back in May. I had been using the DE to keep the fly population down (and other parasites). With this hot humid weather, we have had an explosion of flies. J's been on a stretch of working nights, and he has not been feeling well. I've been busier than usual at work, so neither of us have had a chance to get to the mill for more DE (it was very hard to find the DE to begin with, and the mill that does have it is a bit of a drive for us). I do have to say that the DE works amazingly, well worth the extra effort to find.

While it is hot and humid, I keep reminding myself that I dislike winter more than this weather. We live in an area that does not get much sun in the winter, I've learned to cheerish the sun. And it's a pain to put on several layers of clothing just to step outside. I really do love the sun and the warmth. I love stepping out back and seeing our cria pronk and play. Hosing them down is fun. The ladies especially love it. It's funny how their personalities show through when that hose comes out. Many of them will let me put the hose right on their belly. Some of them sniff my head while I hose them down. Some will squeal and push others away to get their turn. Rosco always jumps straight in the air when the hose water hits her, but she loves being hosed down. It's like a jump of glee.

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