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livestock guardian animals: llamas vs great pyr

 
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"...studies where the amount of Lithium Chloride was increased to several times (average 5.5) that did not have the desired results.  "Predictably, predators that consumed salty-tasting meat baits, refused to eat salty meat baits again after recovering from illness (showing that CTA had indeed been produced), but continued to attack and consume non-salty baits or live prey.""

That was where they multiplied the desired dosage about 5 times as strong as they should have, and the stuff was detectable.  At the lower dosage of Lithium chloride, the results were the ones they wanted.  In other words, more is not better.

Sue
 
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Good info.  So is this bait on the market yet? 

Did they collar the predators, or have them in captivity?  How long did they observe the predators after recovery?

Does it cost a lot to feed a llama?
 
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sue- Igot it now. somehow the info didn't assimilate into my brain in the right order.

I think one of the benefits of llamas is that they eat basically what other pastured livestock eat. so it is easier to deal with them. I have talked to several people that have difficulty feeding their lgd because anywhere the dog can get the goats can too and the goats will eat the dogfood. just makes it a pita. I still would rather have a dog. but I'm a dog person.
 
Susan Monroe
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That's okay, Leah, I do that myself.... a little too often, actually.

Steve, I haven't researched where (or if) it's available.

What they did in some tests was sheep vs coyotes.  They added the lithium chloride to some fresh mutton and wrapped the whole thing in sheep wool ('mini-sheep'!  ) and let the coyotes eat it (in a reasonably confined area, not a cage) and get sick.  Later (presumably when the coyotes would want another meal), they put some sheep into the confined area with the coyotes. 

None of the coyotes would touch the sheep.  In fact, the guy who originally came up with this idea with wild, loose coyotes on his ranch, eventually noticed that 'his' coyotes remained in the area, eating their natural diet of rabbits and rodents, but no sheep.  The coyotes are territorial, and would drive off other coyotes that tried to enter the area (the ranch).  In essence, 'his' coyotes were protecting 'their' sheep, although I'm sure that's not how they considered it, it was just a by-product.

Using nature's methods to protect your assets.  What could be better than that?

Sue
 
Steve Nicolini
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That is pretty cool Sue.  Leah,  I thought Greeks made pitas! Not goats eating dog food!

With this bait thing, it seems to me that one would have to be careful.  I wonder if you baited up some rabbit meat, and a coyote came, ate it, got sick, and healed, would he/she want to eat wild rabbit again?
 
Susan Monroe
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Steve, probably not.  But wanting them not to eat their natural food is over-controlling, and pointless. 

Over-control is one of Man's worst compulsions.

Suppose you raised loose rabbits and put out treated rabbit carcasses as bait, and the coyote learned to not eat rabbits.

Then, your neighbor who raises sheep, did the same with mutton.

And your other neighbor did the same with his super-cui's (rodents to the coyotes).

What does the coyote eat now?  People?

Sue
 
Steve Nicolini
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It could try. 

My concern was that the coyote would not eat wild rabbits.  I am on your team here Sue.  I want the coyote to eat what's in its natural diet. 

I would not want the coyote to eat our rabbits, however.  This is where the guardian dog comes in.  Do your dogs work around the clock protecting your livestock?
 
Leah Sattler
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steve -your "'round the clock" question brings out one of the other supposed disadvantages of some lgds. barking. great pyrenees are known for barking all night long. A freind of mine just got a maremma, they are supposed to not bark all night. but I wonder if they are less effective because of that? wouldn't the barking serve as an early warning to predators? maybe wihthe barking they never would even approach the livestock. I don't even want them in my pasture, I certainly don't want to wait for an actual encounter to occur before the dog does something.

intelligence can't be beat with a dog though. one story I read recently on a goat forum indicated that their stock had escaped. one dog went with them and stayed overnight while the other dog came home and lead the owners to the the escapees in the morning.  dogs can have some actual reasoning that helps them make decision. not just instincts imo. I have read stories of dogs staying with kids that were born  and abandoned by their mums. cleaning them and keeping them warm till owners found them.

not an lgd  story but I distinctly remember an incident as a child. I was playing in the backyard when a meter reader or some utility guy jumped the fence and was doing something in the backyard. our husky stood near me, not making a sound, staring at the guy, and wherever he went the dog walked around so as to always be between me and the stranger. the guy was kinda freaked out.
 
