Llama as a guard critter

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by lisarichards, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. lisarichards

    lisarichards Well-Known Member

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    I've been looking into getting a llama as a guard critter for my small herd.

    Someone close to me has a 12 year old male for $200 that she thinks would be very good. She suggests we geld him, though.

    Does that work? Gelding a male that late in life? I thought once they'd tasted what testosterone did, they never really are a gelded critter, and could still be a danger to my ewes.
     
  2. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    I have always read that once they get past a certain age its too late. I believe your supposed to get either a young gelded male or female so they will bond with your sheep. I had a horse that was proud cut, oh boy what a pain.
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I think the price is kind of high for an older animal (I sold a yearling 2 years ago for that price) and if she's recommending he be gelded, it's probably because he's aggressive. I tend to doubt castration would change his behavior at this late age. He could very well be a pain in the butt. I do not believe you'd have this problem with a female!

    That said, llamas DO make EXCELLENT guard animals! Mine will not tolerate dogs or cats in their pasture, and are very effective in chasing them out post haste!

    My male llama has never mounted my sheep, goats, horses, etc., at least to my observation.

    Without getting too graphic here :eek: ... llamas mate when the female 'sits' and allows the male to mount her. I'm not sure the male would be capable of copulating with an animal that didn't know it was supposed to sit! :confused:
     
  4. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    OK, I am going to be different. Never, never run an ungelded llama male with your ewes!
    Ewes put off all most the same smell as female llamas,, and they will try to breed them.

    Not all llamas will guard,, that is just a myth that I wish would go away.

    How do I know? I learned first hand. I bought a male so called "Guard" llama and had him gelded at the breeders. The breeder said he would be fine.... Ha !
    At first I put him in with the boys, and all seemed ok. I put him in with the ewes in lamb,, and I am lucky he did not kill one of them!
    He was running them down, stomping on them, kicking them,, took forever to catch him.

    If you get a male, make sure it has been gelded for at least 8 months and has never bred anything.

    A spayed Female would be better, and there are quite a few out there.
     
  5. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    why a spayed female begere? do unspayed not bond ? have been looking at lamas as a replacement for our donkeys but was thinking of a breedable lama then get offspring as well (lama breeder two miles away) and fiber my sil can use.
     
  6. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What about another member of the CAMLID family or are they all the same way????
     
  7. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    I prefer them, because I am not planning to breed. But I am sure a female would do just fine and much safer than a male.

    The only other advise I can offer, is when you buy your llama, and the breeder sells it to you as a "Guard" animal.... make sure you can take it back in case it does not work out. Gett this in writting.

    Even at my age, and I should know better....but I never seem to learn.. anyway.. I was told by the breeder that they would take the "Guard" llama back if he did not work out. I let them know what happened, and they decided not to.
    Could not keep him around the farm, as I could not afford hurt or dead ewes,,ended up giving him away. Lost out on $750.00. ( I did try to sell him but no takers)

    As for others,, camels are too big (know someone that has them), to be around sheep, would be too easy for them to hurt the sheep even if by accident, and Alpaca's too small to guard.

    Would love to have a couple of female Alpaca's... once their prices come down, that is.
     
  8. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Reading this I like my Anatolian and Great Pyr dogs better and better.
     
  9. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    great to hear a full female would do! he has sheep as well . don't have to worry about garentees realy if the animal did not work out would be the first time in 35 years he had stung us ! one thing about a small community. his sister and i went to school together and we have done bussiness with the family many times! if i did not know the person as well i would ask for references as well for their stock.
     
  10. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My 2 cents -
    When we lost 8 head of sheep was when I wanted to get a guard "animal" My #1 criteria was getting something that ate the same as my sheep. Therefore, Llama, Donkey or my wish a Mule as I also wanted to ride it. (Also, because I feed enough dogs, training & raising working Border Collies.) As is was, when I contacted the ASI, American Sheep Institute - (something you might consider) to seek their advice, I was told dogs make the best guard for protection. They have various data and it all boils down to who's numbers mean what, but none the less, dogs. (I'm guessing because they think/react the most like the #1 killer of sheep in the U.S.- K9's) or because thats the most gathered evidence maybe?

