Alpaca shelters are a critical part of any Alpaca operation regardless of size. A well designed, well laid out shelter can be the difference from the daily chores being a labor of love or becoming a daunting daily task.
Shelters can be very economical and simple to very complex and expensive. As with most decisions in life, we are only limited by our imagination and the amount of money we have to spend. That said, the same basic keys to success apply to all shelters.
Key # 1 - Location, Location, LocationThe Alpaca shelter needs to be located in a dry well draining area ALL YEAR LONG. Natural drainage is your friend and it will make a world of difference in the amount of time cleaning and caring for the alpacas, as well as the ability to maintain a healthy environment for them if you can take advantage of dry, well draining location.
Key # 2 - Water
Alpacas need access to clean drinking water 24/7, 365 days a year. So having an underground water supply into the alpaca shelter is a must. You do not want to get into the habit of having to haul water from somewhere else on the property. This is especially important in cold climate areas where freezing temperatures are possible. Also to try and dig a water line into an existing alpaca structure carries its own unique set of head aches and is best avoided if possible.
Key # 3 - Power
Having access to adequate power in the alpaca structure will make life much easier for all involved. An extension cord from the house just won’t cut it. By the time you have enough extension cord to reach from the house there isn’t enough juice in the end of the cord left to power anything adequately. To try and run anything on an under-powered cord will create an unsafe situation by overloading the circuit and risking an electrical fire. It is a very good idea to have a licensed electrician come and evaluate your electrical needs and make the appropriate installation.
Key #4 - Layout
When an alpaca shelter is laid out correctly the day to day operations and routine husbandry tasks will run smoothly. Each alpaca operation will be unique. It is important to create a layout that works for you. So this is where you get to employ a little trial and error to see what will work best. Nothing here at East Coast Alpacas has ever been cast in stone, believe me! It took us several years to arrive at the layout we use today.
East Coast Alpacas in conjuction with BH Construction (our home improvement company) offers complete alpaca shelter and fence installation throughout Maine and the New England area.
Contact us for details.