The most important thing about alpaca fencing is to provide safety from predators. Most kinds of fencing will confine alpacas; they do not challenge fences. Alpacas are prone to attack by your neighbor's dog, hungry coyote and in some areas, young roving cougars. That being said, we often come across alpaca herds with minimal protection. Llamas on the other hand may be used as guardian animals to protect sheep or alpacas. Both will face off when confronted but the llama's larger size and posturing will make the aggression more believable. It is good practice to run stock netting around all of your boundary fences to stop predators from gaining access to your property in the first place.
Four foot fencing will generally provide a high enough barrier to prevent alpacas jumping between paddocks. Five foot boundary fences will help stop dogs jumping over. It is important to remove any barbed wire in fields where alpacas will graze; they can easily get their fleeces tangled, becoming caught fast unable to move. Some alpacas have died caught in this way. If you need to increase the height of stock fencing, use several strands of plain fence wire or hot wire.
Dividing fields into smaller paddocks enables you to rotate them and give each animal a rest. It also makes it easier to round up your alpacas when you need to move them. Use care when designing your pasture fences making sure that lane-ways between paddocks and a corral are established. When you are moving your stock over the next 20 years you will be thankful for the ease that good planning provides. A small corral is an essential gathering place for any type of medical treatment, weaning the crias or holding for shearing. Feeding them in the corral will also make them easier to bring in when you need to do these tasks.
Plan ahead, lay out your pastures so they can be cross fenced, keeping in mind that you will want additional pastures as your herd grows.
New Zealand Electric Fencing
"New Zealand Electric Fencing" works well for alpacas. It can be purchased in heights of 5 or 6 feet and is made of woven wire with smaller predator proof construction at the bottom. It is ideal for cost conscious consumers looking to fence perimeters. Brush and tree lines or wooded areas provide a clear visual contrast that allows the horse to clearly see the fence. NZ electric is ideally suited for heavily wooded areas, where trees are likely to fall on the fence as maintenance and repair are far easier than with more robust products. Add coated electric wire on the top, such as Equi-fence to improve visibility. Again, if you haven't read this yet, it is NOT suited for turn-out runs or small adjoining paddocks. If you need a cost effective solution for this application, consider horse tape or equistrand, but realize both are temporary solutions.
The woven wire fences work better on flat ground and the single strand electric wires do better on steep or uneven terrain. No Climb Mesh Fencing is safe, excellent for foals and keeping wildlife OUT of your paddocks, as well as your animals in. Varieties include non-climb, high tensile, and diamond. It will require some maintenance to keep wires tight. Medium to high cost. Having a solid top rail or hot wire to keep stock off fence is recommended.
One tip that works well on all fences: lay a strand of barbed wire on the ground, attached to the posts, on the outside perimeter of the fence. This prevents predators from digging their way under the fence.
The smallest alpaca farm needs at least 4 separate pastures.
One immutable law of alpacas is that the herd size will grow.
More and smaller pastures are preferable to fewer large pastures.
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Want more information? Let's get started! Here's an overview of different fencing types and applications. Read through for background information or to help you decide which product might be best suited for your specific needs.