John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Shelter

Shelter for alpacas is pretty basic in most areas.  Protection from wind and rain are the most important considerations, and simple three sided shelters are often all that is needed.

Alpaca fiber has exceptional insulation properties, protecting the animals from cold.  We have seen adult alpacas carry a dusting of frost until late in the morning on cold winter days!

alpaca shelterThat said, wind and wet are an alpaca's enemy.  It is important that the animals be able to find shelter from wind and rain, since wind chill can quickly cause harm.

It should also be noted that very young cria lack sufficient thermal regulation to maintain body temperature.  Winter birthing is not advised for the colder climates.

Alpacas can also be susceptible to heat, particularly if they are not shorn. The earliest signs of heat stress are heavy breathing, flared nostrils and listlessness. Owners in hotter climates often provide fans or even misters to cool the animals, although we have generally found adequate shade to be sufficient.

 For most climates a three sided shelter is all that is needed, although a barn comes in pretty handy at times.

Flooring can take many forms. Given alpacas' proclivity to use the shelter as a restroom during inclement weather, we do not recommend dirt floors.  To difficult to clean up.

Many have found concrete paver bricks to be a perfect solution for their barn floors.  These provide a nice compromise between concrete slabs and other materials such as crushed granite. 

We have opted for a modified loafing shed on our farm.  Rather than three full walls with the front being left open, our shelters have half walls on all four sides.  This provides shelter from the wind regardless of its direction.  It also provides the animals as sense of open space, which they seem to appreciate.  It is our experience that alpacas do not particularly like enclosed spaces.

By building shelters  of our own design we have also facilitated management of the animals.  Each of our shelters measures 10 X 40 feet.  A 10 X 10 foot hay storage room is on one end.  The interior space is 10 X 30 feet.

These shelters have proven adequate for up to 15 alpacas. 

Alpaca Shelter

Depending on the prevalent winds, rain and other local conditions, it is possible to attach corrugated fiberglass panels to the open part of the walls, providing additional shelter in inclement weather while still providing light inside the shelter.  These can be removed during the summer, or they can be hinged so they are easily raised.



 
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"There were three species of this genus in Peru, the llama, alpaca, and vicuna. These domesticated and constituted what the Spaniards in their first reports called sheep..."

- Emory Allen
The Prehistoric World; or, Vanished races
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