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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I have 3 ND's and know that there are coyotes in our area, although have had no encounters personally. Even though I have excellent fencing and an electric wire n the top, I live in fear that my goats will fall victim to these predators. I lock them in stalls from dusk until dawn and feel terribly guilty because it adds up to half of their lives that they aren't in the pasture.
I have contemplated guard animals in the past, but haven't reached any conclusions.
I've thought of dogs, donkeys and emus.
Any one have any thoughts or advice? Thanks in advance!!
 

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I absolutely Love my donkeys But regardless of how tame and sweet they are I would not run my goats with them. Donkeys are not guards for other animals, they protect their own space for their own benefits. Any new arrival can end badly. New babies would be seen as something that does not belong. LGD are the only thing actually bred for guard. Even then you need to be selective. Make sure the breeders are reputable and shows them as working dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I absolutely Love my donkeys But regardless of how tame and sweet they are I would not run my goats with them. Donkeys are not guards for other animals, they protect their own space for their own benefits. Any new arrival can end badly. New babies would be seen as something that does not belong. LGD are the only thing actually bred for guard. Even then you need to be selective. Make sure the breeders are reputable and shows them as working dogs.
That's great information. Any thoughts on specific breeds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It won't hurt your goats to be inside as long as they have hay, water, ventilation and room to move around. Some goats never get pasture. They are dry lotted. They live and thrive.
That's good to know. I treat them a little like children, which I know is crazy!!
 

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While I don't own one myself, There are many LGD to choose from. Great Pyrenees Are very popular. Anatolian Shepherd are also very popular. Both these breeds can be over bred, so seeking a well known breeder is best. Maremma and Akbash are nice too. Im sure there are many here who have one of these great breeds and can share insight.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would love insight on the breeds that people have had that have been successful. And I have other questions, for example, do I need a pair of dogs? Do they all bark a lot? Are there breeds that bark less and still do a good job?
Also, has anyone had success with llamas?
 

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I have 2 full sized donkeys. One I rescued (Noel or stella still havent really decided, we call her donkey though), and one I adopted from the wild horse and burro asscociation (we call him decker). Decker is, of course wild, he comes from Arizona and he runs with the cows and Noel/Stella, but He has tried to trample the dogs, cats, and has run off many coyotes and hogs! They are the dream team when it comes to predators! When my cow just recently had her calf, I separated the mamma and calf from everybody until the calf was a week old, and when i let them out, the donkeys were used to her from touching noses through the fence, and just made sure the calf knew not to bug them by a few bites.

There is a man who raises Nigis about 8-10 mins away from me, and his guard animal is a mini donkey. He said he has to introduce the baby goats a certain way because the donkey wont realize they are part of the herd, and she will kill them. Personally, I would NEVER run my goats with a donkey, but that is an opinion, I am just a wimp![/QUOTE]
 

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I love my Great Pyrenees! Maremmas would be my second choice, but as of right now both my LGDs are great pyrs. You don't need to have two unless you have a large herd or large property. They do bark, but it's a deep, booming bark and not an annoying bark, if that makes sense. I really don't mind listening to mine bark because it means they're working and keeping my goats safe! I do wish they'd learn that the neighbor isn't a threat and doesn't need to be barked at when she drives down the road, though! :p

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have 2 full sized donkeys. One I rescued (Noel or stella still havent really decided, we call her donkey though), and one I adopted from the wild horse and burro asscociation (we call him decker). Decker is, of course wild, he comes from Arizona and he runs with the cows and Noel/Stella, but He has tried to trample the dogs, cats, and has run off many coyotes and hogs! They are the dream team when it comes to predators! When my cow just recently had her calf, I separated the mamma and calf from everybody until the calf was a week old, and when i let them out, the donkeys were used to her from touching noses through the fence, and just made sure the calf knew not to bug them by a few bites.

There is a man who raises Nigis about 8-10 mins away from me, and his guard animal is a mini donkey. He said he has to introduce the baby goats a certain way because the donkey wont realize they are part of the herd, and she will kill them. Personally, I would NEVER run my goats with a donkey, but that is an opinion, I am just a wimp!
[/QUOTE]
That's great info, thank you. Any experience with llamas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
T
I love my Great Pyrenees! Maremmas would be my second choice, but as of right now both my LGDs are great pyrs. You don't need to have two unless you have a large herd or large property. They do bark, but it's a deep, booming bark and not an annoying bark, if that makes sense. I really don't mind listening to mine bark because it means they're working and keeping my goats safe! I do wish they'd learn that the neighbor isn't a threat and doesn't need to be barked at when she drives down the road, though! :p

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That's very helpful, to know they aren't constantly barking, only when necessary! I have house dogs that never stop yapping, so I wasn't sure. Do you ever let the dogs in the house, or are they very strictly outdoors?
 