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My understanding is that Pyrs will bark constantly if tied up or caged.  But they bark every once in a while if there is something to bark at. 

The pyr I used to have would bark once an hour or so through the night.  You get used to it.

 
Susan Monroe
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Leah, my mother had a dog like that, a Border Collie x Terrier.  When I was about 3, my parents moved to a house on the side of a large hill.  The was a triangular backyard that was about eight feet across to an almost sheer drop.  The front yard was two small grassy patches with steps between them, the road in front was narrow, and on the other side of the road was a really sheer drop straight onto someone's brick patio.  No fences anywhere.  (Great place to raise three toddlers, right?)

I was the roamer (the oldest) and Boots went with me everywhere.  He stayed between me and the cliffs, between me and the mailman, between me and the milk man, between me and everyone.

One day, I got tired of him and closed him in the house.  A neighbor called my Mom on the phone and asked if that was her little girl who was halfway down the back cliff, hanging onto a bush and stuck on a cactus?  Well, yes, it was, as a matter of fact!  She had to hike down the street, down the hill, and climb up to me from the bottom, then drag me all the way home, howling.

Sue

 
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paul wheaton wrote:
I have a strong opinion about this and am having a healthy discussion with another party about it.  So I wish to gather feedback from others on this topic without pushing in my own opinion.

While having livestock guardian animals is a rich topic, I would like to limit the discussion to two.  Llamas and great pyrenees dogs and their ability to protect chickens from wildlife.

I'm tempted to convey what I know on the topic, but I'm concerned that that would expose my bias. 

Anybody have experience with either?  Or, hopefully, both?  Can anybody share the pros and cons of having them as a working animal on a full farm eco system?






Just came across this thread.  Are you still interested Paul?  We raise Pyrs and anatolians, use at least two, usually three with each goat herd, we currently have 16 dogs.
 
paul wheaton
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Gary,

At this time I am leaving the farm where I am.  And one of the big reasons is that the land owners are dead set against getting a great pyr. 

The great pyr I had was 3/4 great pyr and the rest was a bit of a mix that included anatolian.  She wasn't nearly as big and she was damn good at her job!

So - you're a breeder? 

Maybe you have some excellent stories to share?


 
gary gregory
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paul wheaton wrote:
Gary,

At this time I am leaving the farm where I am.  And one of the big reasons is that the land owners are dead set against getting a great pyr. 

The great pyr I had was 3/4 great pyr and the rest was a bit of a mix that included anatolian.  She wasn't nearly as big and she was damn good at her job!

So - you're a breeder? 

Maybe you have some excellent stories to share?



    Sorry to hear that they are against it.

  We're not breeders, just had a few litters over the years to keep up with the growing goat herd and browsing business.  We started with 20 goats and two dogs.  We have a Pyrenees female and a Pyr/Anatolian male and their offspring. 
 
    To address the llama vs pyr issue, llamas probably do a good job when they are awake, but goats browse in 4 hour cycles around the clock and most predators show up at night and that is when working dogs are active.    We would never leave a working dog alone to protect a herd.  Too much stress.  And too lonely for the dog.    They love their job and they love us too.  We don't make pets of them but pet them every day and talk to them and tell them how much we appreciate them and they love it.    We have never had a loss due to predators in the 5 years we've been doing this while neighbors have had goats taken from their barns by mountain lion.  And the dogs have never had a physical encounter with a predator.  As mentioned earlier in the thread, they set up their perimeter by barking.    We feel this is the predator friendly way to go.  The predators go around us and we're not out shooting them or having the county trapper getting rid of them.    The predators here are mountain lion, coyotes, black bear.  And golden eagles and bobcat are interested when we are kidding.      Plus we've recently heard that the marijuana growers have pit bulls that they let loose at the end of the crop or when they get busted.         

