What Are The Best Fencing Options For Your New Alpacas?

Posted on: 29 June 2016

If you've recently acquired a pair (or more) of alpacas, you're likely excited about adding these playful and spirited camelids to your family, as well as the possibility of harvesting and selling pricey wool to bulk buyers. However, if these are your first alpacas, you may need to make some modifications to your fence before they're permitted much room to roam. Inadequate or unsafe fencing could put your alpacas at risk of attack by predators or allow them to escape and wander off. What fencing options are most likely to keep your alpacas safe and happy? Read on to learn more about the best fencing options for these unique and social animals. 

What are some special concerns when it comes to containing alpacas?

Alpacas are highly intelligent -- and with this intelligence often comes curiosity and stubbornness. These qualities can make alpacas an enjoyable pet to own but can sometimes make it challenging to keep them enclosed. Having a fence with a latch that can be easily unlocked by the nudge of a nose or a too-short fence that can be cleared with a running jump will defeat the purpose of trying to keep your alpacas contained.

Alpacas are also vulnerable to certain predators, particularly coyotes, wolves, and wild cats. You'll want a fence that's high enough to keep these predators out and avoid making your alpacas appear to be an easy meal. Even if you live in a fairly suburban area and have never seen a coyote in your life, a neighbor's loose dog could pose a risk, so it's important for your fence to be high enough to block entry from anything smaller than a large-breed dog.

Another consideration unique to alpacas is their tendency to scratch. Adult alpacas are heavy animals, and their thick coat of wool can often leave them with itches that are hard to scratch. If you have wooden fence posts or stumps in your grazing area, you'll often find your alpacas rubbing against these posts with all their might to scratch a particularly deep-set itch. One or two alpacas leaning against all but the strongest fences can cause some pretty major structural issues quickly, so it's important for your fence to either discourage scratching entirely (like smooth aluminum or electrified wire) or be heavy enough to support an adult alpaca with an itch to scratch.

What are the best fencing options for alpacas? 

If you're in need of a short-term containment option before you can save up to enclose a much larger area, a portable aluminum chain-link fence may be one of your most stress-free options. This fencing is lightweight enough to be moved from place to place by a single person and the aluminum sides are smooth enough to discourage your alpacas from leaning or scratching. You may opt to graze your alpacas in a separate part of the pasture every few days and need to do nothing more than keep them tied up for the few minutes it takes for you to move their fenced area from one part of your land to another.

However, if you'd like your alpacas to have more room to roam, you'll want a sturdier permanent fence encompassing their entire potential grazing area. Wooden slat fences are attractive but can allow predators entry. Unless you plan to install a solid wood fence (or a "no climb" fence with only small spaces between boards), you may want to avoid wood entirely and instead invest in a fence made from multiple strands of high-tensile wire. Placing these wires fairly close together will keep your alpacas from getting their heads stuck while also preventing even smaller predators from being able to enter the pasture, all at a low cost compared to other types of fences.

Consult with a fencing contractor from a company like F & W Fence Company, Inc. to find out what type of fence would work best for your needs.