2022/2023 Alpaca Owners Guide

Alpaca Barns, Pens, and Pastures

 Is the area zoned for raising livestock and specifically alpacas?  Are neighbors so close that your operation may affect them?  Is there adequate access to an all-weather road system?  Can you secure the property?  Is the land well-drained, yet level enough to work without incurring significant expenses?  Can utilities be made available to the site?  Can you develop an adequate driveway access on the property?  Is the site protected from harsh winds in the winter? If not, can you design plantings to accomplish this?  Is there adequate air-flow to the area for cooling in the summer?  Do you understand environmental regulations governing livestock operations for that site?  General Layout The barn is the hub or central feature in the design process. It should be located near utilities, have an all-weather driveway with access to a road system, and be somewhat in the middle zone of the developable land on the property. The barn should be situated to allow pen and pasture layout on three sides. Design the general layout—barn, pens, and pastures—to maximize future expansion possibilities. Starting out, you can build pens and pastures off of just one side of the barn. Later on, you can expand your operation, and place pens and pastures off the second and third sides of the barn, if you desire.  The Barn—"Grand Central Station" A barn serves many purposes for alpaca ranchers. A well designed barn provides the alpacas a place to seek protection from the weather. Barns also provide alpaca ranchers with a place to store equipment used in working with alpacas, store feed for the alpacas, and an area for handling the alpacas out of the weather.

By Bill and Sherri Duey " P lan for Success” has been a principle guiding many peop l e to happy and prosperous lives. That time-tested adage has great application for setting up or expanding an alpaca ranching facility. This article will discuss things to consider for designing an alpaca ranch or expanding existing facilities. Considerations will include site location, general layout, barns, barn interior features, exterior pens, pastures, and quarantine facilities.  Site Location Farms and acreages all have characteristics that are unique to that property. Many sites can work well for raising alpacas, but some are either currently not developable or have serious limitations for future expansion possibilities. Consider the following in selecting a site for the barn, pens, and pastures:

Features of barn structures that should be considered include large, open, attached shed roof overhangs, screened windows with generous air flow, water, electricity, large overhead door for equipment access, single entry/exit walk-through door for people, etc. Photo courtesy of the authors

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