Sunday 3 February 2013

Mobile shelter launched (nearly)

Yesterday, the new, modular alpaca rain and sun shade was assembled in position. Since I made them, the herd have been spending nights in the barn for obvious reasons, and due to the soggy ground it would have been too difficult to get the shelter over the hill, however yesterdays sunshine and a reasonable weather forecast suggests there will be some drying out this week, and indeed the herd didn't even head back last night, being happy to sit on the grass again.

I fitted a temporary cross-bar across the frame, so I could pick up each module supported across my shoulders, and one at a time headed up the still-slippery hill, resembling a tortoise - as I reached the top, the northerly wind started pushing me, and I had the option of testing it as an alternative hang-glider, but resisted that temptation and scurried over before the wind made the decision for me!

For anyone who's interested, here is a summary of the construction - the essence of the design was to be light, moveable by one person, and not requiring level ground - it isn't waterproof, but provides shelter and shade, like a hedge, and is cheap. The batten cost £50, the ground anchors £15 and the windbreak £60 for a 65% woven poly-something-or-other shade from , plus a bit for bolts etc.

I used 50 x 25 batten, but you have to be selective which pieces you use as it can be knotty. A patio with square slabs is useful for setting out the main triangle. The main joints are bolted.
Each module is 1200mm wide, and the roof and rear wall are cross-braced for rigidity.
The fabric is tacked on rather like upholstery (as if I'd know!) and wrapped around the edges for strength:

These anchors came from a camping shop - they are quite a good length.

I had these pins made 400mm long for anchoring fencing, as the longest tent pegs I could find are 300mm which isn't long enough (though it depends on your soil - ours is clay).
The pins are skew-nailed across the frame.
I've used 2 dog anchors where the modules join each other, tied with baler twine(!), though you could use a long bolt.
As I said before, they are suited to sloping ground:

I'll let you know, when they are tested by the wind....fingers crossed....

Meanwhhile, the boys have moved to the old tennis court for weaning, with Darcys older brother Camelot as head-boy, and halter-training has begun:


  1. They look good!
    Will be very interested in hearing how they survive the wind.

  2. They look great! Do the alpacas like them? :) Lisa

  3. After all that hard work you just have to get the 'pacas to use them! Good luck. Shirley & Robbie

  4. They have investigated them, and I give their morning feed next to them, but you can lead a horse to water ...etc. The main thing is, when they need it, it's there.

  5. Great idea, hope they are put to good use, I think it might be a bit breezy up here for those at the moment....I hoping my roofs stay put ! The little boys are looking very cute ....Jayne

  6. I too wonder whe!ther the wind will see that shelter as a challenge

  7. I have faith , I am sure that the mesh stuff will let enough of the wind through it to avoid the worst gusts blowing it away. We used this same stuff to provide some shelter over a gate and it worked a treat.

  8. Thanks Andrew - I've just checked tonight - it's taken a lot of squally north-westerlies today - it's back faces the south-west, which is usually our worst wind direction, and it's on a south-facing slope, so has a bit of protection from tonights north to north-westerly - and as you say it does breathe, plus there are two laps in the fabric which will vent as well - and... the herd are using it tonight!