  This all came about because we bought 50 acres here and then had to deal with the fire danger, my wife investigated using goats and she then turned that gained knowledge into a browsing business.  I am a minor player [goat chauffeur]  and gardener.  My camera battery is dead but will try to come up with pics.  Time to water the greenhouse.  cheers 
   
 
paul wheaton
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I agree with the need for more than one dog. 

And my analysis is that depending on llamas for protection is:  it could work in low predator pressure zones, but in general, I would say it is not enough.

 
gary gregory
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This is Bob Barker.   Pyrs will sleep during the day when it gets hot and will take over the kidding shelters if the kids are not born yet.
Bob-Barker.jpg
[Thumbnail for Bob-Barker.jpg]
 
gary gregory
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And this photo is of one of our dogs that we have deemed as too predator friendly.  Retired
Phoebe.jpg
[Thumbnail for Phoebe.jpg]
 
pollinator
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LOL!  Cute, Gary! 

I've had several Great Pyrs and a Maremma -- whoever said that Maremmas don't bark at night was either mistaken or misleading you.  They bark just as much as the Pyrs did.  None of them bark gratuitously, but you may have a hard time figuring out what it is that they are barking at!  It never bothered me that the dogs were barking, but it did bother some of our neighbors, including one old lady who insisted it was our dog she heard barking, when I could listen out my open window and tell that our dog wasn't barking.  I don't know whose she was hearing. 

From what I've read, llamas are only useful in areas where canine predators are the main problem, and where the canine predators don't run in packs.  They aren't useful against packs of canines (dogs, coyotes, or wolves), or against bears or mountain lions.  And they aren't useful against raccoons and such that bother chickens.  Dogs, in the right numbers and breeds, are useful against all these, plus hawks and owls that bother chickens.  So it depends on what animals you are protecting, what predators you have, your fencing (easier to fence llamas than dogs), your neighbors, and your inclinations -- are you a dog person or not?  Personally, my limited experience with llamas hasn't inclined me to want to own one, and I like dogs, so if we ever get a larger place I'll get LGD's again.

The Maremma I had came from some sheep-raising neighbors when we lived in New Hampshire; they had some interesting stories to tell about their dogs.  They had different bands of sheep in small paddocks near the house (they were raising registered Merinos and Shetlands and kept the ewes and lambs up close), and usually had a dog per paddock, although the dogs could and did jump fences when necessary.  If a predator came up to the fence line, the dog in that paddock would move the sheep as far away from the predator as possible and stand between the band of sheep and the predator, barking.  So they aren't just territorial protectors, they were actually protecting the sheep.  They are really amazing animals.

Kathleen
 
Leah Sattler
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that is darling.....some just aren't cut out for it I guess!

I have been giving this more thought. we haven't developed a predator problem yet..knock knock......but I am slowly prioritizing and thinking about ways I can set the place up so I can go on over night stays or feel comfortable laying low for a day and not "dealing with things" if i was sick or extremely busy. recently had two funerals one of which I simply couldn't attend because I can't leave for any length of time. part of my thinking leads me to the idea of an lgd. or gaurdian of some sort so I don't feel so anxious about the goats safety. right now I am generally a few barks away from my .22 if it were neccesary.

I am glad to know that about the maremmas. I was certainly misled about the non-barking tendencies. I do have a problem with barking. all my dogs come inside at night because I would never sleep with them out. even though they only bark a few times during the night their barking instantly puts me on high alert and then it takes awhile before I can get back to sleep......just about as long as it takes for them to bark at something again!

is there any kind of lgd that is known for being quiet?
 
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That pic of the dog & cat is wonderful! Well, maybe not so wonderful if you were needing an lgd. Being a cat lover, I can't help but love the picture! Glad you shared it!
 
                            
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No opinion, but can relate our experience.  We have no experience with llamas or donkeys, only LGD.  I chose dogs because I understand llamas and donkeys are not nocturnal (when most of the predators are!).

We could not have small livestock out without dogs.  Love my Pyrs, calm, friendly, but a huge management challenge with the big coats.  Anatolin or Akbash have had better coats for our environment and seem to have a better time with hot summer.  Also seem more athletic, and to mature earlier (ready to do their job, lose their goofy puppy ways more quickly).  We also have cross bred dogs and like them alot--especially when they have short coats.

