Clean drinking water should be available in every paddock at all times. The general rule with most stock water is it must be clean enough that you would be prepared to drink it. Points to consider are:
- If you are breeding alpaca the trough height must be low enough to allow cria to drink.
- Alpaca have a habit, in the summer months, of standing in the troughs to cool off, and polluting the water (with fibre and dirt). This can also cause the fibre on the lower part of the legs to fall out which is of no great consequence unless you are planning to show the animal. A solution to the problem is to use small, high level, water dispensers, which are available from farm supply stores. Alternatively, a barrier can be placed over the trough to stop the alpaca climbing in, but still allowing them to drink, (eg large mesh). Care does need to be given to the safety of the barrier that has been installed as there have been instances of animals still climbing in troughs and becoming caught. Where alpaca are allowed to stand in troughs the troughs will require regular cleaning.
- Algae should not be allowed to grow in the troughs as alpaca can die from the algae bloom fungus. Algae can be easily controlled with trough blocks are which are inexpensive. An added bonus is that it contains zinc which is good for the skin and also helps with neutralizing the facial eczema fungus (the zinc content is not sufficient to prevent FE though).
One Note for Observation: when you see very young cria drink water (under 6 weeks) CHECK THE DAM for milk and/or mastitis. She may be very thin, or an older female, and may not be producing good quality milk, little milk or no milk at all. If the cria does not grow properly, this is probably the cause.