We recently were faced with this question when we put our alpacas on a pasture with a large irrigation ditch crossing through the middle. If the incentive – or curiosities - were great enough, would they cross? At first sight, our girls were more than a little apprehensive to look at it, let alone wade in the cool waters.
When it is hot outside, our ladies love to be soaked by the hose. We stand with the water full blast as they bounce, flail and run through the cool water, making sure never to get their faces wet. Because alpacas dissipate much of the heat from their bellies, we will often provide wading pools to enable our alpacas to reduce their body temperatures. The paw and splash in it, taking their time as they others wait their turn. The problem with allowing alpacas to “swim” is that it tends to rot their fiber if done too much.
Our fear was that the babies would go in and, while the slow moving ditch water is only 12-24” deep, it is easy enough to imagine that they could be swept away.
To avoid any temptations, we kept wading and drinking pools easily accessible. Not a single one ventured near the intimidating water.
By the way, through my research, I found that alpacas can swim. Luckily I have yet to see it.