Consider the following in selection a site for the barn, pens and pastures:
- Does zoning allow for raising livestock - especially alpacas?
- Are neighbors going to be affected?
- 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 and weather?
- Is there air flow during the warm months?
- Are their environmental regulations you need to address for this site?
Design the general layout - barns, 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 is the focus of the Pasture
Features of the barn structures that should be considered:
- Large, open, attached shed roof overhangs.
- Put the stairs on the south side to melt the snow off in the winter.
- Well-ventilated barn interior - lots of windows and doors.
- Insulated roof.
- Water service near the barn. If you put it in the barn, they will never come out!
- Electricity to the barn.
- Single entry "man" doors.
- Put in dutch doors - or doors that can open on the top or bottom. This keeps alpacas in if the top is open, the bad weather out if the bottom is open.
- Think of your resale value. The chances of you selling your farm to another alpaca breeder is slim. Make it appealing to horse, cow, sheep and other livestock owners alike.
Barn floor materials in the alpaca pen can be lime screenings, rock chips or rubber horse stall matting. If considering a cement floor, think about your climate. If you are in a cold area, the urine will freeze to the floor and create a skating rink for all of you unless you chip the ice off every day.