BOZEMAN — In this weather, we're all doing our best to bundle up or stay inside. But what about our animals?
And in this case, alpacas.
Even though alpacas are bred to withstand some harsh, cold temperatures, they get to a point where the freezing temperatures are too extreme to endure.
James Budd has been handling alpacas for about 20 years. His business, Alpacas of Montana, is the largest alpaca clothing company in the country.
The animals are known for their soft luxurious fleece.
“We use it for our hats, gloves, scarves, our parkas, coats, and base layer insulation," said Budd.
Unlike sheep wool, alpaca fur is made of hollow fur allowing it to trap heat. The animals are naturally insulated and can withstand some seriously cold temperatures. But not like the record-low temperatures we’ve had here in Montana.
“In Chile, Peru, and Bolivia it doesn’t get nearly as cold," said Budd. “This is excessive even for them.”
That’s why Budd says they must take extra care to ensure their alpacas are safe and warm.
“Generally speaking, the alpacas do not want to stay in this barn,” said Budd
During the day Budd lets his alpacas come and go as they please, leaving the barn door open. But at night…
“We lock the doors, give them all the food in the world, and treats,” said Budd. “Some of the older ladies here, they’re cold they don’t have as much meat on their bones so we give them coats.”
Budd says with all the alpacas huddled together in the barn, it got up to 21 degrees.
“They had a nice warm night,” said Budd.
With the weather conditions the way they are, Budd says it’s important to take care of your animals.
“Whether it’s a dog, cat, horse, or cow, get them out of the wind, maybe a blanket on them, more food, and most importantly shelter,” said Budd