Livestock can be prey for predators, such as Poachers, Coyotes, Dogs, Wolves, Bears, Mountain Lions, Lynx,
Mink, Raccoons, etc. Trying to kill off all the predators is bad for the environment, impractical and illogical.
A livestock guardian is a practical way to guard your livestock 24 / 7 and deals only with the actual predators
on your farm.
We use a combination of a burro and a Great Pyrenees Dog. The combination works well, and we’ve had
no predation since we’ve had the combination. Our main predators are coyotes. Great Pyrenees were bred to guard
against Mountain Lions and Wolves. To them, a Coyote is a snack. Our dog has killed at least three coyotes that
I know of, and I’ve heard her fight more than that.
A dog will work as an offensive guard, and actually seek out
and attack a predator. A burro will act as a defensive guard. They have a higher point of view for their visual field,
so can see danger sooner. They then round up and warn the other animals, when danger is near, and will also attack
if pursued. Llamas can work well in this niche too. From what I’ve heard, if you are going to use a burro, it should
be a single burro, so that it bonds with your flock, otherwise the burros will form their own group and ignore the
You might prefer females as Livestock Guardians or castrated males. Intact male Livestock Guardians might
interfere with the normal mating of your livestock.Another thing to watch for is behavior. Just because an animal is of a
particular breed X, doesn't mean that it it will perform in a standard fashion. Some dogs, although working well with adult
sheep might be a bit too much part of the flock and be too nosy when the ewe is lambing. This can interfere with the ewe
bonding with the lamb such that the ewe can, in a worst case scenario, abandon it. This appears to only be a risk during the
first 2-3 days after a lamb is born, so if lambs disappear or just don't seem to ever be born, don't assume that it's
necessarily hawks or coyotes. It might be the trusted dog in sheep's clothing.
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