Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Has Arrived

Winter has arrived this week.  Lots of snow followed by a very cold -32C Saturday morning.

I commonly get asked how the alpacas like the winter.  My standard answer is that they much prefer a cold January to a humid, hot August.  Alpacas have a lot of dense fibre on their body, so if they are in good condition, and can get out of the wind, they do fine.  Most have a fibre that is about as long as my fingers on their body.  If I stick my fingers into their side, their body is very warm.

If they kush (lay on their knees) in the straw of the lean-to, they cover any of their bare parts (which is generally just their groin area.   This is Luxor in his man-cave. He is 15 years old and he is in an area with Vivaldi, the youngest male (pictured above).  I keep these gentle guys separate from the breeding males who can intimidate them.  Their man-cave is just a little lean-to built for two so that they can get out of the wind and precipitation.   They still have barn access but they like to be out here during the day.

They drink a lot more water in the winter, because the hay is dry.  Our waterers are heated, so they don't freeze.  You'll notice sparse trails in the snow in the picture of the girls area.  Alpacas really slow down in the winter weather with trails from the hay feeder to the lean-to to the barn and then to the outside waterer.  Alpacas don't like walking off the trails...even if you are coming on the trail carrying a 45 lb bale of hay for them, they will hesitate to make way for you to get by.

The sky is absolutely gorgeous bright and blue on a cold January day.  I'm thankful that my teenager loves to snowblow and plow.  It took her and the hubby several hours on Saturday.   It was a day that I was thankful that I had 5 load of laundry that needed doing...

We are making progress on the circular sock knitting machine!  I use the "Royal WE", because hubby is a gadget guy which has really come in handy while we try to figure this out.

There is a steep learning curve and lots of figuring out.

And I've figured out what acrylic yarn is useful for....(practice tubes).  It's pretty though, isn't it?


Wooly Knits n Bits said...

Beautiful tube, it would make a nice scarf!

Bug's Mommy said...

Wow our winter has finally begun in Ohio as well but that means only a few inches of snow and 20 degrees F. I had the day off today and spent it spinning some beautiful blue alpaca from your farm that I bought two summers ago. It was just lovely. Enjoy your winter weather.

Anonymous said...

Acrylic socks?.....hmmm, LOL.
Great blog
XOXO Nancy

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...'s...ahem...acrylic. (Gasp!)

Bug's Mummy...I can't even remember what 20F means...I am just so metricized!!! That was a nice day if you were spinning alpaca! I deserve one of those days soon.

Prudence Puddleduck said...

Joining multiple learn curves FAST! Oh knitted stockings and gartar belts...I love the vintage ring to that! Looking forward to Farmers Market!

farmer said...

We have very cold days -16 but no snow,just ice.
I would prefer snow for getting around on this ice has me terrified of falling.

Azure Islands Designs said...

Your tube is very pretty, acrylic or not...u are doing well on the figuring part.

Thanks for the tid bits about the Alpacas...I only know what you pass along so I enjoy the learning aspect!

What regal names, Luxor and Vivaldi!


Oak Haven Alpacas said...

very beautiful!

I found it interesting that your alpacas drink more in the winter. I find the exact opposite. I have less water buckets out and fill them less often in the winter. It's the heat of the summer when I find ours drink so much. It must be that yours get some moisture from pasture grass, as my alpacas are fed hay year around.


Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Nancy - yes, I was in disguise in the yarn aisle of the big box store. dyed yarn, not yarn changes. Countdown to the Farmer's Market.
Farmer - no bouncing for you these days ;)
Thanks Heather for dropping by.
Cara - yes, on green pasture they don't drink as much. Also, I suspect our colder winter air is dryer...(usually - today looks like rain!)

luckybunny said...

It sure has. The worst we've had is about -25, mostly it's been about -15, -10. We've got some snow now though. The blue skies and sunshine have been awesome though! I find my goats/sheep drink less in the winter, but when all of the Llamas I've ever had always drank more too - which was odd, so I found it interesting about the Alpacas. Stay warm! The days are getting longer so it's nice to be able to stay outside working longer now :) Don't feel so cooped up.