Enlisting Guard Llamas to Protect Livestock (and Flocks)?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by analyticalblonde, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. analyticalblonde

    analyticalblonde Songster

    Apr 30, 2018
    Tooele, UT
    Hi All,

    I just read an article in the November issue of Out Here that discusses the use of Guard Llamas that could be an effective means in keeping small animals safe from predators.

    My curiosity was piqued because I had never heard about this method of predation management.

    The article states of Guard Llamas that, "Their inquisitive and protective nature makes them ideal for certain duties. Llamas can successfully guard sheep, goats, cows with calves, deer, alpacas, and foul."

    Although, one of the persons interviewed for the article, Fran Soukup, owner of Sugar River Llamas in Lyndon Station, Wisconsin, did have a caveat..."They can successfully guard poultry such as chickens, turkey, or peafowl, but llamas don’t consider them as being a part of their own herd the same way they do larger farm animals.”

    I have posted the link to the article here so if anyone is interested in reading the full version, they can go directly to it.

    But more to my point for posting this is to find out if anyone has used Llamas as guards to their flock? I know there are breeds of dogs that are in use but this is the first time I have ever heard about the use of Llamas...

    https://outheremagazine.com/novembe...lamas to Protect Livestock&utm_content=Tile 2
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    I've read about it before, specifically being used to guard ewes during lambing season but as you've noted, they're generally used for guarding larger animals.

    I think if you happen to get one to guard poultry it'd be as a side effect of protecting the other animals, if all the animals are penned or ranged together.
    aart and analyticalblonde like this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I think that llamas wouldn't worry about protecting birds directly at all. It would only be worth having them if you wanted some anyway, and then could fence them around the chicken run, maybe.
    A very expensive effort!!! Guard dogs would be more effective, and also very expensive to have and manage.
    Money better spent on coop and run construction, IMO. And electric fencing!
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat!!!^^^
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Interesting article. I have also read that donkeys can work as guard animals. I have not used either but have sen some llamas and, in other fields, donkeys. There are some differences in donkeys and llamas but if you are serious about it you may want to read up on both. I'll just use llamas but I'm really writing about both.

    Llamas might bond with and protect certain livestock like cattle, sheep, or goats, but are not likely to bond with chickens or such. They are more likely to bond if they are the only llama there. They have to be in the direct area to protect the livestock. If they are off in the far reaches of the pasture they aren't going to do you any good if a predator shows. If they have not bonded they are not going to specifically protect them, even if they are in the area.

    Some llamas seem to hate certain predators. They may go after any coyote they see but not be bothered by fox, dog, hawk, or eagle. Even if they have not bonded to the prey animal they may still chase a coyote off if they are in the vicinity.

    I don't know how well llamas see at night. I'd think not that well, so their effectiveness may be reduced. Some people think that predators only come out at night. That's not even close to true. Coyotes, foxes, bobcats, dogs, badgers, wolverines, and many birds of prey also hunt during the day. Even if llamas can't see that well at night, that doesn't mean they aren't helpful.

    Like any tool they need to be used correctly to be effective. Good luck!
  6. sorce

    sorce Songster

    Aug 26, 2019
    Sounds like a Llama is just a large side equation in that old chicken math!

    analyticalblonde likes this.
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Biggest issue with donkeys is while they might protect some of your animals, they may decide others are their enemies (the article mentioned one llama that hated cats, but I think donkeys are more prone to being selective like that). An acquaintance who has a pair said their donkeys didn't like their ducks and would try to stomp on them so they had to keep them separated, which kind of ruins the point of having a guardian animal in the first place.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: