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Sheep Vs. Alpaca as farm pet  RSS feed

 
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My wife and I are developing 5 acres, and should be moved out by July of this year.  I'm currently volunteering in the mornings at an alpaca farm to learn a bit about caring for livestock(I have no experience) and I"ve been somewhat disappointed in their aloof nature.  We originally were attracted to Alpaca's mainly because my wife thinks they are cute, and they are a bit unusual, but these animals would mostly be farm pets/ lawn mowers.  Has anyone kept both, and could you weigh in on which would be the most enjoyable.  We plan on doing pasture rotations with goats, chickens and guinea hogs if they can play nice.  I'm thinking some hair sheep would be easier, and would give us a bit of meat eventually if they reproduced too much.  We would like our animals to be interested in us, and be able to interact with us when we go out to pasture.  
The way I see it Pros for Alpaca is they are a bit bigger, make hilarious noises, and are better on pasture(foot pads vs hoofs)
pro's for sheep is less maintenance(looking at american blackbelly) they would reproduce faster, and way cheaper.

Any opinions?  
 
pollinator
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Have had sheep and llamas in my youth, and the only characteristic I can truly speak to is this:

Llamas/alpacas are QUIET - sheep can make noise.

Take that as a positive or negative, depending on your situation...
(obviously there is much more to account for than this, but it's what I got)
 
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In my experience, a ram makes a very dangerous farm pet.  Our ram was raised by the breeder's children as a pet and so had no respect for humans.  Sheep play with each other by ramming, so our ram Harold rammed us a lot, to the point of injuring both of us.  We could not get him to stop, so unfortunately we had to put him down.  I don't know if pet male Alpacas can be aggressive.
 
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Yes an Alpaca can be aggressive. Especially if raised as a pet. I’ve grown to respect their dislike of physical touch, but they love to play in a garden hose. Now you want a fun loving pet get a goat. Terribly endearing, and I do mean terrible! Always in trouble. Always entertaining!
 
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Dennis Mitchell wrote:Yes an Alpaca can be aggressive. Especially if raised as a pet. I’ve grown to respect their dislike of physical touch, but they love to play in a garden hose. Now you want a fun loving pet get a goat. Terribly endearing, and I do mean terrible! Always in trouble. Always entertaining!



Absolutely have to second this one. Goats are great pets.

Rams are dangerous during breeding season. And the more socialized a ram is (pet), the more dangerous he is. When I raised sheep, I always carried a crook into the ram pen, as any of the rams would sometimes charge me. I used the crook to deflect his charge. But had I missed, I could have had a broken leg, or worse. And I ***NEVER*** allowed children in with the rams. That could be deadly. The ewes? They were ok. One was even friendly.

In contrast, dairy goat bucks are rarely highly aggressive. I know one now retired dairy goat farmer who had to put down an aggressive buck which attacked her. But that’s pretty rare. Most all bucks are decent to work around even during breeding season. Goats are friendly and inquisitive. They are also amusing and playful.

As for goat breeds, I have only had dairy goats, but there are meat goat breeds also, as well as fiber breeds (and all can be eaten if you want / need to).
 
Carson Albright
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I'm glad we're getting goats then too!  We want some for weed control, looking at pygmy's.  
I think we should be respectful of all animals in regard to their potential to be aggressive, by pet maybe I should clarify to animal I intend to have on the property as livestock, but not profit from.  We are looking for something to help maintain the pasture, but would prefer it to enjoy our presence.  From my experience with Alpaca's, they tolerate my presence, but don't necessarily care if I'm there unless I have food.  Are sheep the same, or do they take somewhat of an interest in you over time?  
 
Tyler Ludens
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Our neighbors have pygmy goats and they are adorable.

 
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Other than raising them for the wool, the main reason to have Alpacas is as guard animals, but a donkey is a far better guard animal, the alpaca will not deter coyotes but a donkey can kill the coyotes.
Sheep can be great as pets but again you will need to shear them so their wool doesn't get matted up and pull their skin, they also can get diseases that are infectious to humans, I don't know how often that happens but I have heard of it happening in NZ.
Goats can be great as pets, but think a little about the wisdom of taking a farm animal and trying to make it a pet, while they can be considered a pet, what happens if they should die? will you be able to bury the body?
The reason I bring this up is that we have hogs, our breed pair can be considered pets because they aren't going to be food, they make our food by having babies.
As long as you have the right mind set, it will go well.
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Other than raising them for the wool, the main reason to have Alpacas is as guard animals, but a donkey is a far better guard animal, the alpaca will not deter coyotes but a donkey can kill the coyotes.
Sheep can be great as pets but again you will need to shear them so their wool doesn't get matted up and pull their skin, they also can get diseases that are infectious to humans, I don't know how often that happens but I have heard of it happening in NZ.
Goats can be great as pets, but think a little about the wisdom of taking a farm animal and trying to make it a pet, while they can be considered a pet, what happens if they should die? will you be able to bury the body?
The reason I bring this up is that we have hogs, our breed pair can be considered pets because they aren't going to be food, they make our food by having babies.
As long as you have the right mind set, it will go well.



Unless you get a hair sheep like Katadhin or St Croix, etc.  As long as they're pure bred (or enough of the hair breed in the admixture) they'll shed their hair in the spring/summer and eliminate the need to shear.
 
Carson Albright
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I was thinking of American black belly, there's a breeder nearby
 
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