OK, an opinion . . .I think we need to choose what we believe will work best in our environment and under our management.
 
paul wheaton
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I have heard that the anatolians are ...  not as well tempered at the pyrs.  Has that been your experience?

Akbash .... never even heard of that one!  Can you tell us a little?

 
                            
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Hmm, "well tempered", not quite sure exactly what you are getting at/asking. 

What I want are teams of dogs that successfully protect small livestock and  are pleasurable/easy to work with.  In putting dogs together, I want to complement individual strengths or compensate for weaknesses.  I think about enviromental issues: where the dogs will be and what challenges are to be expected.  Then about dog qualities: experience, age, body build vs. terrain, health, males & females, dominant females, and working style.  Style becomes better defined with age and experience: is the dog a forward/fence dog, or one that stays back with the livestock, but style is also taught by older LGDs to younger LGDs.  Beyond anything, I want them to be well bonded to their charges.

Seems like the LDG breeds we've worked with have shared more similar qualities than distinct: bottom line, all have been great with livestock.  I think good "working dog" genetics account for, maybe 90-95%  of success, then with management we encourage the behaviors that help fit the particulars of my project and management style.  Perhaps the biggest challenge is  to remember that the dogs are for the livestock, not  pets (really hard for many, especially when the dogs are young, but when it is most important!).  We whelp with trusted, calm older does, so from minute one pups are with livestock; they open their eyes and they see their mom and goats.  For the first year we work to ensure we can handle the dogs to keep them healthy, but not handle so much to impact the necessary primary bond to livestock.

Here is URL to some Akbash info: great photo http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/a/akbashdog.htm
 
paul wheaton
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I have heard that anatolians can be unfriendly around people.

There is one that I am aware of where an old woman had an anatolian, but she had no livestock.  The dog was mean.  Later, a neighbor took in the dog - and that neighbor didn't have any livestock either.  When the dog bit their toddler, they put the dog down.

My impression is that folks favor the great pyr over the other LGD breeds because the great pyr tends to not be as mean to people.  So I suppose this could be the pet factor you mentioned.  People want a dog that is a LGD and a pet.  At least, people that are getting started with LGDs. 

My own experience is with a great pyr cross (I was told some anatolian and a pinch of saint bernard - but she was smaller than most pyrs).  She was exceptionally friendly with family and with new people, she would stand off a few yards looking like she wasn't sure yet whether to attack or not. 

 
                            
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I would say Anatolians and Akbash are more aloof than Pyrs, vs. unfriendly.

I don't have any experience with "mean", or biting, but all the dogs under our management are with livestock, inside fenced browse cells, which limits human/livestock/dog access and, I feel, helps keep everyone safe (including biosecurity).  I know Pyrs, Anatolians, and Akbash managed successfully in both extensive livestock systems (landscape level) and intensive systems (more like "farm dogs").

Perhaps it is important to remember LGD breeds were heavily culled (in some instances only one pup in a litter was allowed to live) for hundreds (maybe thousands?) of years to perform a task, in an landscape/environment, under some management style--"the genetics".  I think, we influence genetics with our management choices.

I wonder if "mean" translates to lacking confidence (the dog's)?  Inadequate experience (both owner and dog!)?  No doubt, there are inexperienced as well as some dangerous dogs/dog managers out there (LGD's are not unique from other dogs in this way).  I started by looking for a role models for what I wanted to manifest.  I think I've been lucky, I've had opportunity to see quite a few successful dogs in various conditions and feel blessed to be working with canine partners with superhero abilities.

 
                          
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Well, since this thread has been resurrected anyway, I thought I'd chime in here with my limited experience with guard animals.

I've never had LGD's (although I have plenty of other dogs!) but I did have a llama.  His name was Thumper.

Thumper shared a pasture with free-range chickens, ducks, and geese, along with goats.  Most mornings, I could go out there and find one (or more) piles of feathers, with Thumper happily and calmly grazing nearby.

I went from 25 geese down to........none.

I never lost a goat to coyotes but I suspect that was more because the birds were much easier to catch than because of any effort put out by Thumper.

