Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ice Storm

This past Wednesday we were hit with a storm of ice, snow, rain and everything else in between. Sometimes it was hard to tell if it was ice pellets falling from the sky or snow balls, or freezing rain. Slush covered the ground, along with ice and snow in various layers. When I went out to feed our alpacas, I couldn't open the door from the garage to the backyard because it was iced shut. When I finally got outside, the ice and snow mix was so crusted that my steps didn't even make foot prints.

Prior to this storm the table and ground were completely clear of any snow, all the snow and ice on here is from the storm:

While it's not deep by snow standards, it is thick considering so much of it is ice.

Ice coated the hay tent:

This is the close up of the rope on the tent, showing the ice on the rope (it covered everything like this, including all the gates and latches that were very difficult to pry open):

Not only was there ice, but there was snow in between layers of ice, and there were little balls of snow or ice or I don't know what. I found them in the hay:

up close it looked like little styrofoam balls:

I thought it was neat how the snow and ice layers slid down the slide into this:

Our little alpacas, the 2010 cria, must have spent the night inside their shelter, just as one would expect. They were dry and happy come morning:

The older girls, our pregnant dams, on the other hand, must have slept outside, because most of them had icicles hanging off their fiber.

J's theory is that the cria are smarter than their moms and that is why they slept inside. I personally think pregnant woman tend to be warm, carrying that extra baby inside them, and I don't think they minded the wet rain, snow and sleet. Sure it covered their backs, but I don't think it penetrated further than that. They have dense fiber to keep them warm. Tehya had the most ice cover on her, and she's the one due the soonest:

Doesn't she look pathetic? I feel for her. She's due with her first cria in mid-May.

Unfortunately this theory doesn't hold up for Maddie, who did not hold her pregnancy and is actually open right now. She has ice all over her too. Maybe she's just warm naturally.

I did wonder if maybe the lower ranking females might be pushed out of the shelter by the higher ranking ones. I've heard of that happening, and I know Tehya is the lowest in the rankings in this pen (likely because she's the youngest in the older girls pen). But Maddie is not a lower ranking one, in fact she's one of the leaders just behind Victoria.

Victoria also had ice hanging off of her, and she is the clear herd leader. But then Victoria has been known to sleep outside in a blizzard. I swear she is always warm and doesn't care one bit about the cold weather.

There were a few older girls who did stay inside. Sancha, Snickers and Miss Kitty had very little ice on them. I would call them middle ranking within the herd. Snickers and Sancha are of average weight, and Miss Kitty is overweight. Miss Kitty is open, Sancha and Snickers are both pregnant. Sancha is the oldest on our farm, but Miss Kitty and Snickers are younger. So, none of them fit a certain criteria. Who knows why some stay inside and some don't. I figure if they don't care that they have ice on their backs, and they aren't showing any signs of problems from it, then I'm not going to be concerned about it either.

1 comment:

city said...

thanks for sharing.

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