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Fencing for Alpacas.

Alpacas are smart animals. If they see green grass on the other side of the fence, they will try to get there to have a pick at it. Most alpacas will put their head through the fence and push until they can't get any further. Some have worked out how to get to the other side, wether going through or under the fence. We live on a busy road and the last thing we want is our alpacas on the receiving end of the latest joke, ......"Why did the alpaca cross the road?.......SPLAT !!!!!!!", you get the picture. Another reason fencing is important to us is that we are MN3 assessed and therefore if any of our alpacas get into our neighbours properties who are non-assessed, that alpaca will not be allowed back onto our property. We also don't want any males helping themselves to the girls in the middle of the night.

There isn't much you can do to stop them from putting there head through the fence. Chicken wire or any other small gap type of wire could be strung up but that option is expensive. The fencing types which are best avoided are barbed wire. This type of fencing can be very harmful to any animal and is best to be removed from any property with alpacas.

Electric fencing is something that is not essential for alpacas. We have electric fencing and have found it to be non effective to alpacas due to their fleece. They can push up to the electrified wire and not get zapped, as the current cannot get contact with the body through their fleece, although this is not the case just after shearing time. They can get zapped when they have a minimum amount of fleece on. We had an incident a few years ago where I saw a male alpaca struggling in a fence. By the time I got to him he was semi-unconscious, wrapped in the wiring and getting zapped by the electric fence. I got zapped about a dozen times myself freeing him. He must have had his head through the fence eating the grass on the other side when he got hit by the electric wire. The shock must have made him pull his head up in doing so getting wrapped up in the fence. Once I had him out of the fence I quickly called the house for help. He wasn't in a good way, he was still semi-unconscious and having convulsions. We got him up to the stables and called the vet. There wasn't much we could do for the poor boy and unfortunately he died that night. The next day we went down to that paddock and removed all the electric wire.

The fencing below left is using sheep wire and is suitable for alpacas although we have heard of alpacas getting caught in the fence by putting their head through one gap and then rather than pulling back to get out, they turn and put their head back through another gap. This type fencing needs to be strung tight.
The fencing below right is using straight wire with stoppers in between posts. Both type fences need to have the bottom wire no more than 6 inches off the ground, any higher and the alpacas might be able to push under the fence.

Alpaca Maintenance - More information on alpacas

Putting weight on thin alpacas
Fencing for alpacas
How to determine signs of a sick alpaca
Basic first aid kit for alpacas
Alpaca body temperatures
Can cold and wet weather affect alpacas?
Making sense of the alpaca fibre analysis
Rye grass staggers
Taking the perfect alpaca photograph
Facial abscess
Berserk male syndrome
Vitamin D
Constipated crias
Preparation for Winter
Keeping alpaca records
Alpacas need head-space
Testing for parasites
Birthing help
Cutting Toenails
A Working Dog's Guide to Alpacas
Paddock Maintenance
Alpacas for Pets
Alpacas as Sheep Guardians