FarmLife: Thoughts On Animals, Stewardship, & Farm Culture
Saturday, May 14, 2011
A COYOTE in our backyard...do I need a guard dog?
Cierra at Carol's for breeding
Fifteen years ago, before llamas, we saw a coyote in our back yard. In the upper pasture, actually. Initially, I thought it was a stray German Shepherd Dog, but it wasn't. Tail always tells. More recently, we knew coyotes were in our neighborhood, visiting a local breeder of sled dogs. Last night, one was literally outside our back door, running so close to our llamas.
The new herd alpha
I'm always afraid of predators and fearful for my llamas. My breeder, Carol Reigh, tells me not to worry. Even with a herd of 7, my llamas can take care of themselves. No need for a guard dog with two guard llamas. My oldest llama, Miss Cierra, is herd guardian, but Tess, a three-year old, is also vigilant. Perhaps moreso than Cierra, who is aging at 15. But when I was perusing YouTube for an addition to PLAA and GALA's Facebook pages, I came across this video. Disclaimer: I do not condone any kind of violence, but I never knew how llamas defend and always wondered how they would deal with a predator. Finding this video gave me a more restful sleep. So does my electrified fence.
A year ago; so MUCH bigger now
Although I am always alert to intruders via our dog, Allie, I feel better knowing that I have a few really large llamas. Et Cetera is one huge girl, and given another 27 pounds (not hoping for this), she'll rival the one large male I heard about at GALA 2010 for largest llama. She is gentle to a fault, and timid, making handling her easy. A good thing, considering she is as large as most horses. But I do get a sense of comfort knowing she's in my herd, because combining the 6 adults, I'm betting they're capable of protecting our eight-month old Golden.