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Do lots of research, different breeds have different characteristics. Some breeds bark more than others, some are more prone to wandering. ALL LGD need training, you cant get a puppy and expect to throw them out with the goats and it work out. In general they are slow maturing and many dogs can not be left unattended with livestock until 18months or two years ago. If you can find one and afford it buying a mature trained dog is your best bet.
Llamas are prey animals, they can be killed right along with the goats if a large predator came into the area.

We have an Anatolian right now, have had Pyrenees in the past. Our current dog is by far the best one we've had, Im looking to add another from the same bloodlines to our herd. He is one of the goats, completely and totally. They curl up together to sleep at night and follow each other everywhere.

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I personally wouldn't invest the time, effort, money, and lifetime care into guard animals for this situation, if you feel very guilty locking them up, maybe consider a really well enforced night pen directly attached to their shed/barn that includes both tall hard fencing, buried some to prevent digging, combined with electric.

Ultimately, it's really about which option makes you FEEL the best since no predator issue has occurred yet.
 

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I was actually surprised you said emus! I was gonna mention them as a possibility as a "guard animal"
There are pros and cons to all LGA, and some are better suited for one person and not for another.

I have heard amazing things about donkeys, but I have also heard just as many bad things. I didn't have a donkey but used to have some mini horses. They were amazing with people but HORRIBLE with goats. They would kick them, bite them, and throw them into the air by their necks. It would get super scary. There was a thread here not too long ago with a kid that was kicked in the head by a(if I remever correctly anyways) donkey. They are amazing guard animals but can be dangerous, especially around small goats.

LGD are amazing, but can be expensive and might not be right for you with just 3 animals. They really don't care about the number they are guarding, but it might not be worth the expense/training for just 3 goats. The average LGD around here cost $400-1000, add about $300-600 per year for food, and then vaccinations/basic care. Assuming you get a pup, it might also sometimes be 2+ years before he is really working. But, they are so amazing and definitely worth it in the end if that's what you decide to do.

Llamas could definitely be a very real option for you. They are not super expensive, usually $300-700(around here) and then about 2-400 for hay per year. They are great guard animals, and I have very rarely heard about them killing/hurting what they are guarding(except goat kids) but it does happen sometimes. I've never owned one so I can't speak on experience though.

Emus! I got my first ever emu last year in april. Unfortunately, he passed away in late november, but it was totally preventable. They are definitely the most cost-friendly on the list. An E-chick is usually $75-200 each, and they eat only about $100-150 in food per year(per bird) They do need protection themselves which it sounds like you have with the fence but are great as a deterrent for most animals(even people:lolgoat:). Mine would hiss at any, and every bird that entered the pen(aside from chickens/ducks) which is great for helping with disease/parasite management. He would also chase cats out. His breeder's pair had killed a fox, skunk, and raccoon before too! Hers live with sheep and she has never had any issue with them harming anyone. If they are a little cautious of the babies she will put the ewe and lambs next to the fence for 1-5 days until he/she calms. They have very powerful legs so even if a predator was to grab(an adult, babies still need a LOT of protection) them, very rarely would they still hold on. They are pretty hardy, good in both warm and cold weather. I have seen one that had been attacked by a dog and had a couple bad wounds and he/she was perfectly fine in about a week. Plus, they are just so cool to have around. They are very docile, many of them like to cuddle and be stroked. He would be a good deterrent but also just a fun animal/pet to be around. They do need a pretty large space to be their happiest(1/2 acre per bird would be minimum to live at their best) and they imprint VERY easily. That was what happened with mine and it ultimately killed him. They also like to eat shiny things including eyeballs. Mine never pecked much, but if he did he would get a headbutt and stopped. I actually just wrote an entire (draft)thread about getting/rasing emus last week. I wasn't going to post it until mid-march when they hatch, but maybe I will post it later.

Al with his goat friends
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Had a Anatolian, loved him.

Now have a Akbash, love him too.

They do bark, it is their job, to guard, that is the alert for predators or unwanted things to go away.

Having 2 does is best.
But you have to have male and female(fixed) if you do not want puppies.
If you have 2 males or 2 females, they may fight.
 

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I'm sorry you lost your Emu. How did him imprinting on you cause the loss? I was thinking of getting donkey's but now that we have 10 new kids running around, I am rethinking it.
It wasn't him imprinting on me. It was imprinting of the goats. If he wasn't with them he would scream and pace the fence back and forth. He would not eat without the goats in with him. I tried every feeder I could possibly make. But the goats would always figure out how to eat from it or would end up walking away and he would leave the food and follow them. There was always food 24/7 in his feeder and I would feed him with a few of the goats everyday too so he at least at something.

In the end, he was just too thin to survive the winter. It got -3 one night and he froze He was not emaciated, but very thin and slightly stunted. I left him alone for a week by himself with food and not once did he eat without a goat there. Even if it was right next to the fence.

I put him with goats the 2nd day I had him, so instead of bonding with me he heavily bonded with them. He still liked me and would eat small bits from my hands, but if the goats weren't in site he would lose it. If you do get one, I would make sure to not put him/her with the goats too early. Keep it inside to imprint on you for a few weeks and then introduce to the goats slowly.
 
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