Canids of any kind bring out the beast in llamas. Coyotes and dogs account for 80% of sheep
lost to predators.
In 1990 21.7 million dollars in sheep and 5.6 million dollars in goats were lost to predators.
Unlike its prey of sheep, goats, exotic birds, alpacas, and calves the llama does not run from the preditors.
Preditors are generally looking for an easy meal and when challenged by a llama will move on to easier pickings. Llamas
generally charge the preditor, striking and screaming although they are capable of killing a single coyote or dog. Domestic
packs of dogs are the worst of the preditors since they are not killing to eat but for the fun of the chase. Packs of
dogs can take a llama down. Llamas can alert their rancher to problems in the pasture by ALARM CALLING. This is a high
pitched sound that is audiable at considerable distance and it is a call for help "Hey Dad, get the gun and come out here.
There's something really bad in our pasture!"
Llamas in their great wisdom will herd their charges into corners or catch pens and then stand between the flock and
the preditor. They can acturally move a flock to a safer location and if nothing else keep the damage by the preditor
to a minimum.
Unlike guard dogs llamas require no training to do their job. For most llamas it comes naturally. Likewise
they eat and receive the same health care as the sheep and goats they guard. While dogs have a life span of about 6-8
years as guards llamas live to guard until 17 to 20 years. Some ranchers use a combination of dogs and llamas to guard.
This gives double protection. A llama properly introduced to his companion dogs will distinguish between their dogs
and coyotes or dogs that are strange and could be a threat.
|Llamas guarding sheep from wild pigs on Southwest sheep ranch