The Goat Spot Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so I have 14 Nigerian Dwaves and need a guardian. They are currently up by my house with electric wire and are protected. They will very soon be moved to the larger pastures (several acres in each). I can see the enitre pastures from my house. One pasture for bucks (4), one for the does (10). Should I get mini donkeys or pyrenees? Keep in mind I currently have 5 dogs, 3 inside, 2 outside (but definitely not guardians). Any info will help! Thanks!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
59,800 Posts
You will have to figure out what will best suit your farm. I would look into the care of each animal. Make sure the donkey is actually a guard animal. Not all donkeys will guard. Also make sure that they will like goats. My experience is with guard llamas and they did a great job. I really liked having at least 2 guard llamas so one would herd the group back to the barn and the other one would stand down the threat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was considering llamas as well, there are so many different options...I'm leaning towards the Pyrenees. I have a lot of money in my NDs and want the best protection. Pyrenees are easier to find here, SW Georgia area. No guard llamas and as far as mini donkeys go, the only ones for sale are older and male. If I go with the GP, which are better, males or females? Like I stated earlier, I have 2 outside dogs, both male & fixed. One is my huge Rotti that says in his 100 ft x 50 ft pen and the other is a bulldog mix (stray that we took in) and he guards the free-range chickens very well. The bulldog mix (Oscar) loves to play and so far has not even cared about the goats or any animal on our farm but runs the fence line at night and barks...a lot. I just don't completely trust him to run with the goats and I'm afraid if I get 2 Pyrenees he'll just try to play with them. Anyone had any experience with their personal dogs messing up their LGDs job?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,546 Posts
There are pros and cons to each. I've found llamas with natural guarding ability that have been raised up with goats can make excellent guards. Just make sure to take your time with whatever guardian(s) you choose, ask lots of questions, and research research research! A LGD puppy will need a lot of training. And you really have to look around for a responsible, good breeder. A donkey or llama is a bit easier to get going with the goats since they're not a predator, but you still have to shop around for the perfect one. Donkeys can actually be very dangerous in with the goats so you'll want to be sure it's an actual guardian animal...some just are not cut out for the job and that goes for dogs or llamas as well. Each guard animal is different, each is an individual and need to be treated as such.

I have three guard llamas and they really have been wonderful with the goats and I haven't had any predator attacks with the llamas in the pen. We have a lot of coyotes especially around here.
 

·
Raising Nigerian Dwarf DAIRY Goats, registered wit
Joined
·
3,746 Posts
I WOULD DEFINITELY choose the pyrenees. They are much better than donkeys. We have 2 mini donkeys and all they want to do with the goats is play/chase/nip/kick. Gp's are better because mini donks are just more prey for predators. You would need a standard that's been raised with the goats.gps are also more affective. You would need more than 1 pyrenees though. I would prefer males because of their large size. If you do choose donkeys you would need a standard or large standard that is at least 46 in

Hope I can help you!!!!

Caden www.cadeslilfarm.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,517 Posts
I agree with Kylee....dogs need training..rep. breeders..not all are suited for guarding, and youhave to feed them a different diet...Mini donkeys can not fend off pack of dogs but are gentle..we have three and they allow our kid goats to jump and play on them..so again..good breeding, is important..but I have always read a gelded llama are great...I like the idea of two..one to proctect while the other herds the goats to safty..plus both donkey and llama eat the same diet..with both male donkeys and LLama they need to be gelded....a Jack will kill anything smaller than him..a standerd is better than a mini and one is better than two in this case..he will bond with the goats and give his life for them...but again..he needs to have Guard in his blood..not any ol' donkey will do...Ihave a Standard Jenny with our sheep...when we go out to check fences or anything she putsherself between us and the herd..and just watches...and she knows us lol..so I imagine a stranger or strange dog would be in trouble lol
 

·
Junior Member
Joined
·
27 Posts
We rescued two GP's last August. They were pups at 8 and 10 months that someone evidently dumped off at the side of the road. We can only guess they didnt realize the cute balls of fur would get to be so big. We had an increase in stray dogs plus coyotes in the area and were willing to take the gamble that their natural instincts would come out for guarding. We had considered donkeys but after hearing about mean jacks and their temperaments I was a bit worried plus our fencing isn't adequate enough other than the night pen we use to lock the girls up in at night. Definitely do your research and keep an open mind. We went to several folks with experience with GP's with varying ideas. I have learned a male and a female work well together; my girl is the older one and if I can get a picture posted you can see she is a little bit smaller than the male but not by that much. Since I rescued them, we were expected to have them fixed which we did. Introductions to the goats for us was a two week process in which we kept the girls locked up in the night pen and did increasing introductions. We have also successfully introduced a new sheep to the herd this past April. We know we were very lucky with the way we acquired our guardians but it has given us great relief. Yes, they bark but it has become music to my ears. We haven't seen any stray dogs nor heard coyotes running through the farms behind us. Good luck with whatever guardian you choose. They are well worth the investment. And, we don't lock our girls up in the night pen anymore.
 

