For better herd management, plan your alpaca farm layout on paper before you do anything else. If you already own property like we did, then the cost will not be too much. It was a couple of thousand dollars to make our 5 acres alpaca ready. We did ALL the work ourselves which saved us a lot of money.
Figure on maintaining 8-10 alpacas per acre. Always allow for expansion. Somehow you just won’t be able to stop at two alpaca. Alpaca are easy on pastures but they can still be overgrazed. So plan for rotating pastures.
Make sure you use GATES, GATES, AND MORE GATES for the best alpaca farm layout. Cross fence your pasture with a gate in between and one at each end. It’s easier to move your herd from pasture to pasture. And don’t forget to make your gates large enough to get farm equipment through without difficulty. Your alpaca farm layout should include proper fencing. Use of a laneway would be ideal. We don’t use one and do just fine but our herd is really small, only 8 animals. We can see that it would be a great benefit to a larger farm.
Your alpaca farm layout should have an area for quarantining animals, a breeding area (if you will own studs), a separate area for males and females, and an area designated for cria watch.
Don’t forget to think of safety issues when planning your alpaca farm layout. We have our pastures within site of our house. We love to watch the animals but we, also, want to know what’s going on out in the fields. You especially need to keep an eye on pregnant females and cria. We keep them in the pasture closest to the house.
You may need to separate out your males. We have two that constantly fight. Most of the time they have what we call “little disagreements”. But when all-out-war breaks out, we have separated them for a while. As they age and fight to establish dominance, we may decide to put them in separate pastures permanently so they do not harm each other.
We live in an area where the wind can gust to sixty miles per hour or more.
We have a three-sided shelter that we can move around. It is not permanently in the ground but it is very heavy and we thought it would be fine…until one day the wind picked it up, turned it upside down, and impaled the roof on our fence. We turned it a different direction and it has stayed put through some of our highest gusts.
ELECTRICITY, WATER, SHELTER
We have an electrical outlet in the main male pasture and the female pasture is close enough that we use extension cords to the field to heat water in the winter. It would be better to have run electricity to this pasture, too, as we had trouble with our breaker tripping during wet weather. Now we wrap the plugs with tape to keep moisture out and it works for us.
We mounted a bright light on a pole in the field so we could have light to work in the dark if we needed it. You’ll need to run water lines to your pasture. And/or plan your irrigation,too. We are not allowed to irrigate where we live so can’t give you any information on that point except…if you haven’t bought property, be sure you can get water rights to irrigate. It will make alpaca farming easier.
Finally, plan the location of your barn and/or shelters. Be sure the alpacas can get into shade in the summer and out of the elements in the winter.
PLAN, PLAN, AND PLAN SOME MORE until you are satisfied with your alpaca farm layout. You will have to research to find out what is best for your climate and geography. And you’ll have to take into consideration how many alpacas you plan to grow.