Print Friendly, PDF & Email

If you’ve ever lost one of your precious farm animals to a predator, you’ll know how upsetting it can be. You put a lot of love, blood, sweat, and tears… not to mention cash… into raising your livestock, so when a predator comes along and senselessly destroys your hard work, it can be heartbreaking. Having multiple layers of protection is the best way to prevent predators from getting their paws on your valuable livestock. Once you’ve got the most secure fencing and shelters possible, the natural next step is to add a guardian animal to the homestead.

From dogs to donkeys to geese, there are many different types of livestock guardians to choose from. Each one has its pros and cons. It’s best to do some research before you get a livestock guardian to make sure you’re getting the one that best suits your needs. In this article, we are going to focus on the pros and cons of llamas as a livestock guardian.

The Pros of Using a Llama to Guard Your Livestock:

• Llamas will usually bond very quickly with their pasture mates. That means that if you have one llama in with your goats, for example, that llama is going to bond with your goats.

• Llamas will guard sheep, goats, cows, alpacas, and poultry. Sometimes, livestock like goats and sheep fear a livestock guardian dog, but they will quickly accept a llama into their group.

• If the predator concern in your area is coyotes, dogs or foxes, llamas are a great choice because they are naturally aggressive toward canines. Once the llama bonds with his pasture mates, he will guard them just as aggressively as he protects himself. Some llamas will even become the leader in their “flock”. They are very territorial, and will often patrol their territory, observing their surroundings and watching for predators.

• Very few llamas will attempt to kill a predator, but they will do everything they can to chase it off. They will watch the predator carefully and sound off with a shrill alarm call if it comes too close. Sometimes, they will herd their flock away from the predator. If the predator continues to stalk the herd, they will attempt to chase it off, striking out at it and spitting at it in an attempt to scare it away. Often, they will charge at the offender and knock it down, kick at it, or corner it. Sometimes, they will even stomp on it.

• Since their food and shelter requirements are very similar to those of goats and sheep, he will fit right in with your flock.

• If you’ve ever had a guardian dog, you will know that they can be nearly impossible to keep on your property or in a fence because they love to roam. Llamas will not challenge your fencing, and they want to stick close to home and their herd.

• Llamas should be socialized and learn to be handled for shearing, grooming and veterinary care, but they are usually calm and gentle around humans.

• A llama is a great long-term investment. They generally live to be about 20-25 years old, and they will work for their entire lives.

• Llamas have multiple uses because they can produce fiber that can be sold.

The Cons of Using a Llama to Guard Your Livestock:

• Unfortunately, llamas are useless against more serious threats like bears, bobcats, wolves and mountain lions. They can usually chase off a single dog or coyote, but a large pack of dogs or coyotes will consider them prey.

• Llamas usually don’t consider smaller predators like raccoons, possums or hawks to be a threat toward them, so they generally won’t protect against them.

• Llamas don’t bark loudly and repeatedly, which means you may not be alerted to the presence of a predator.

• Llamas will only protect their flock, not your property or family.

• In some cases, a single llama may not adjust well to living without other llamas. In this case, they could be a danger to other livestock or even interfere with the birthing and offspring of their pasture mates.

• Since llamas consider canines to be a threat and will act accordingly, special training and care will be required if you want your guard llama to tolerate your guard or pet dogs. As long as the guard or pet dog poses no threat to the llama or its flock, they can usually learn to accept them.

• Adult intact male llamas can be dangerous to humans, especially if they haven’t been socialized or trained.

Other Things to Know About Guard Llamas:

• Llamas require copper, just like goats. However, copper is toxic to sheep. If you are keeping your llama in with sheep, special care will need to be taken to make sure the sheep don’t get access to the llama’s minerals or salt block.

• While llamas won’t actively challenge fencing, they will often stick their heads through the fence to graze, much like a sheep or goat would. This makes barbed wire especially dangerous for them. The best fencing for a llama is high tensile electric fencing.

