Monday, April 2, 2012

shelters and barns ~ live and learn

When we starter our alpaca farm in 2007, we used a barn that was already built. It's a nice barn, and worked great that first year. But it's about 1/4 mile from our house. Not bad for doing chores, I didn't mind the walk. It was when we were on cria watch that a 1/4 mile seemed like forever.

Here is our initial barn, (link to the original blog post about it) this picture is from 2007:

This barn worked great for our 2 bred females and 2 gelded male. The alpacas were in about 1/3 of the barn, hay in 1/3 of it, and the last 1/3 held herd health supplies and an alpaca chute (that J made). It worked great.


We added boys. We needed a new shelter for them. So in February of 2008 we built a boys shelter (link to original blog post). (I've called it either a barn or shelter, though I know this one really isn't a barn, shelter is a more accurate description).

I couldn't find a good picture of this shelter completed. Here it is in the middle of being built (roof isn't shingled yet nor it is painted):

Our first year of cria being born on our farm, in the summer of 2008, they were born up at that big barn. Being 1/4 mile down the road meant we made lots of trips back and forth just to check on them.

In the spring of 2009, we really wanted to move the pregnant dams closer to us. We live in the woods, so having a clearing amoung the trees was our biggest obstacle. The best open area was in our back yard - so that is what we used. We put in a shelter in our backyard and moved our pregnant girls there. Post about that can be found here.

Now that shelter looks like this:

I will say this is my least favorite shelter. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't use this model. I don't remember why we opted for the aluminum over the previously built wood structure. I know we had our reasons back then. I will also say that we've seen these used at other farms when we've visited. I didn't see any concern until ours was up. For one, almost everyday when filling the water buckets inside I bump my head on that metal of the entryway - that hurts! The alpacas are shorter so they don't do that. On the really wet and yucky days they all get inside this shelter. But I have to say, I'm not sure they like this shelter either. Just about any other time they will be found outside (though they might do that no matter what the shelter is).

In the spring of 2010 we decided to built a 3 sided shelter. Given we didn't really like the last one we put in, we wanted something different. A roof and a block from the cold wind is really all alpacas need. So we put this in (by we I really mean J ;) ). He put the back side to the north to block the coldest wind. Here is a link to the post of when this was put in.

This is what the shelter looks like now:

This is by far our favorite shelter! It works perfect for the alpacas. On the really cold and windy days or the really wet days, they go underneath the roof. On the other days they lay outside in the sunshine. They seem to like it and so do we.

So now in the spring of 2012, we opted to put in another shelter like that one:

It's not quite done, we still need some paint and to finish off the fencing.

Here you can sort of see all three shelters in our backyard:

The boys (juvi and yearling boys) off in the distance, the pregnant girls aluminium shelter and our newest shelter for the juvi and yearling girls.

The two barns/shelters 1/4 mile down the road, those are for our herdsires. Tucker and Greyt live in the big one, and Bo and Harley live in the smaller one.


Kathryn Ray said...

We have the 3-sided loafing sheds too. They have held up quite well.

The only thing I would do different is to add an over-hang off the front so the alpacas would have more shade.

We don't have the benefit of trees in our pasture, so I've started planting some near the corrals. But as they say, 'the best time to plant a big tree is a long time ago.' ;-)

oak haven alpacas said...

Our problem is that we have all trees and really no pasture (the land is there, the grass isn't). We tried growing grass but there were too many obstacles. So instead we dry lot year around. Though they do have lots of trees for shade all summer long, that part is nice. If I had to do it all over again, I'd buy an old farmstead with a big rolling green grass pasture. I fear I have pasture envy :)


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