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dealing with predators  RSS feed

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Any suggestions how to keep the predators lion, bear, coyote, away from the milk goats?  I have an elderly komondor, and I am building a safe shelter for night time, but what about day time, and while they are out grazing?  Llamas?  More  guarding dogs, but how to get through the years when those pups are learning their jobs?

Any secrets about using electric fence?

Thanks
 
Deb Rebel
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Guard donkey or guard llama. Guard donkeys are vastly underrated.
 
Ben Zumeta
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Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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Great Pyrenees-Akbash (white Anatolian) are a great cross for LGD purposes. Guard Asses (i.e. a Mexican Jack) are also something I've seen be successful with goats in NW Oregon with cougars around.  If you have wolves or at least coyotes as I am guessing (or hoping, as your area would be have to be hammered to not have them), I would strongly recommend multiple dogs to avoid one being ambushed and surrounded.

I think it is also in your best interest to build the old farmers' rule of thirds into any budget and production plan:  a third for me (sale/longterm storage), a third for friends/family, and a third for the neighbours (which include your local wildlife). The ways this can be broken down are infinite and are largely already built into the 5 zone model with the wildlife getting a lot of zone 4 and all of zone 5.  If i do glean better than a third, I ought to be thankful and know I am getting a lot more than my fair share as only one of many occupants of that part of the Earth. Also, I might question whether i really put in 1/3 of the energy it took to make your harvest? In reality i likely didn't (thanks sun!), and this will make me feel more fortunate for whatever I get. It will likely swing the other way another year and I benefit from remembering my good fortune when i had it and hopefully have saved and reinvested the surplus back into the land and its increased productivity and diversity, making future failures less catastrophic. Its usually when we expect more than our fair share that we can be disappointed or set ourselves up to lose the farm due to naturally occurring events like livestock losses on land taken from predators just trying to survive.

I lost my first full grown duck this last month, most likely to a raccoon when part of my fence in the bird run was too low to keep my pyr in and so he wasn't allowed back there freely at night and they lacked his protection. It has been 3yrs now though with only one loss in 30 birds, and I attribute this as much to their freedom to fly into trees all around them or even out of the yard as much as to my LGD. Good luck, just remember no human system is perfect and nature will get its share one way or another.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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About the llama, there are some available in my region, but I don't know anything about them.  Would they do better as a team, as the LGDs do?  Or does one take all comers.  And how long does it take a llama to "bond" with a new community of goats?  In my thought experiment, I put the new llama in with the goats, and I just don't imagine them being protective until - in their minds- they 'own' those goats.

If it takes a month or two, then it will be a challenge to house them in the minimalist shelter I am in the process of building in a section of the existing barn, and the adjacent sheltering outdoor pen, which will have a "roof" on it, will need a higher roof.

Just thought that would be an important consideration.  thanks
 
Deb Rebel
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I don't know how llamas do against mountain lions, but that donkey could possibly kick the lion to the promised land... It will take a few months for the group to bond in whichever one you choose. I've heard of solitary llamas doing fine. Two would mean more wool if you're into fiber arts. Get a light one and a dark one and do your own yarn...
 
Georgia Green
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It sounds like guard dogs, llamas and donkeys should do the trick for long term, but If you're interested in a solution while you're still training them, I have a suggestion. I know someone who keeps a camera in her barn connected to her iPhone and some screens in the house so that she can keep an eye on her pregnant does, rather than sleeping out in the barn. This could help you keep an eye on your goats while your guard animals are getting into shape. I have one more tip in addition, though if you are a serious goat caretaker, which I assume you are, you should already know this, but one thing is that you should never leave your goats tied up. This leaves them extremely vulnerable to predators.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Oh MAN!!!  Georgia, do people really leave  their goats tied?  I am afraid if I left my spoiled darlings tied for any length of time and unattended, they would come to serious harm just from pulling and being upset. 

I AM in to fiber arts, andgot the llama idea because I though multiple species grazing would be a good idea as soon as I have all this wonderful feed.   I went to craigslist and searched for wool, and up came the llamas, and the post mentioned guarding, and so I began the  question about bonding time.
 
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