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HOWLING OAK RANCH

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Guardian animals

We have two llamas that act as guardians of our sheep. They were raised with sheep and many other llamas. Originally, we planned to have only one llama, as we'd heard that lone llamas make the best guardians. However, their previous owner was concerned that one llama would be lonely, so we ended up with two. This proved to be a good thing, as it means that we can divide our flock onto 2 groups without leaving one vulnerable to predators.

"Mucho" is a gelded male (on the left), and "Linda" is an intact female. For over two years now, they have done an excellent job (in conjunction with some good fence) protecting our sheep from the many coyotes in our area. Linda is very interested in the sheep, and prefers their company over all other's. Mucho wants to be with Linda, but if I place a pasture or two between them, he'll stay with his sheep rather than pacing the fence all day.

The llamas are easy to care for, as their needs are very similar to those of the sheep. They are very intelligent animals, quickly memorizing the location of every gate, or the likely route to be taken during routine pasture rotations. We've made some half-hearted attempts to work with our llamas, but neither is used to being handled, and we haven't pushed the issue. The only problem we've had is making sure that the llamas get a fair share of the hay, when there is no good grass available. The sheep eat more quickly, so the llamas need a higher hay rack, out of the reach of all those greedy mouths, to get enough to eat.

 

Last modified 27 May 2008
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