Autumn is here and so its finally time to join our stud alpaca with our girls. We have changed our mating dates in the last couple of years due to the scorching heatwaves and to make it a more pleasant experience for our alpaca mum’s and cria’s.
We now prefer our births from March to June as the weather is cooler and we have plenty of enclosures to keep the cria and mum warm and out of the rain for the first couple of weeks. Rain, wind and the cold can kill a cria so make sure you have fully-enclosed shelters/pens that will accommodate mum, cria and a companion alpaca in the shed when the weather is not so nice.
What we do:
Summer in the Hunter Valley can reach over 43+ degrees with several days in a row at this unpleasant temperature. So please ensure you have adequate shelter (deep shade) in each paddock. If its hot for you its hot for the alpacas.
Make sure all your alpacas are shorn every year. We shear every October when the sun is not burning hot as we have witnessed sunburn on alpacas shorn December and January when the sun is at it hottest.
Ensure your alpacas have deep shade as well as a large shed as a backup. They do prefer to sit under tree’s but will definitely use the shed when hail or heavy rain appears.
Make sure all your water troughs are placed in a shaded area and not sitting out under the sun. Change the water daily to keep it fresh and cool and use an auto-filler trough. Some days we place ice cubes / bags / bottles inside the trough to keep it chilled.
Shower the alpacas under their bellies on hot days and wet their legs where their sweat glands are. Give them the dam but please ensure they do not get their long skinny legs stuck in the mud and drown.
Summer time is tick time and your young alpacas are more susceptible to ticks. We have found the older alpacas seem to fight it off. So make sure you shear October when the ticks are out and check them all the way until Autumn. Its easier to find a tick on an alpaca once they have been shorn. We have guinea fowl that roam the paddocks looking for ticks also.
For cria’s born in the wind and rain make sure you have a alpaca jacket (dog jacket) for them to wear. Keep the jacket dry at all times and depending on the weather place the jacket on late afternoon and then secure in a fully enclosed pen with mum. Remove jacket early morning.
Make sure your trim your alpaca’s nails every three months. Don't let them get to long and out of shape as they will never be comfortable, look good or be easy to trim again. So trim regularly and it will make the whole process a whole lot easier for you. Hint also trim after the rain as the nails are lovely and soft to cut.
Lucern hay for mum and cria in the pens and some hay for cria to sit on and keep itself warm.