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We have some 6 week old doelings that I need to figure out a way to protect as they begin to spend the bulk of their time outside grazing. They're up in the barn/pen which is near the house until they're bigger. That gives me a few months to hash out what to use to protect them from predators. What do people use for goats? Donkeys seem too large for even an adult large breed goat. And I've had a few horses that didn't tolerate smaller ruminants in the field and would attack. I assume a mammoth Jack could feel the same. Llamas? A dog is out of the question unless a fully trained LGD somehow lands in my lap. Foxes are the main problem. There are a pair that hang around that are huge. We supposedly have coyote in the area, although I've never seen one on the property in the 3 years we've been here.

NoraWI says 2017-05-21 20:00:34 (CST)

A llama would be the perfect choice to guard your goats. Llamas spit and kick and would be worthy opponents for any predators short of a bear.

Much as I love donkeys and extol their virtues, they are not appropriate as guards for goats, especially young, small ones. I got one standard donkey gelding at age 3, who was placed with a flock of milking goats as a weanling. All he wanted to do was play. And donkey play can be lethal for goats, especially young goats. Unhappily, Teddy killed a few and ended up in a paddock by himself for a couple of years. He cost me $50 and his owner gave me $50 worth of specialty cheeses she made from goat milk. She was glad to see him go; I was glad to have him join my other donkeys. I still get great pleasure seeing him finally have plenty of donkey play with the others in the herd.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Wanderosa says 2017-05-21 22:02:35 (CST)

That's what I thought might be the case. My neighbor has a fabulous donkey guarding his cattle. My room faces onto my barn and fields and his fields beyond. I sleep with the window cracked so I can (hopefully) be alerted to something amiss. His dogs bark so much that I mostly tune them out. If I hear the donkey bray though, I'm up and looking outside. But he weighs 10 times as much as even an adult goat. Not a good fit. Do you recommend an adult llama? Or do they need to come in as an adolescent in order to bond with the goats? I don't know much about them besides their reputation for being good guards.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2017-05-23 09:44:07 (CST)

Sorry but I have no personal experience with a guard llama. What I know of them is what I observed at a neighbor's. I suspect that one does have to get them quite young so that they feel part of the goat herd. Hope someone else with more knowledge will pipe up. You might also consider googling the question. Also contact a llama owner who will have first hand experience with this.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

hayburner says 2017-05-24 12:20:33 (CST)

I don't know much about llamas but I have heard from several people who know more that llamas and dogs usually don't mix. At a state fair several years ago I noticed that the llamas were pretty calm and interested in people until the dog trials started in a nearby field and then they became quite agitated and aggressive while focusing on the dogs. They might be ok if raised with specific dogs. They would definitely take care of foxes and a lone coyote. Hope to see more responses to this issue.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-05-24 20:34:28 (CST)

I too am contemplating a donkey too to protect my small sheep flock. I have considered a llama, but don't want to shear, trim teeth etc, that a llama will need. They will stomp the heck out of dogs familiar or not. They hate them.
My biggest question is can a miniature donkey protect the sheep, or will they become a victim themselves?
I do know that regular feet trimming is a must etc. I want one that will lead, be nice to my grandchildren and bond with the sheep.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

ldlyford says 2017-05-25 08:43:48 (CST)

llamas can do for you but some things you need to know. first a male that is gelded is best but an intact male will try to breed a goat in heat and suffocate the doe. typically the way they guard is to get the herd in a safe place then check out danger. they herd by swinging their head side to side in a neck down position and the same to scare off preditors (reported to scare off even bears) they can run with dogs but sometimes is a fight for who will do the job. be careful horses take a long time to get used to their being around can really spook the horses and a rodeo can occur.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2017-05-25 20:00:40 (CST)

A miniature donkey is NOT an adequate guard animal. They are too small. You will need minimally a Standard donkey. They won't tolerate dogs either. Any canine-looking animal, from 'coon to coyote, will be attacked and slashed to death. I have seen my sweetest donkey become a killer in the pasture. It is instinctive.

Donkeys do need common equine care such as vaccinations and regular farrier trims for their hooves. You can't have a pet AND a guard all in one, although some of my donkeys did come to me after guard duty. They are inherently sweet and smart animals IF you treat them right. They can be real buggers if you don't.

Although they are equines, donkeys are definitely do NOT act like horses. Where horses are prey animals with a very strong fight or flight response, donkeys are more of a predator in their reaction to other common predators. They do not run but stand there assessing the situation and then act.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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