Pet Male:  BMR Cooper.  Photo © Copyright Blue Moon Ranch.
as Pets
Pet Male:  BMR Raven.  Photo © Copyright Blue Moon Ranch.

The Sixth of the Eight Essentials, of Alpaca Survival:
by Linda Gardner
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      YES alpacas do need shelter! Designing basic shelter for your new alpacas will depend greatly on your location. Consider the extremes in your weather annually and then decide what kind of shelter will best protect your alpacas. They do not do well baking in the sun, and they do prefer to get out of the wind and rain. Visitors or workers who are used to horses and cattle laugh when they see our herd run for shelter at the first drop of rain.

      Take note of the prevailing winds and exposure to sun, but also the basic need of the alpaca not to feel trapped. Their need for protection from the weather is just about as strong as their need to feel safe from predators, probably more so. They feel safe when near a quick easy exit. A good way to look at it is... if you can catch them easily in a shelter, they probably won't feel safe in it. When I need to get new animals comfortable in our barn I open doors on all 4 sides to make them comfortable as they see they have many exits.

You'll be needing this size barn when you become alpaca-addicts! Photo © Copyright, Blue Moon Ranch.
This sized barn will easily hold 15 alpacas.       In the winter, a south facing opening provides lots of warming sun. In the summer, offering shade is more of a requirement. An overhang area will be the favorite spot of most alpacas in most kinds of weather, offering some protection from the weather, but still giving them the ability to see all around them. As they become more comfortable with their new home, they will feel more safe about going inside their shelter.

      Be creative, have fun, but please do provide some shelter for your alpacas. If you purchase your alpacas from a local established breeder, you will get much help and suggestions as to how to provide them with the basics.

Author: Linda Gardner of Blue Moon Ranch, Utah

Helpful Links with Additional Information:

  • Dave & Karen Galbraith & Eugenia Kearns of Walnut Creek Alpacas have got a brief overview of topics you might want to consider concerning your  Alpaca Barn.

    Barn design compliments of Randy & Barbara Coleman! Photo © Copyright, Wings & A Prayer Alpacas.
  • Jo Overbey of Rock Chimney Farm Alpacas looks at the barn from a holistic perspective -- which doesn't surprise me, knowing Jo! Check out  Physical Plant, and see if you don't learn a thing or two or three.

  • This is the only retail link on the site, and I've made this exception, not because Klene Pipe Structures gave me a kickback, but because they have an excellent group of sketches you might find interesting if you're going to be building a shelter for your pet boys. These barns aren't suitable for breeding stock - but our site is dedicated to caring for pets!  Open Shelter Frames.

  • It's good to see Canadian taxes hard at work!!! The Canadian Plan Service has a plan on their web site for a  Calf Range Shelter that would also be suitable for pet alpaca boys. Note that the shelter is built on skids to allow it to be drug about.....which is why they've got the temporary 2x4 across the front. This would need to be removed as alpacas aren't real good about crawling under or jumping over much of anything!

  • And we'll wrap up the list of links with yet another from John Merrell of Gateway Farm Alpacas, who prefers to use a  Modified Loafing Shed.

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