Hands down, number one, is SHEAR. Every alpaca, suri or huacaya, needs to be shorn every year. If leg wool is left on one year, it should be completely shorn off the following year. Otherwise, the mats that develop contribute to holding heat in.
SHADE. All alpacas need access to shade at all times. This can be trees or bushes or man-made structures or “tarp tents”.
COOL drinking water. Alpacas will not drink warm water. A bucket of water can easily warm up to the temperature of hot tea, even in western Washington. Buckets need to be checked and changed several times a day. Freezing water in a plastic milk jug and putting that in the bucket helps keep water within a drinkable temperature range. Large metal tanks work well in climates that cool off at night – the sheer volume keeps the water from heating up too quickly. Tank covers (with a drinking hole) also help keep water temperature down, and help control algae growth as well as prevent alpacas wading or climbing in.
Wading pools. Most alpacas will use a wading pool. Some may need initial coaxing. There are those that cautiously dip in just one foot at a time . . . and those that climb in and sit down and refuse to share. The cheap hard plastic kind work best (leaks can be taped on both sides with duct tape and they last many years).
Sprinklers --- a low hard plastic or metal type with just holes for water to come through works well. Alpacas love to have their belly wet and may very well sit down on top of their sprinkler. This is hard on some types of sprinklers . . .
Soaker hoses and damp sand pits –alpacas love these!
Hosing off: only water the legs, belly and front neck. DO NOT WATER THE BACK as this mats the fleece and traps heat in.
Ponds – maybe. There have been several report of alpacas “post-holing” and becoming stuck in clay/mud. As well as being unable to get out due to slippery banks. Alpacas will eat pond plants and muddy the water and any bird habitat. Most alpacas seem to be waders and not swimmers.
Fans & Misters. Livestock supply companies sell heavy-duty commercial fans and misters for cooling living quarters.
A DOWN ALPACA--- if you suspect heat stress, immediate cooling action is required (hosing, ice packs). This is life-threatening. Call your vet.
Luna Rosa Ranch Suri Alpacas
Breeding Quality Colored & Patterned Suris
The Luna Rosa Suri . . . When only the finest will do.