Guarding your sheep from predators is a natural
concern for most shepherds. Depending upon the size of the local predator
problem, there are several options for providing protection to your flock.
On our farm we use Guard Llamas that were raised around sheep. They
are very in tune with "their" sheep and get quite upset when anything
unusual is going on. I saw a coyote run along the fence line to the back
woods one day and the guard llama began bucking and running and got
extremely agitated. There was a field fire north of us another time and again,
he acted the same way, and then he stood sentry watching the smoke in the
distance until things had calmed down. When strangers are on the farm, he is
acutely aware of them and often paces and keeps an eye on what is
happening around his "girls." We don't have a big problem with predators,
but there are coyotes around and I sleep better knowing our guard llamas are
with the flocks. One of the advantages to using a guard llama is that they eat
the same things the sheep do, so are very easy to keep in the flock and their
fiber can be harvested to use. Make sure that a male llama has been neutered
(intact males may mount ewes).
We have herding dogs, and the llamas are very accepting of the farm dogs
that belong here. At right you can see Kuzko and Kyssa having a "face to
We know some shepherds who choose a Guard Donkey. We did try to use
guard donkeys with our flock, but they chased the sheep away from the
hay feeders, so we had to give up on using them as guards. They do
however chase the dogs out of the pasture they are in and I have no doubt
they would do the same with coyotes.
Some farms use Guard Dogs, but before making that decision please be
sure to do your homework. There is a lot involved in raising a guard dog and
making sure it sees its sheep as something to protect rather than predate.
One popular breed of guard dog is the Great Pyrenees.