• A gelded male llama could make a great choice for a guardian llama. They will be larger and more intimidating than a female. They are usually less expensive to purchase, and are much safer to have around humans than an intact male. It is important to note, though, that sometimes even a gelded male llama will try to mate with female sheep or goats, which can be very dangerous for them.

• Females llamas can also be a great choice. Look for a large female that is fully matured. In fact, females are often more cooperative by nature. There has been some success shown in keeping a pair of female llamas as guardians of a flock. They have been observed to work together, guarding the herd and offering greater security. A pair of females is probably the safest and most effective option.

• When you’re choosing your guard llama, look for one that’s between 18-24 months old. A mature llama will be much better for predator control than a young llama.

• Alpacas, although very similar to llamas, are not used as livestock guardians because of their smaller size.

• The handling and care of a llama is different than that of a goat or sheep. It’s best to spend some time with someone who has experience with llamas before you bring one home.

Llamas have been used successfully throughout the world for guarding livestock. If your predator threat is light, guardian llamas could be a great option for keeping your flock safe.

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of



Oh, we are all about…




Why You Should Be Using Fish Emulsion in Your Garden

You never know what strange tricks can help you boost your yield. Well, one of the lesser-known tricks is using fish emulsion in the garden. The problem here isn’t that most people don’t know the benefit of it; it’s that very few actually know what it is.

Fish emulsion is an unsung hero in the farming world, mainly because industrial farmers don’t rely on an expensive and natural product such as this, and it’s a tad bit smelly for some home farmers to use. However, wait until you hear why you should be using it:

They Have a Good NPK Ratio

This is the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in fertilizers. To achieve the perfect balance, producers manufacture most fertilizers artificially, but this comes with harmful side effects that are transferred to humans via the produce. On the other hand, the fish emulsion contains a good ratio while being organic at the same time.

It’s Resourcing at Its Best

Most store-bought fish emulsion fertilizers are made from fish parts and organs that aren’t used and would otherwise be wasted and thrown away. By using the so-called fish waste, producers reduce the overall amount of organic waste matter that rots away. You can also produce it at home from fish organs and parts that you don’t need, effectively reducing your waste output.

It’s Actually Affordable

A major reason why some home farmers put off using fish emulsion fertilizer is that it can be a little pricey. However, when you compare the usage with that of organic dry fertilizer, you’ll find a difference in the long run. That is to say, while a single bottle is expensive, it will last a long time because you shouldn’t use fish emulsion in its pure, concentrated form. By diluting it, you’ll use a single bottle for quite a while.

Easier To Apply

Unlike dry fertilizer, which you need to mix into the soil, you can add fish emulsion to water and spray it onto your crops. It’ll absorb quickly and spread evenly as well, without requiring you to do the hard labor. Not to mention, it’s safer to use as well. Many variants of organic fertilizer don’t mix into the soil right away, so there’s a chance that your pet might eat it if it strays into the garden. This isn’t the case for fish emulsion, which is safe, non-toxic, and travels deep into the soil quickly.

Versatile

I’ve written about numerous planting ideas, some of which involve planting in tight spaces that don’t allow for soil tilling and shifting. Did you ever stop and think how you were going to ensure optimal soil quality in those tight planters? For your information, fish emulsion is the answer, especially if you can’t add compost, organic fertilizer, or anything that would add more volume. Fish emulsion has a great nutrient ratio that will boost plant growth, even if you can’t compost it regularly.

These were some of the benefits I found in using fish emulsion in my home garden; you all should try it and see the difference. Happy Farming!


Picked For You

  • Should You Perm Your Hair?Should You Perm Your Hair?
    Are you considering getting a permanent? A permanent wave can be a quick way to add wave or volume to lackluster hair. It can be particularly helpful for the woman who spends inordinate amounts of time trying to coax her naturally flat hair into wavy ringlets only to have it fall flat in two hours. …