Monday, December 13, 2010

Weather Update

While the weathermen had been saying we'd get more accumulation of snow overnight, we didn't hardly get any more. It must have gone north and south of us (based on the school closing information). My kids did get the day off school today, but that was for icy roads. With so much of the school district being rural, icy roads become a big issue quick. The other weather concern today is the temperature.

That's 15*F outside, with 82% humidity. In our house it was only 63* when that picture was taken, but we have a nice toasty fire going in the fire place and the temp is rising fast. When we are home all day I turn off the furnace and heat with the fire place only. It saves us a ton in propane, and I love a nice toasty fire.

While 15* F is cold, it's the wind chill on top of that which is the real concern. They are saying the wind chill is putting the temp below 0* F. To me the worst part of it is thinking about going outside. Actually being out there isn't near as bad as thinking about being out there. So, I braved the cold and ventured outside to give the girls their morning feeding. Emma also braved the cold and walked up to the boys barn. I find as long as I have on good layers and am bundled well I don't get cold out there. In fact, I stay toasty warm. The biggest problem is when I do too much outside and work up a sweat, once that happens, the cold sets in. The trick is to peal off layers to avoid sweating, that is the biggest downfall to staying warm out there.

We are a small enough alpaca farm that we feed each alpaca their own specific bowl of grain. We have some who get more grain because they are thin, other alpacas who get less because they are heavy. Grain amounts also has to do with age, and stage of pregnancy and so forth. I am jealous of the big farms that can have a skinny area and a heavy area. They don't have to worry about being specific for each alpaca, but just put more out in the skinny pen. One way to do that would be to put out hay with more alfalfa for the skinny ones. We don't have a skinny and a heavy pen, instead I separate them out when I feed them grain. It is more work. But, I also put each bowl down for each alpaca and can do a quick assessment of them. On a cold morning like this, I make special note to assess if any of the alpacas are shivering or acting different. Alpacas are very stoic and do not show illness or injury unless it is really bad, so you have to take note of their typical behaviors and be concerned about anything different from their typical.

After doing a quick assessment of each animal when I gave them their grain bowl, I then did another more in depth assessment of the higher risk animals: the youngest, the oldest and the skinniest. Ginger, being our youngest was given special note. Thankfully she was not shivering, and is as cute as ever:

Our eldest, Sancha, looks the same as ever:

And our two skinniest girls, Snickers and Latte, both look great:

No one was shivering, no one was acting any different than usual. Seems they are not affected by this cold snap. They did really dive into the fresh hay that I put out for them:

Even Ginger likes to dig in:

The young girls have a big hay bin to themselves. Though sometimes Spot likes to nap in there, these girls to like to spend time in their shelter:

For some reason the dams and cria do not spend much time in their shelter. I found only Tehya eating hay there:

I am home today with the kids off school and the fact my work laptop is being fixed. I have plans to spin up some yarn and have a fun fiber afternoon.


Ertman-Trowbridge Family said...

I cannot believe how big Ginger is! And what a cutie!

Good for the alpacas. I, however, prefer the warmth of the indoors and try hard to spend as little time outside as possible when it gets this cold! Sincerely, I am glad they all looked so great in these frigid temps.

Oak Haven Alpacas said...

I agree, I'd rather be spinning yarn by the fire than outside.

But I do find once I'm all bundled up and out there, I don't mind it at all. In fact, it brightens my spirits to interact with the alpacas each day.


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