- Place your doors or open side of the shelter facing the east - the most moderate direction of weather.
- In areas where there are more than a few llamas, such as your female herd, make more than one opening to the outside. This will prevent your "herd queen" from laying and blocking the doorway and preventing access to the other llamas. Our barn remained cleaner when we added more doors.
- Never close up animals in the barn. In case of fire, they need a way out.
- Have windows or openings in addition to the doors for good cross ventilation in the summer.
- In the winter, doors can be covered with the hanging plastic strips like they use on loading docks. This gives some additional protection from the wind, rain, and snow. helps keep the wind, rain, and snow from coming in.
- Plan for a high ceiling so hot air will raise above the animals. Vent at the peak of the roof.
- Mount fans for summer so they blow directly onto the animals, not over them.
- A fan installed up in the gable of the barn is helpful for moving hot air out and increasing air circulation.
- Add (or plan ahead for future installation) automatic waterers with heaters to prevent freezing in the winter.
- Flooring can be dirt, sand, ag-lime, or concrete. For ease in cleaning, a concrete floor is the most sanitary and easiest to clean. Can be hosed out regularly. Cover all but the "bathroom area" with rubber mats for cushioning and to prevent the wool from rubbing thin on the knees. Concrete flooring will also help keep toenails trimmed. Be sure to apply a rough surface to your concrete when finishing. A smooth surface can become very slippery when wet.
- Another flooring that works well is Ag-Lime, also called B-Lime. It's a very smooth powdery substance which packs down almost like a concrete. Works well in the shelter. Also use in areas right outside the barn, in gate openings, and areas where llamas may pace. Easy to clean and prevents mud.
- Plan for grain storage. We store our grain in large metal trash cans to prevent the raccoons from getting in it.
- Build shallow, wood feeding troughs along all the walls of your barn. By spreading out the feed, it prevents the animals from getting too large a mouthful and choking. Also allows all animals to get equal access to the feed in different areas unlike individual feeding dishes.
- Mount your dish for free-choice trace minerals to the wall or fence. Only put small amounts in at a time so the mixture isn't ruined by high humidity.
- Twelve or sixteen foot pipe gates can be used as stall dividers. Mounted on one wall, they can then be easily removed if you need to make an area larger, or they can all be swung in one direction so you can get a cart or bobcat in there to clean.
- Plan for feeding hay. Hay feeders located outside of the barn will encourage the animals to leave their shelter, but the feeder must be covered so the hay doesn't get ruined by rain. Hay can also be fed inside in bad weather, but we find that it results in more clean-up for us.
- Plan an area for hay storage. If possible, store in another barn or shelter. Stored hay can possibly be a fire hazard. Don't allow smoking in your barns.
- If you store your hay up over the llama pens, plan for an opening so you can drop the hay bales down and right into the area you need them.
- Plan an area or cabinet for storing leads and halters, grooming supplies, and medical supplies. A small refrigerator and microwave can come in handy in a barn, but certainly isn't necessary.
The Perfect Llama Barn
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