The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Camelids => Topic started by: jacob and Georgina on July 09, 2010, 10:32:06 pm

Title: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: jacob and Georgina on July 09, 2010, 10:32:06 pm
hi everyone. I am going to be getting some sheep sometime in the future and would obviously like to have lambs. My mother in law would also love a couple of alpacas, i have read several times that alpacas are good as gaurds to protect the lams from foxes?? is this exactly true and it is the same with all alpacas??
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: Roxy on July 09, 2010, 11:31:04 pm
I do believe alpacas make good guards of livestock.  I do not have any myself, but do own an intact Male llama called Robbie.  And he is definitely good at protecting livestock.  He knows exactly what should be in the field, goats, sheep, small pony, and hens.  Any new animal and he is straight there to chase it away.  Once its dark, he goes up and down the wall near the hen sheds, keeping an eye out, and I have seen him in action when the fox came round one night, so can vouch that he will protect "his" property.
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: lazybee on July 10, 2010, 10:00:36 am
In my village in France there is a large free range duck farm, They have two donkeys in the field with them to guard against foxes and dogs. I have a donkey in with my horses and he regularly "sees off" my dogs. You could also drive a donk as I do. My neighbour Has Alpacas and to be honest they don't really do anything and certainly don't earn their keep. Go on get a know you want to ;D ;D
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: kaz on July 10, 2010, 01:56:44 pm
Have alpacas, and they do guard the sheep. Just don't have a lone male as he will think anything is game.
Have very little trouble with foxes , which we should, as completely surrounded by forest, as long as they are near enough to poultry.
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: Anke on July 10, 2010, 09:38:40 pm
A bit expensive as fox guards I would think... young lambs are safe if brought in at night during the first few weeks (if foxes are a problem), and hens/poultry are well protected with electric netting.

You would probably need two alpacas at least, and even castrated males are a few hundred pounds... and they need clipping, foot care and get TB (or bring it with them).
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: kaz on July 11, 2010, 02:20:01 pm
My alpacas have just cost me £17 to shear, trim feet , trim teeth, blue tongue, worm apply pour on etc. each which is only done once a year.

They are more of a livestyle animal, if you want them good, as they will protect lambs and can be extremely nice to have around as they are very nosey.

I agree that lambs can be brought in at night, but I keep mine in anyway for the first week of their life when they are most prone to fox attack.
As to TB, that's anyones guess if an animal is going to get that.

As to the price, shop around as castrated males are of course cheaper than anything else, if you want some go for it. I did and have never regretted it. I am just going to take on another one on loan to help someone out.
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: Roxy on July 11, 2010, 02:34:10 pm
Being in an area where TB has become apparant just lately, after being all clear for many years, I have spoken to vets about my concerns.  He said cattle are the likely ones to catch it, and goats are prone, but not as much as cattle.  And yes, alpacas and llama too.  But, he said the likelyhood of my animals having it are remote.  They are in well fenced enclosures, and although we have badgers in the fields by the house, I have never seen signs where the llama and goats are. The llama would definitely see any badger off anyway.
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: BrookfieldFarm on July 12, 2010, 07:24:16 pm
I agree with all the above. We keep llamas and we don't have a problem with foxes. I have heard that llamas are better as guards than alpacas as they tend to be a little more aggressive and obviously a lot bigger. Llamas are cheaper then their camelid relatives and you will also find them complementary grazers to the sheep.
As regards to the T.B, if you were really that worried about it, you can ask for a blood test to be done on the animals you were going to bring in. However even this is not 100% conclusive. And as the government arent doing compulsary testing on camelids anyway, I don't think it's a huge worry.
Hope this helps and you enjoy keeping sheep (+ llamas/alpacas)!
Title: Re: alpacas as gaurds
Post by: Anke on July 13, 2010, 09:29:52 pm
Exactly as the government is NOT doing compulsary testing (and that's only because they are not classed a farm, but as zoo animals) animals moving between holdings can very easily spread bovine TB to cattle and goats (and incidentally to sheep too). And with the current test not being very reliable there is quite a staggering amount of complacency around, I have heard of alpaca owners refusing to have sick animals put down (and they can, as government cannot force them to do so).