Stable, Enclosure and Fences

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Stable, Enclosure and Fences

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A stable or shelter is absolutely essential.

It´s function is to protect the animals from humidity, from intensive sun, from insects, to protect dromedaries from cold in winter and to protect young or sick animals from cold.
The stable always has to be unheated. It should be breezily, very bright and dry. It can be open to one, two or even three sides, thus being a broad shelter. Usually camels tolerate wind, but draft – as a punctiform air-flow at single parts of the body - must be avoided.
According to herd structure and the ensuing group dynamics the following aspects need to be considered:
Two exits respectively entrances have to be available and blind spots need to be prevented when males and females and/or subadults run together, and/or when newborns are within a mixed group. The stable should be a free stall barn, that means freely traversable for the animals and without single compartments. An additional single compartment is sensible for the temporary keeping of mothers with newborns, for the preliminary separation of rutting adult males and for cases of disease.
The floor of the stall should be firm, skidproof and easy to clean, from it`s shaping it should potentially have a drainage for urine. Stone- or concrete floors are more practical and hygienic than wooden floors, gravel soil or natural soil. Only in exceptional cases camels need a soft and/or warming litter. In case litter is used it should be considered that due to the humidity and warmth the pollution with microbes increases and the matting needs to be exchanged regularly. Additionally the feet and all the calluses touching the ground while the animals are resting are extremely sensitive towards ammonia and wetness. With firm floors a thin layer of urine absorbent litter which is exchanged daily, has proved to be practical. Caution needs to be taken when using chipped wood: camels eat wood and consequently chipped wood too. Therefore the chipped wood needs to be clean and free of such as oil or paint.
The recommended minimum size of the stable averages for example in Germany at 4 sqm per animal, but at least at 12 sqm as from the first animal. These measurements are only sufficient for herds which have enough exercise outside of the stable. Especially with small herds and a partly closed stable a minimum size of 10 sqm per animal should be pursued.
The recommended minimum size of the enclosure in Germany is 300 sqm for a group of three camels, for each further camel an additional size of 50 sqm is required. Again, these measurements are only sufficient when the animals have enough exercise. An enclosure for a group of 3 camels should otherwise have at least 500 sqm in size, with another 150 sqm for each additional camel.
An exercise area, respectively enclosure is supplementary to the stable absolutely necessary. It`s main function is to ensure enough direct solar radiation and sufficient exercise for the animals. Food and water should rather be served in the enclosure than in the stable. Sunny or shady places should be available as well as sandy places and areas with hard ground for the scoring of the soles. Grassed areas are worthwile, sites for rubbing are necessary. Due to a smart spacial arrangement of food, water, salt, resting area, nibbling area, grassed area and stable the camels can be motivated to have a maximum of exercise.
In general applies: the less the camel is kept active by it`s holder, the larger and more diversified it`s enclosure should be.
Feeding grounds: Depending on herd structure and the resulting group dynamics more than one feeding ground may become necessary. Ingesting sand with the food has to be absolutely avoided. Therefore hay, grass, branches and minerals have to be fed out of troughs, hayracks or from a clean hard ground and never from sandy grounds. Having an appliance to tie the animal within the stall or enclosure is helpful, just as a device to close off individual camels for treatment with medicine or minerals. Trees growing within the enclose should be protected from browsing.
There are various options for the boundary of the enclosure. In contrast to frequently published suggestions, ditches or moats are not necessarily recommended. There were several cases of death
due to downer syndrome and drowning. Furthermore some camels are well able to successfully get over these obstacles. Electric fences are useful in summer, due to the short fur the camels learn about electric shocks. In winter however their fur is too thick and they only respect the electric fence when they have learned about it in summer. In general electric fences should be constructed to break in a case of emergency to avoid severe snags.
The following applies to all solid fences made from wood, metal or plastic. They have to reach completely up to the ground. Otherwise there is the danger of camels getting caught with their legs or even humps. Advisable is an additional electric lead with spacers close to the ground. Fences must not have any holes which allow for camel legs to get jammed. Trellis-work fences for example in this regard bear a high risk of accident. Usually camels can be kept behind firm fences which are relatively low. To be on the safe side a hight of 1,40 m is recommended.
As in the stable there should also be a device to separate individuals in the enclose, for example for adult males. Repeatedly it happened that adult males during rut reached for newborns, competitors or even humans over or through the fence, thereby causing severe injuries. The barrier for the adult male in rut therefore needs to be higher and more solid. Furthermore when building a fence you should keep in mind to prevent visitors from feeding any camel, touching them or visiting them. Therefore it is recommended to construct about 2 m from the actual enclosure fence an additional visitor`s fence.