Alpaca air conditioning

new alpaca barnThe alpaca barnIn the hot and often humid northeast Texas, the alpacas need a way to cool off.  They do like water and for many a pond is ideal.  However, those can be  less than ideal as they may tend to just lay in the water which will rot their fiber and I have read that a female actually chose to birth in the water and her newborn drowned.  So we limit their water accessibility to either just a shallow wading type pool or wet down sand pit area, although sand may tend to clog their fleece. 

I have seen some owners hook up a hose to a faucet and hose their undersides (getting their back wet will trap in their heat in the fleece and create a sauna effect and not cool them) or hooking up a sprinkler set on a low to the ground spray.  I decided to try an idea of buying one of those tank sprayers (I found one at Big Lots for eight dollars) and fill it with water and walk to them.  It eliminates the puddling of water and creating a mud hole, and I can move around with it easily.  I also use it to spray down the barn floor; they like that and come in to cush in the cool.  I turn on the industrial ceiling fans to downdraft and it is pretty much as good as it gets for them.  

We designed the 30 x 50 barn so that it is segmented into three equal width areas the 50′ length of the barn.  The middle width is my work area and has tall kennel fencing on each side, front to back of barn, with a walk through gate in each side.  One gate enters into the girls area and the other opens into the boys section. As you look at the pictures above, the girls are on the left and the boys on the right end of barn.  Each end has access to two pastures that can be closed off as needed.  You enter the barn through the center person-door into the center work area.  Each alpaca section has access to two different pastures through roll up doors, which can be further fenced off into additional smaller pastures with gate access when we are ready to do that.  Each alpaca barn section has two 10′ wide x 9 foot tall roll up doors, one door in the barn front wall and one in the back wall of the barn, mostly for security if needed, or bad weather.  Either one, or both roll up doors, can be closed.  The barn is a 12 foot gable roof with low ridge vents, so plenty of room for air movement and we put in two industrial fans (they look like airplane propellers) that are on a switch and can choose whether they will updraft  or downdraft  and choose what speed.  We designed the barn and Mueller did the rest.  We situated it so that sun does not enter in the summer, except for just a little in evening and morning through the roll up doors that we keep open and they face east and west.  In the winter, the low sun warms the interior and in the cold mornings our alpacas are cushed in the warm space.  Other than that, the interior is shaded in summer and creates additional shade outside opposite the side the sun is on. In the winter, it is protected from the north wind because the south and north barn ends are solid with no doors or windows. 

Inside, and outside in pastures, we have tall above ground water faucets to keep water buckets full and irrigate as needed.  We had a great husband/wife team install all the fencing and they did a great job.  We will have more fencing added as we need it.  We had a great electrician who advised on lighting placement and fan placement.



1 Comment

  1. noactive said,

    January 11, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Alpaca air conditioning .Thanks for nice post.I added to my twitter.

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