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Fencing and Yards



Alpaca rarely challenge their fencing and are more likely to go under rather than over a fence, however they are good jumpers if placed under threat. A minimum fence height for alpaca is generally thought to be around 1.2 m.

Most of the commonly seen fencing systems in New Zealand can be used for alpaca;

  • Seven wire and batten, however this must be well maintained to ensure the battens are not displaced allowing the alpaca to wriggle through.
  • Post and rail, however ensure the rails are close enough together and low enough to the ground to ensure the alpaca can’t wriggle through.
  • Strained sheep netting which is available in different types of mesh. The type with the smaller gaps in the mesh on the bottom will prevent the alpaca from putting their head through, however the type that has wider spaces at the bottom will allow this to It has been known that alpaca have become caught in netting fences (especially when in full fleece), therefore using this type of fence means the alpaca must be checked every day. Being caught won’t kill the animal within a day, but it will when left longer than that. This type of fence should not be combined with an electric wire on the outside because of the possibility of them being caught and unable to get away from the electric wire.

Permanent and temporary electric fences are not recommended as they have been responsible for a number of deaths of animals accidentally trapped. Alpaca can be trained to respect electric fences, but the emphasis here is on the initial training. Unless they investigate the hot wire or tape with their muzzle, the insulation provided by their coats will protect them from shock and hence from learning.

As well as keeping animals in, fences are also required to keep predators out. In New Zealand the only predator of concern is the dog. Reference books sometimes advocate burying the bottom 30cm or so of a mesh fence to prevent dogs digging underneath. Few owners here have gone to that trouble. A hot wire outside the fence on outriggers is probably the best dog deterrent. Llamas have been used to guard alpaca and sheep from predators, however there are many reports of llamas being savaged by dogs (usually in packs) and a llama would be no match for a pair of determined German Shepherds or pig-dogs.

Pens or Yards 


It is necessary to have a catch pen or yards to enable you to carry out many of the routine tasks associated with managing your alpacas, e.g carrying out regular health checks, giving vaccinations, worming, halter training, and shearing, etc.

The height of your yards or pen should be 1.20 metres, however 1 metre can suffice on most occasions. Although most alpaca are not jumpers, some can become agitated and feel threatened when “locked up” and will try to climb or jump over the side.

It is imperative that the pen is sturdy, so that you can push the alpaca against the side if necessary to hold them still.

The size of your yards will usually be dependent on the number of alpaca that you envisage running, however, in all cases a narrow race or one narrow pen for difficult animals is a good idea. When they can’t move very much there is less chance of you being kicked.