·
Junior Member
Joined
·
27 Posts
I couldn't figure out if the picture of Fred and Ginger (my Pyrs) would actually load so I used them for my profile pic instead! Ginger is to the left; Fred is on the right. Again, good luck in your decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies and info! Since guard llamas are rare around here and if you do find one they're very expensive. We're going to try and find an adult Great Pyrenees female that is already experienced and a male puppy for her to train. I think that will be the best for us and our goats. We do have alot of coyotes and stray dogs the like to wonder around our land. Thanks again!!
 

·
The farm that Hope began
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
I saw a donkey pick up a goat and sling it across the pasture.

Never again considered them for guarding duty, that's for sure!

Our two GPs do a great job.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
43 Posts
I wouldn't discount a donkey simply because one individual did not work out. There are many cases of LGD which also turn on and kill the animals that they are supposed to protect, so you can't make any generalizations. Not all llamas are good protectors either. If you go just with what is convenient to get rather than what might work best, you might be sorry.

Your situation with your other dogs may be a problem. Some LGD do not learn to distinguish between the owner's other dogs and those that do not belong. Some are also very difficult to accept strangers. That includes a farm sitter, relative or neighbor who might have to take care of your animals if you ever go away. The donkey and the llama can eat what the goats do, making chores easier, and they need similar vaccinations and health care. With the dog, it's one more seperate animal to care for. A mini donkey might as well just be another goat, as far as protection and succeptibility to predators. You need at least a Standard, and they are usually cheaper. Many sources say that a single llama or donkey work better, being more likely to bond with the herd than with each other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
I personally would go with Pyrenees. I had a mini donkey who was totally fine with the goats for about three months and then he just turned on them. He picked up my hundred pound whether by the neck and swung him around. I happened again and he really injured the whethers leg. I think it is male donkeys that really hurt the donkeys, mine was a gelding, but I do not trust them as guardians. Sounds like you already decided though. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Personally, I am a huge fan of guardian dogs. Since you are leaning that way I will give you some things to watch for though. Starting with an adult dog is great, and will make training a pup much easier (they will help train you as well). If you find one, be prepared to ask tough questions. Why is it being sold? What kind of livestock is it bonded to? (most will go between sheep and goats pretty easy, but a guardian dog is still a dog... mine will guard the goats with their life, but won't think twice about grabbing a chicken for lunch). Has it been around household pets? Have it, or it's parents hips ever been x-rayed? Has it received proper regular health care?

The last two are big ones. Whether your getting a pup or a full grown dog, you want to know that it originated from a reputable breeder, and IMO any reputable breeder of giant dogs will not breed unless both dogs have passed OFA certification. The man I got my two females from did not do this, and I've noticed that in her old age, my matriarch is showing clear signs of hip displacia. This will ultimately end her career prematurely, but worse yet, I know she has many litters of puppies out there who also have a high probability of suffering the same fate.

All too often I see unvaccinated LGDs that are denied any treatment. With pups, this puts you at risk of puppyhood sicknesses. With bigger dogs, heartworm becomes an issue. I just finished treating two dogs who came from an operation where they weren't given routine healthcare for heartworm. It's a costly proposition, and while both my dogs survived the treatment, many do not.

Sorry if I sounded overly cautionary. LGDs are rewarding and comforting animals to have in your pastures. Just make sure you take the time to find the right dogs for you and your operation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Donkeys bite.Our mini donkey who has been with all ages of goats his whole life almost killed my doeling by grabbing a hold of her neck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,517 Posts
I have three mini and one standard donkies..all are great with my goats and sheep..even let the babies ride and jump on them...but even so they need to be trained..cant just throw any old donkey in the pen..but its the same with dogs..
 

·
Goat Girl
Joined
·
2,018 Posts
Donkeys can be really good guard animals. Our neighbor has two standard donkeys in with his horses and they are constantly patrolling the pasture. If they see anything that is new they will check it out. John donkeys are the best though, jacks only have one thing on their mind and jennies can be good but are also a bit temperamental (especially when in heat). Just like anything there are good and bad apples. Not all LGD's are good protectors either. I have heard of some that just snapped and killed the people's goats/sheep overnight. I have never had one, so can't really judge them. There are many people who swear by a good LGD, and have had dogs that protected their goats from being killed by a predator.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,546 Posts
Donkeys bite.Our mini donkey who has been with all ages of goats his whole life almost killed my doeling by grabbing a hold of her neck
That's a bit of a blanket statement to say "donkeys bite." Not the norm. Many of them are actually quite gentle and make good companions for people and animals. That's like saying dogs bite...well yes some do bite and they CAN bite...but not every dog bites. Each livestock guardian should be treated as an individual. They won't all act the same...some will make much better guards than others.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top