Guard Llamas - started pair?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by frogdog, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. frogdog

    frogdog Guest

    I've been offered a pair of Llamas, one gelding (never bred) and one female. They are 4 years old and have been successfully guarding goats. Both are standoff-ish, but will eat eat from your hand once caught. From what the owner has said, they are both very intellegent when it comes to their respones...will charge when necessary, will spit when that is all that is needed.

    My concern is that since I have both goats and sheep, since they are familiar with goats, that they will ignore the sheep. If they are likely to recognize that the sheep need their "services" as well, it would be handy to have 2 experienced llamas...one could look after the rams/wethers during non-breeding season while the other stayed with the ewes/does.

    On the other hand...if they only pay attention to the goats, they'd just be 2 big extra mouths to feed. I don't really need 2 big llamas guarding 1 doe and her kid :haha:

    What are the thoughts on this? Is it difficult to transition goat guards to also guard sheep?

    Liz
     
  2. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Do the sheep & goats stay together?? If so, they would most likely guard them both. If the goats & sheep are in the same pen, but stay apart, they will most likely stay with one or the other. I would recommend separating the llamas & leaving each one to guard their own herd/flock.
     

  3. frogdog

    frogdog Guest

    The goats don't stray far from their shelter, and the sheep go wherever they want. The only time they're all together is when the sheep make their way to the hay and the goats happen to be hungry at the same time.

    Currently, the only fencing is 5' woven horse fencing around the perimeter (5 acres). Gradually, we'll be adding interior fencing...starting with a paddock for the rams/wethers. Until then, the only way the sheep and goats would be looked after would be if the pair chose to split off. Not sure if that's something llamas would do on their own.

     
  4. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    It's very doubtful they will split apart on their own. Especially if they are used to each other.
     
  5. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    If you have two llamas together, that is their herd not the the goats or sheep. They might protect or guard off predators but not like a true guardian? If you separate them--say one with the sheep and one with the goats then that would be their herd and they would bond with the herd. If they have never seen a sheep just introduce them slowly. Put the llama in a pen near-by so they can see it. Llamas usually handle the situation well but the other animals are scared at first. Oh, by the way, llamas hate pigs!

    My llamas always stuck together and ignored the goats except to spit on them during feeding time.

    I found a llama eats less than a goat so the added feed would be minimual (my llamas were large).

    And not all llamas make good guards, but some are wonderful.
     
  6. frogdog

    frogdog Guest

    Well, I guess in the long-run it would be worth it to get these two now. Until the additional fencing goes up they could just hang around with the sheep or the goats. Unless they enjoy not walking more than to and from the food, I imagine they'll opt to go with the sheep. Eventually, they will be put in charge of separate groups.

    I thought for sure they would eat a lot, due to the size, but I'm glad to be wrong! :) Thanks for the tip on the pigs! That's still a ways down the road, but good to know nonetheless.

    I did a lot of searching for a guard llama...with the exception of a breeder, everyone I contacted had intact males or geldings who had been bred...and I can't justify $200 per llama. Who'd have thought that I would find a guarding pair for a price I can afford...once I stopped looking? :D

    If they don't work out, I won't be out much $ and the dog will eat well :)

     
  7. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Frogdog, I recently got ONE llama, and put her in with my sheep, so far so good. I can tell you that when I did research, and from the experience from another person I know who got two llamas, that the advice you have been given about having two llamas in the same pen is accurate--they will bond to each other, and not the herd you want them to guard. My friend's llamas would lay down in front of the barn doors, and not let her goats in during storms. When she had just one llama, it did guard the animals and did a good job. I'd certainly put up more fencing as soon as possible and separate those goats and sheep anyway, one llama per herd. Goats and sheep have different mineral requirements--how are you managing to provide the proper amount of copper to the goats without the sheep getting it? Toxic to the sheep, necessary for the goats. Jan in CO