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RE Alpacas as guards (Read 823 times)
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Posts: 557
RE Alpacas as guards
May 2nd, 2012, 5:23pm
Hi All,
Well I am reading my copy of the World of Alpacas, which is always a great read.  I read with interest an article on alpacas as guards.  It was very interesting and well written but it did give the impression that alpacas can stop dog attacks and keep dogs away and here I had a problem.  Alpacas make wonderful guards against FOXES - one of the biggest problems facing sheep, goat and chook producers - the other major problem is dogs and quite a different problem altogether.  If anyone thinks that alpacas stand a chance against dogs either domesticated or wild, bigger than a fox, then all they have to do is talk to an alpaca owner that has suffered the horrific consequences of a dog attack.  
We (as an example) had a series of days when a neighbours dog (single) came into the paddock.  They were told but kept saying it was not their dog.  The last time another neighbour (Max) had to stand between this dog (theirs) and a herd of pregnant females (about 40) until help arrived. The dog was going mad - barking and snapping.   Most of the pregnancies were lost and the herd had to be moved to another property. The neighbours removed the dog from their property (they said it was destroyed). Max had already suffered substantial losses to his sheep operation over the years from dog attacks and could see the danger the alpacas were in and did his best to keep the dog from attacking. A very dangerous situation to be in.
Now when 2 of more dogs get together they form a pack - physically and  mentality and this is where it becomes extremely dangerous for other animals and people.  Especially if they are a large breed.  The results can be fatal.
So I just want to point out these facts
Alpacas (try to have 2 per small herd) can decrease losses of lambs or kids taken by FOXES and I am sure that someone can add more information here with actual situations that they have encountered.
Alpacas are excellent guardians against FOXES for poultry
Alpacas CANNOT defend themselves against large marauding dogs/ packs - they will try their best but it is  an impossible ask of anyone.
I just want to make this clear and try to ensure that people have a reasonable expectation of the abilities of alpacas.  Alpacas are used to guard against losses from FOXES and this is a very valuable resource for any producer of sheep, goats or poultry.
If anyone is interested they may wish to check out the posting on the Livestock Health and Pest Authority and the situation on wild and domesticated dogs and make a submission before it is too late.
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