    The difference being the switch that turns on and says "protect" rather than kill. I was given a ranking but honestly can't remember all of the details but Llama's were up there, like maybe 2nd, donkeys, less, mules even less, mules almost not, and horses almost as low as a house cat! Damn, that meant more dog food! Which dogs worked out best was hard to say because of all the variables, how many were used in the operation, how many sheep were they watching, over how much space/ground, blaa, blaa, blaa... Point being, best dog should not be ranked by the aggression scale of the dog. I researched and decided for my needs/wants a Maremma or Maremma-cross.

    I have never been happier with an animal purchase. I bought 2 dogs @ $500 ea. both females/sisters and 2 years old already working/guarding, but from a system of 4 dogs. Well, 4 sisters, the guy also had both parents as well. Anyway, my sheep freaked because they had never been protected by a dog, but I would assume the same case when first being introduced to a Lamma or anything else. After 3 days being penned up together, I released everybody with still some reluctance on the sheeps behalf. And, that's my tale of two tails although there is much more to the story of my picking up the dogs, but I'm saving THAT story for if we should get a FARM DOGS forum on here, so ya'll go to that post and request it please, (it's a great story in it's own right)

    My only additional commets are:
    1) I have known several friends who got rid of their Llama's for various reasons like, mean, not working, killing sheep etc. but no one has gotten rid of their guard dogs... hummmm? And, I have 2 friends who ARE happy with their Llama's, one who also has guard dogs and a guard donkey, but all in seporate pastures.

    2) I have since bought an Arabian horse who was raised with sheep and she guards the heck out of my sheep! She runs and circles them and stays with them. While the dogs used to divide and one would go bark and warn off the intruder, while the other would stay with the sheep. Now with the horse, they are learning a new adjustment, (as they did when they went from 4 or 6 to 2) so that 1 dog goes into warn off mode, the horse circles and the 2nd dog leaves the sheep reluctantly and goes part way, or all the way with the 1st dog. 9That's how much the horse protects!)

    3) Reguarding the gelding of the male species. I used to run with the big dogs back when I was young, then I got a little older and went less and less and was content to stay on the porch more and more. Now, having been gelded myself, I frenquently don't even bother to go to the porch but stay in my recliner watching Star Trek reruns and drinking wine. Speaking from a gelded point of view...
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    A few years ago I bought two young gelded males. I had no sheep then, I got them for fun. They were yearlings at the time. Guard instinct doesn't kick in until they're about 2, and it doesn't kick in with all llamas, just some. One of my boys was quite alert and would do that funky little noise through the nose to let us know he sensed danger. One day we didn't know what he was doing, then got a call an hour later telling us of a cougar siting in the neighborhood! The other llama just ignored it all and went on grazing...

    I was visiting a sheep farm last fall and the owner told us he'd purchased a llama to guard his sheep, then lost 9 sheep in a month... He got rid of the llama and bought a dog!

    As for the older stud, pass him by. You'd be better off paying more for something younger. Bonding is important...but of course, there's still no guarantee!
     
  12. BDB

    BDB BDB

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    I had lamas to guard my sheep the lamas where just the first ones to get eat by the coyotes while the sheep watch learned my lesson with them got got some highland cattle no more problems with coyotes now so much as a fox comes in the pasture the cows run em down
     
  13. Lana

    Lana Active Member

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    We have a llama for 6 years and have had very good luck. We have coyotes and cougar and a friend that lives 3 miles away loses sheep to both. I think a guard dog would probably be the very best to guard sheep but the Llama is much easier to care for and if it aint broke I aint fixing it.Some things to think about not all dogs or Llamas guard well.many guard dogs bark ALL the time and I know several friends who have had issue with that. Dogs can also "play" to rough with sheep and lambs and kill or injury them. Both Llamas and dogs can be brought down by a very serious pack of predators.The LLama easier than the dogs.

    Llama wise I have heard from many that boys are better than girls.many dog folks advise 2 dogs work better and are happier than one.Some breeds of dogs seem to take better to a small farm while others are breed to guard a large area and then want to roam outside your farm.Most neighbors wont like that.

    I have said when and if we have sheep killed I will look into a dog but having 4 working BC to raise, train and care for I am not eager to add another dog to the list. Lana
     
  14. BDB

    BDB BDB

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    I also have a dog but the coyotes here in RI. are prety big just a few weeks ago one atacked a dog lady that owned the dog went out to beat the coyote off her dog and ended up getting bit some of the coyotes here are about the size of a german shepherd dog well feed on our deer population here I guess