Alpaca Barn Floor – A New concept
Barn floors can present problems for cleanup, particularly if the alpacas remain in the barn overnight as they do at our farm. Urine does not soak into bare dirt easily and straw placed on the floor can harbor parasites from manure, particularly if not removed frequently. Then there is the disposal problem with straw. Very spendy thick rubber horse stall mats can be used; however this choice is not practical for budget-minded folks. Pat discovered at a neighborhood lavender farm a fabric he decided to use for the barn floor. The tough, porous, woven fabric was used to cover acres of land for weed prevention. Holes were cut into the fabric for the plants to grow. Ever-prevalent deer in our rural area continually walk on this fabric without harming it in any way. This fabric, primarily used by road builders costs $360 for a 12.5 ft. by 432 ft. roll. Pat sold the remainder of the roll to another alpaca farm that liked his innovative idea and wanted to re-do their barn floors.
For construction of the alpaca barn floor, Pat leveled the dirt and then placed a grid work of 4x4 treated timbers. The grids were filled with 3.5 inches of red-cinder sand and compacted lightly with water. The fabric was placed over the grid and stapled about every 4 inches. He also included an additional 12-ft. by 24-ft. area in front of the barn for the floor fabric. The alpacas used this fenced front "pee and poop" area at night, leaving the back of the barn for sleeping. The urine quickly goes through the fabric into the layer of sand below and gradually into the bare ground. The manure is removed with the standard "pooper-scooper" seen on all alpaca farms.