Four-legged, Woolly Shepherds

They can’t play harps or write psalms, but alpacas and llamas (very closely related) are the latest thing in livestock protection. I’d never heard of it until last night.

These South American relatives of the camel will guard sheep, goats, calves, chickens, and ducks from predators like foxes, feral dogs, and dingoes. They not only protect the livestock; they also bond with the animals they’re guarding. And they have such nice, sweet faces.

For a thorough discussion of this intriguing innovation in farming, visit the Glenhope Alpacas website (http://glenhopealpacas.com.au/alpacas-for-sale/herd-guards-for-sale/)

Okay, living here in the suburbs, you don’t always know about things that rural people take for granted. Susan, my editor, knows people who keep llamas or alpacas to scare off the coyotes. Around here, Democrats paved over all the farms. We may someday get coyotes, but we’ll never get sheep unless they can find a way to browse off parking meters.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

12 responses to “Four-legged, Woolly Shepherds

  • UnKnowable

    I never knew that they were effective guard animals, but it was obvious that they are very protective towards sheep.

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  • Linda Sorci

    Now that’s about as precious as it gets! That alpaca snuggling the baby lamb was nothing short of incredibly heartwarming.

    Like Unknowable, we could use a few alpacas here too since lately there has been an uptick in the coyote population – even going into people’s yards and grabbing family pets.

    Thanks for this, Lee. Quite a few awwww’s on this one 🙂

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    • UnKnowable

      I know someone that lost a small dog that way. They chill my blood to see when they are in proximity to humans. Farther out, they are just an interesting wild animal. My office faces a large open space and I see a lot of wildlife. One day I saw a coyote running like the Devil was chasing him. A second later, three domestic dogs ran in the same direction, hot on its tail. I never heard a fight, so I assume the coyote escaped, but what a little drama.

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      • leeduigon

        My friends in Virginia tell me coyotes are becoming quite a problem there, and some farmers have already acquired llamas or alpacas to guard their livestock.

        When I was young, if you wanted to see a coyote out here in the East, you had to go to the zoo. I wonder what has made them extend their range eastward. Shades of Bell Mountain.

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    • leeduigon

      We watched an episode of “Doc Martin” last night in which a farmer’s alpaca was stolen. She’d bought it to guard her sheep. After the show, we read up on the subject of guard llamas. Never heard of it before, but farmers who use them are really sold on them.

      Like

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