Livestock Guardian Animals

Livestock Guard Dogs

image86

The Great Pyrenees Club of America states;  "There are basically two ways in which Pyrenees are utilized as protectors of stock. The first is what we call an all-purpose "Ranch or Farm Dog." This is a dog that lives on a farm, usually in the proximity of the farmyard and ranch house. He is part pet, part guard dog. He takes care of the ranch, the family, and the stock that is usually pastured close to the house. 


The other Pyrenees is what we call a "Livestock Guardian Dog." The Livestock Guardian dog is not a pet, and he is not allowed access to the farmyard or to the house. His sole duty is to protect the stock, in some cases on large isolated pastures or ranges. Both types are a working part of the stock operation and function as such. Pyrenees have been known to increase their territory and may also protect stock belonging to adjoining neighbors pastures. The breed performs admirably in either of these situations."

The Great Pyrenees

image87

We employed a Great Pyrenees dog to protect our little flock.  I did a lot of research into what breed of Livestock Guardian Dog we would get.  The farm where we bought our first Babydolls from had an Akbash.  Bad first impression, I didn't like him.  The look and loyalty of the Maremma is what sold me on this breed.  Despite what I read, he was a great family dog AS WELL AS a great protector.  And his size was remarkable!


Bruce lived with the sheep from the time he was 8 weeks old.  We sometimes had him out with us in the yard, though the downfall of this breed is that they think they need to protect and monitor all of the land they can see.  He would get out of the fencing sometimes though would always return back home.  I know he gave a few neighbours a good scare when he was out on patrol!


Our beloved Bruce passed away in August 2018.

Donkeys and Llamas - oh my!

image88

Other animals that can be used as Livestock Guardian Animals are donkeys and llamas. 


We have had miniature donkeys as well as alpacas.  Each are a smaller version of the aforementioned guardian animals above.


Something to keep in mind, which was a consideration for us, is the feed and diet of each animal you employ.  The donkeys and llamas and alpacas all eat hay.  The mineral requirements of thee animals vary slightly to what is allowable for sheep however.  Sheep cannot have copper, so they get a copper-free mineral.


When we housed the mini donkeys in the barn, they started eating the posts.  To deter them, we put hot sauce on the posts.  They ate them even quicker!  


Turns out donkeys - well these 2 anyway, had a taste for things spicy!