Sunday, January 23, 2011

Negative 14* F

That was our overnight temperature. By the time I got up and went outside to do farm chores, our thermometer read -8* F:

When it is this cold out, we make sure to put out extra hay. The alpacas will eat hay to keep warm, so it is essential that they have hay to eat. I would be upset if I got up on a cold morning and found their hay bins empty, I would worry someone was cold and couldn't find hay to eat. I make sure there are no empty bins by putting extra hay out.

I also check everyone over in the morning, paying special attention to the youngest and oldest, and any that are skinny. I checked Ginger, our youngest, to make sure she wasn't shivering:

I also noted that Twilight (another young one) wasn't shivering.

Both Twilight and Ginger appeared happy and healthy with no concerns noted. Our oldest, Sancha, also appeared fine, no shivering, and eating up grain just fine:

I did find it funny that you could tell which alpacas spent the night in the barn, and which ones decided to stay outside. Tehya had a layer of snow and frost on her back, showing she was out in the elements all night:

Kateri's back was snow free, though it had a little frost and lots of hay, she clearly stayed in the barn:

We don't force them to stay in the barn. We let them make their own choice about where to go. We have had some who choose to lay outside in a blizzard. They know if they are cold or not, they know when they need to seek shelter. And even those that do stay outside, they cush on hay piles that keep them warm. The hay underneath starts to compost, causing it to be warmer than the frozen ground. This warmth radiates up through the alpaca's belly as they are cushed on top of it. The snow and frost on their backs never makes it to their skin. They have that super warm wonderful fiber on their backs keeping them toasty warm. I wish I had such a warm coat!

Everyone appeared to be fine despite the cold temps. I was warm in my layers of clothing, but it was one of the only days I noticed the wind hitting the front of my legs. It sure is cold out there. I'm happy to report the sun is shining now, in an area that doesn't get a lot of sun shine this time of year, this is a welcome sight!


Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

We had 2 shivering last night...Bellesa, our 14+ girl and our suri Paisley....both have coats on now. Everyone else appears to have stayed warm throughout the night. I am so glad the sun is shining today...can't wait for a "warm up" into the 20's tomorrow!

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oak Haven Alpacas said...

I'm sorry to hear they were cold. It was really cold. We need a warm up, 20* is a good start, but I'm looking for something more!


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