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Livestock Guardian Versatility

 
steward
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1) What livestock animal is the most versatile, in general, in your opinion and why?

2) What livestock animal is the best in your opinion for people in a ____ and why?
i) savanna
ii) tropical rainforest
iii) temperate forest
iv) desert

3) Does the type of livestock affect the type of livestock guardian needed and why? If so, what livestock guardians would you recommend for raising sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, cows, and any other livestock animals you can think of?

4) What pairings of different livestock guardians work best together in your opinion and why?

5) What types of livestock guardians work best in teams of two or more in your opinion and why?

6) What types of livestock guardians, in your opinion and why, work best by themselves?
 
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Hi Dave,

The most important factor is choice of livestock guardian animal is your predator type and predator load.

Guardian llamas and donkeys are themselves vulnerable to wolves, bears, mountain lions, and packs of roaming dogs or coyotes. Neither protects against very well against small predators either - raccoons, opossums, and large birds.The advantages of donkeys and llamas are that they are easier to fence, little threat to neighbors, don't bark, have a long working life, and they generally eat the same food as pastured stock. They are also a good choice if you are wary of dogs or don't want livestock guardian dogs on your property because you have frequent visitors or a business on the premise. But they are most suited to the occasional lone coyote or fox. If that is your situation, they may work well. Llamas don't do well in very hot and humid climates. Donkeys can tolerate hot, dry areas.

Livestock guardian dogs are certainly the most versatile and are used as guardians far more than llamas or donkeys. They are by far the mot successful guardians overall. They can protect a wide range of stock and poultry (when properly trained and socialized). They can deal with both large and small predators, as well as large birds. They analyze threats, provide their owner with a loud alert, and provide a graduated response from warning to charging to attack - usually warning off predators. It is necessary to use pairs when your predator threat is heavy. In some situations where you are dealing with packs of wolves or coyotes, as an example, you need several dogs.

Unless you are on open range, you need good fencing o contain a livestock guardian dog. These breeds were all developed over hundreds of years to work with shepherds on open grazing. They are used to large areas and will roam unless contained. They also bark a lot because barking warns predators of their presence. They also need to be careful trained and socialized to stock or poultry. In their homelands these breeds were not dumped in with stock as a pup and left alone. They worked with shepherds and older experienced dogs. They need to be supervised to prevent bad habits and playful injuries to animals. It is also important to obtain a real livestock guardian breed. Other breeds don't possess the same set of instincts and behaviors. Most livestock guardian breeds are able to deal very well with cold and even heat. They all come from mountainous or steppe situations, for the most part. A few breeds are shorter coated which can be helpful in heat.

As far as combining different livestock guardian species - some folks do have success with this but since llamas and donkeys both are antagonistic to canines, they may not tolerate working with them. Some folks are able to get them used to each other.
 
Dave Burton
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What is your opinion on llamas vs great pyres as livestock guardians? There is a long discussion about this on permies, and we would like to hear your input on this. Why do you think one is better than the other? Are they equally as useful? What situations would a llama be better than a great pyre, and what situations would a great pyre be better than a llama in?
 
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Jan Dohner wrote:....provide a graduated response from warning to charging to attack - usually warning off predators.



Hmmm. That's something I didn't realise about Livestock Guardian Dogs. A very beneficial escalating response
 
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Dave Burton wrote:What is your opinion on llamas vs great pyres as livestock guardians? There is a long discussion about this on permies, and we would like to hear your input on this. Why do you think one is better than the other? Are they equally as useful? What situations would a llama be better than a great pyre, and what situations would a great pyre be better than a llama in?


The biggest consideration is that llamas are also prey animals. Because they are large and territorial, they may discourage a single dog, but they are no match for a pack of coyotes or wolves. Great Pyrenees, on the other hand, are predators and can be coyote killers.

A consideration for Pyrenees is that not all of them have the same training and instincts. The best guardians are the ones born and raised by working parents on livestock farms, who have been exposed to livestock and understand their role. Pyrs raised as pets are less likely to make good guardians. Speaking from experience here!
 
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The livestock guardians that I usually see are my neighbor's two big white dogs.

I don't know what breed they are.

Everyone in my area have either sheep or goats so these big white dogs are what most folks have.

In the past I have always heard the donkey are great guardians.

When I see donkeys in a pature I always remember that.
 
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Anne Miller wrote:
In the past I have always heard the donkey are great guardians.

When I see donkeys in a pature I always remember that.



Can confirm, inside every donkey is an unhinged duality.

A. The personality of Eddie Murphy is inside EVERY donkey. (Thank you Shrek for confirming this)
B. A cold blooded coyote killing machine.

You have to be careful having dogs and donkeys together, I have heard horror stories about a territorial donkey making quick work of even large dogs. Even with that said, I hope perhaps in retirement to have a pasture donkey. I find them to be a noble animal and great 'pet'. I was dating a girl in high school and helping on her parent's goat farm. They had a donkey in a fenced pasture and then a sheepdog who roamed the other fields. Never had an issue with predators with that team.
 
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