Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.................................... Wow! Is it ever cold outside! With below zero temperatures it is quite a struggle to stay warm outside when doing barn chores or just walking Stella. Stella and our indoor kitty, Gracie, are on the couch or the rug by the woodstove all day. It got so cold so fast. Dan is already wondering if we’ll have enough wood for the entire winter even though we’ve never run out. It’s hard to imagine how livestock manages to stay warm, especially creatures that do not have a warm fleece like our alpacas have. When I put my hand down in their fleece, their bodies are warm.
It was about 15 below zero with the wind this morning when I went out to the barn to bring down jugs of warm water and check on the alpacas. They were all cushed, looking quite cozy. I smiled, relieved. Then, to my horror, the water bucket was frozen solid! Some mornings it has skimmed over and a quick poke with my finger or an alpaca nose will break through, but not this time! I apologized profusely to the boys, picked up the bucket, and all but ran up to the house. Thankfully we have another unused water bucket in the garage where we also store extra hay and straw. After a quick rinse out in the kitchen sink, I filled it halfway with warm water and back to the barn I went. I added the two jugs I had brought down originally and the alpacas just stared at me, wondering what all the fuss was about. Apparently no one was thirsty.
Even though we put up a tarp to help block some wind, the boys generally cush in front of the 2 open stalls right around the hay feeders. Last night we spread out more straw for them. It’s funny to see their bodies’ imprints in the fresh straw in the morning, so we know that they were behind the windbreak at least for a short time. We’ve been stuffing the hay feeders full, full, full, and giving the boys a little extra grain in the evening. We’re going to pick up more straw and place the bales along the edges to help keep out drafts. That almost sounds ridiculous because it’s a 3 sided shelter! We still think every little bit helps.
Julio has imposed a ‘no leaving the barn’ rule since it’s been so cold and windy. Whenever one of the alpacas wanders out to the paddock or ~gasp!~ the pasture he runs out after them and noses them until they come back in. Sometimes instead of a gentle nosing it’s more like a bullying push. It’s nice to know he’s so protective but I’d prefer they’d all get at least a few minutes of sunshine!