- Add guardian animals to your herd dynamics.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Alpaca Protection & Guardians
Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) doesn’t track the number of alpacas and llamas that die each year, it does keep track of how many
sheep and goats die and the causes of death. The agency periodically publishes findings in a report titled Sheep and Goats Death Loss. According to the May 6, 2005, edition, predators killed 155,000 goats during 2004, accounting for slightly more than 37% of all goats that died in the U.S. that year. Sheep figures are just as astounding: predators killed 225,000 sheep during 2004 (also totaling 37% of total losses). Small ruminants (sheep and goats combined) were killed mainly by coyotes (60%), dogs, mountain lions, bears, foxes, eagles, bobcats, and other species – such as wolves, ravens and black vultures. Keeping in mind that alpacas, adults and crias alike, are the same size or smaller than most goats and sheep, you’ll agree that predation is a potentially serious problem, even in relatively populated areas, where free-roaming dog predation poses a major risk. U.S.
To protect your herd, you should:
Dogs as Guardians
In addition, one dog can’t effectively protect livestock from attacks by large packs of dogs or coyotes nor from predators such as mountain lions. Because we live in a mountainous area, we opted to utilize Turkish Anatolians, as they are one of the only breeds that can athletically fight a mountain lion. Our female, Cookie, has taken on 4 over the years. A pair of Anatolians can take on 1,000 acres effectively. Where heavy-duty predators are the norm, a pair or trio of dogs works best – one to herd your alpacas to safety while the others deal with the invaders themselves.