I had to laugh at the comment made early in this thread that stated llamas only work as protection if they are used singly.  I used to complain about Thumper's lack of effectiveness and I was told you really need two because that way they turn it into a game/competition.

I don't know.  Maybe, like so many things, it depends on the personalities involved.  Maybe Thumper was a lover and not a fighter (although he was a gelding).   

That was where I used to live.  I had a huge coyote problem.  Here, I don't think I've lost anything to coyotes.  I hear them, down on the flat and open pastures below me (I am now on a hill, and in a more wooded area) but the few things I've lost, I think, are more likely 'coons and, for a while last spring, a family of fox.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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One reason Pyr's are more commonly used is because they were the first LGD breed in this country in large numbers, so there are a lot more of them than of most of the other breeds.  You can usually find Pyr pups from working ranch lines for a very reasonable price (I've seen them going for a hundred dollars), while most of the other breeds can cost a lot more, some a LOT more!  I'm hoping that as the other breeds become more common, they won't cost as much -- unfortunately, those of us who want to use the dogs for what they were bred for, are the ones not likely to have thousands of dollars to spend on dogs.  There's one 'new' (to this country) breed that I'd like to try, as they sounded ideal for me -- the Polish Tatra.  But prices right now are 'fad' prices, not working dog prices.  So I'll wait.

Kathleen
 
Leah Sattler
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I have recently become intrigued by rhodesion ridgebacks. I have met (online) a few people that use them as all around farm guards including to protect livestock. I good freind of mine used to have one although not in a farm situation and he was very pleased. there seems to be some contradiction as to whether they truly make good lgd's or not. so far I gather that use as an lgd was one of their main original purposes but they have been bred more selectively for their hunting ability after their export from africa. I like the fact that they are extremly heat tolerant. that is something that always bothered me with the pyrenees. it looks as though the need to find one from a longstanding working line home would be critical as thay have been turned into pets mostly.
 
                            
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I agree cost is important, as is value: I want to know what I am getting for my dollars, whether it is $100 or more. 

Besides wanting a dog that comes from a successful working line, with breed characteristics that match my environment and management style, I want pups whelped with livestock, have passed a vet check and have been started on a rountine health program.  Just a thought about why management style is important, for example: I love Pyrs, but their big coats make them a management challenge for me in this environement.  Pyrs, in this location, require more "maintanence" to be kept in a healthy manner.

The recommended protocal for puppies in my location consists of vet check, worming, vaccinations and boostering, and starting lifelong heartworm preventative.  When old enough, pups are given rabies vaccines, microchipped and started on a rattlesnake  antivenom.  All this, of course, adds to cost --in dollars and time-- but saves much over problems which can arise later.  And all that just for a young dog (remember, as a general guideline, LGD's are not considered mature until 2 years old). 

I expect an experienced, mature dog, one that is ready to do a mature dog's job  protecting livestock, to have even more value. 
 
Leah Sattler
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Alisa wrote:
and started on a rattlesnake  antivenom. 



wow! I'm glad it doesnt' appear that I have to deal with rattlesnakes. knock on wood.
 
paul wheaton
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Alisa,

Are you doing much with cross breeding and hybrid vigor?
 
                            
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I keep a smaller purebred/registered Kiko band, but also have a larger commercial mob that were crossed on La Mancha four or five generations ago.  Have a few boar crosses also.  Very happy with performance.
 
paul wheaton
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I guess I'm asking about cross breeding the dogs for hybrid vigor.
 
Leah Sattler
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I have seen several anatolian/pyr crosses in use around here. they seem to be a popular cross.

I finally met some neigbors that have show boers a few doors down. they said there used to be a big coyote problem here (I haven't seen any so I wondered). he shot quite a few over the years, probably cutting back the population of bold ones quite seriously. he also said the chicken farms across the street don't necessarily dispose of casualties properly by incinerating and just toss the carcasses out the back. he seemed to think that lures alot of them towards the easy pickins and away from livestock now. I have been very leery about not having a dog, with my shoddy fencing especially.  I had to put my big old dog down this week due to age related problems. but that leaves a possible door open to aquiring anather large breed and I just might go for and lgd. I am still sorta considering a donkey though just because I can grow its food more easily!
 
