While the trees are finally showing their fall colors it is time to make winter preparations on the farm. We had a wet year here in Kansas and we still have some green grass which is unusual for this time of year. The alpacas are certainly making good use of it. They are also enjoying the cold nights. The frosty mornings bring icy water buckets and troughs so top of the list of winter jobs is looking out the heated water buckets and trough heaters. These all need to be checked to make sure they are working. Keeping spares on hand is a good idea as breaking thick ice is no fun! I have already noticed that the alpacas are drinking less water and that is something that needs to be monitored. You may need to offer a bucket of warm water if the animals are not drinking enough.
Now is the time to check your hay store. Do you have enough for the whole winter or do you have access to a source of hay if you run out? Pay attention to the condition of your alpacas now and identify any that may need extra feeding over the winter. We have two nineteen year olds that we monitor very closely. At the moment they both look good. We always have sugar beet and alfalfa pellets on hand in case one of the animals needs extra feed.
It is also time to check all the field shelters and the barns for any repairs that need to be done to make sure they are secure and water proof. Pastures also need some attention particularly those that are not going to be used over the winter. They need to be tidied up and winter weeds taken care of.
Making preparations now will help you be better prepared for whatever winter brings!