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Re: Herd Guardians, Dogs,Llamas, or other?

Amber Waves Pygmy Goats 6cc Syringe

Posted by Leah on July 18, 2002 at 13:18:33:

In Reply to: Herd Guardians, Dogs,Llamas, or other? posted by Kerrie on July 18, 2002 at 07:28:57:

Kerrie,

I know what you mean. When we got started in goats last year, the last thing I wanted was a dog. Not that I'm not a dog lover, I am! But I just didn't want to put up with all of the hassle of the puppy stage and the teenage era. I have an eighteen month old (who was just a teeny baby then), and the last thing I felt like doing was training a dog!

So I spent a great deal of time looking into alternative livestock guardians. I did some reading about llamas and found that although they would band together as a herd to protect their young, a single llama was not adequately prepared to defend itself or anything else against a determined coyote or bobcat. I have heard arguments on both sides of the fence about this, but ultimately I decided against llamas.

The next alternative, as you mentioned, was a donkey. I have talked to a number of people who have had wonderful success with donkeys. We purchased a young donkey last year and had him gelded, but due to his young age, he was still quite playful and far too aggressive to stay with the goats. We had to put him in a pasture which adjoined the goats' area but we had no problem with predators. Because we had limited space, we ended up selling the donkey simply because we wanted to allow the goats more grazing area. However, I think that if we had gotten a jenny (instead of a gelding) who was older (say, 5 years old or more) and was past the playful stage and already settled and calm, we would have had more luck. Despite the fact that our donkey didn't work for us, I still like the idea of donkeys as guardians, as they are relatively low maintenance and require much the same care as the goats.

As you can guess, we finally ended up with an LGD. Our Great Pyrenees dog, Samson, actually turned out to be pretty terrific. I couldn't be happier with him. Yes, there were and are still some trying times, (he is right in the middle of his teenage period!) but he has far exceeded my expectations.

Of course, this is just my experience. My best advice is to research all of your options and then go with what you think will best suit your needs. It sounds to me like you already have a pretty good setup with the electric fences! Best of luck to you! I would be interested to hear about your experiences with whatever guardian you choose!

Regards,
Leah


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