                            
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Ahhh yes, llamas vs. Pyrs.  Not goats, sorry!

I have cross bred for selected characteristics with one line of Pyr's and I decided (at least for the time being) to maintain a purebred (but not registered) line of Anatolians because I like their fit in my operation. 

Recently I decided not to breed anymore 50/50 Pyr x Anatolians as I couldn't produce a necessary characteristic --short coats--consistantly.  I will be producing some 3/4 Anatolians x 1/4 Pyrs late this year or early next year and will report on how I find them over time.



 
gary gregory
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bump
 
                                  
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Coyotes would recognize a dog for what it is.  But would they recognize a llama as a threat or think it's just a taller meal?  Wouldn't they first have to attack to find out?  It seems a lgd would be a more recognizable deterrent to the predator.   
 
Posts: 196
Location: McIntosh, NM
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I've not had experince with llamas yet, but expect to be adding them in the near future.  More for their wool than guardianship though.

The coyotes, dogs and other large predators give my place a wide berth. The LGD's here are Great Pyr and Anatolian and do bark at night, but not all night.

Predators can be conditioned to stay away from a farm's livestock by the presence of active LGD's.

My LGD's haven't been raised with poultry so would not even think of adding them anywhere near the dogs-not without a LGD being raised with them. Have seen the LGD's take advantage of a stray quail-it's over quick.
 
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we use a combination of a llama and guard donkeys at the farm I'm at now to protect our sheep. We also have a trio of border collies that generally patrol the farm during the day. Usually the llama is in with all the ewes and lambs by himself shortly after we finish lambing and get them out on pasture. He seems to do a pretty good job as a guard animal, but he does have the help of electric fencing... It seems to me that two guard dogs would probably be a better aolution because they could actually counter-maneuver with a few coyotes, while the llama really just kind of looks scary, but probably wouldn't be able to keep up with the much more agile coyotes.

we don't really put anything out to protect the chickens, except for letting the dogs roam around as they please, which has been pretty good protection except for one weekend where one of collies decided he needed some chicken toys ... that was pretty infuriating...
 
                            
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My only experience is with LGD's, well, actually we did have a very endearing donkey for a few years.  While he was charming, and he did warn me when he spotted the neighbor's pigs at the fence, he was prone to overeating any/all available goat supplements, and he liked to sleep at night.

In my location, the activity of herding dogs during the day would not be enough pressure to keep predators off at at night. 

I've found LGD's to be exceptional at their job and a pleasure to work with, but they do require management. Fortunately, they add far more to my enterprise than what they require (we literally could not have small livestock here, or do vegetation management jobs without them).  Three cheers for the dogs!

As a closing note, I don't know all the circumstances, but three llamas were killed (at the same location on a single night) by a mountain lion last year in Mendocino County, CA.
 
Posts: 92
Location: Ontario North and South - right now, moving North Permanently soon. Timmins Cochrane areas
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Alisa wrote:
My only experience is with LGD's, well, actually we did have a very endearing donkey for a few years.  While he was charming, and he did warn me when he spotted the neighbor's pigs at the fence, he was prone to overeating any/all available goat supplements, and he liked to sleep at night.

I've found LGD's to be exceptional at their job and a pleasure to work with, but they do require management. Fortunately, they add far more to my enterprise than what they require (we literally could not have small livestock here, or do vegetation management jobs without them).  Three cheers for the dogs!

As a closing note, I don't know all the circumstances, but three llamas were killed (at the same location on a single night) by a mountain lion last year in Mendocino County, CA.



Hi,
My first post here.
I have seen and been involved with different situations where the use of Llama/donkey(s)/LGD is the best combination.

Grt Pyr dogs are very hard headed, strong willed (like lots of breeds of dogs) and need very strong rule from the people on the farm/location from what I have seen. Twice I was attacked by the young GRT Pyr dog, and I blamed the owner, not the dog. I also soon did some work with the dog and it was about 50% better right away. The owners took way more work and after 2 sessions were only about 5% better! hhmmm...

That dog was only a puppy, although big, neglected and non-trained for anything. The owner read an article on-line that said this is the best guard dog for chickens and bought one! He and His wife did no research at all on big dogs, or on this dog, they raised little yappy dogs (poodle looking things), all of these dogs, barked all night, every-night, everyday, all day..... They also wondered why the neighbours did not like them very much.. hhmmmm again... 

Donkeys with Llama(s) seems to be a good mix but you also have to have the Big Guard dogs as well. Now I know the topic stated only Llama and Grt Pyr dog, but it got off track so here I go a bit too. (you will see why in the end paragraph I promise)

All dogs need You to have training or instruction on how to best deal with them. Beating a dog does not make it a good guard dog (saw that from experience very sad), it just makes it Mean spirited, and rightly so. I have seen Grt Pyr dogs that are very non-threatening, but attentive to humans who come onto the property, they watched and were concerned with the humans, but so long as the person did and acted normal with no bad intentions they were fine.

Other large and mid sized breed dogs, work great as well. My personal experience is that any dog raised or trained properly will not hurt your livestock, period. The human is the worst factor here as they think they know everything and are reluctant to learn or change their ways. Large dogs take up to 3.5 yrs to become adults some mid sized breeds take from 2-3 yrs. Consider each stage of the year to be similar to ours 1st yr, kid, 2nd teenager, 3rd young adult. Get the dog, per your thoughts, lifestyle and interest and interaction levels.

Edit.. I am thinking that you might be able to find a couple of mature, older dogs, who will be good with the animals so that the little pups get trained by the adult dogs as well as from the humans, this might be good too. You might just help save some older dogs lives as well!

Grt Pyr and other large breed stock and guard dogs work great if understood and treated with respect and understanding, my personal favourites are as follow, Rottweilers, English ( Bull) Mastiffs, Belgium Malinois / Melamois, then Great Pyranees (of which I saw lots in the mountains of France and Spain in the Pyranees Mountain ranges doing a great job). 

I do not know about the 1 rule for the Llama, but there are lots of farms in the area across Canada with only 1 Llama so it might just work that way. These places had almost all of the animals in very large paddocks all together. A small pack of donkeys, 2 or more and guard dogs, 2 or more seem to be the best mix. When I was young I saw border collies work in a team, 2 guarded and herded the sheep and goats away from the two coyotes, then the other 4 herded, defended, nipped at the coyotes right off the property.

Later as an adult, I also watched from a distance, from start to finish, when first off when the two coyotes first sprang into action from a ditch, that they goats attacked them, then ran, then turned and attacked defended, while the donkeys, charged across the field to their aid. Donkeys brayed all the way there, so the dogs, came running and herding at the same time towards the coyotes as a team. We watched as the 2 donkeys put the coyotes in high gear in the opposite direction as 2 of the guard dogs, herded and stood guard with the sheep and horses. The Llama was sort of beside these dogs and watching the coyote as well. The other two dogs caught up with the donkeys and all of them chased the Coyotes off the property. I do not think those two came back for quite a while.

Now how did I see all of this I was driving by at the time, there was a curve in the road around this small homestead. So I watched this all as I was driving up to and around the small homestead. I also pulled the vehicle over very quickly, grabbed my ever present Compound Bow, with its quiver of arrows that were always mounted to it’s side. Why, because of the little kids in the yard. They two dogs who stayed back were also guarding, protecting the little kids who were in the yard and watching all of this as well. The dogs made sure the kids did not come into the pasture, by barking at them too! The Homesteader came out, saw me, I pointed to the field where the action was, and we watched together as this all occurred. He said afterwards that he used to get raided all the time by wild dogs and coyotes, but since he had put this combination of Llama/donkeys/dogs and perhaps the goats (can not remember what he said about them) in the paddocks that nothing had gotten to the chickens, turkeys, peacocks, sheep, and goats. We shared a very nice glass of homemade Lemonade together.

My way of thinking is that this is Permaculture team defence for your livestock. Like Permaculture in general, it is a phased array of many things working together in union and unison in a great big encompassing whole. Permaculture may take a while to get everything all together, but it works the best in the long run. 



 
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