Llamas and Chickens ?

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Llamas and Chickens ?

Post  zena on Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:03 pm

Hello,

I have been in discussion with a local free range chicken egg farmer to use my 2 gelded boys as a fox deterrent, as they are losing from 40 - 100 chickens a week. Although they are not "guard llamas" and to my knowledge have no experience with poultry. I have done some reading on the matter and it appears that there are varying results. The boys would not be in the chicken’s enclosure but rather would "patrol" a section of the farm that is believed to be the weak point in the farms defences - this would be a frontage of about 3 acres. Before I commit, I wanted to ask other members what there experiences where. Also despite being 2 different species are there potential parasites or diseases that can cross over between the two, that I need to be aware of?

Thanks…

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Llamas and chickens

Post  vicki woodward on Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:40 am

That's a lot of hens to be losing each week! We keep chickens and have llamas in the adjoining field, we did lose some chickens to Mr Fox last winter but it was when the llamas were not nearby (in a different paddock) we also lost some when the llamas were in the adjoining paddock BUT the llamas were females and had cria at foot, so no doubt the herd would look after their own rather than the chickens. Two of our boys are very good at 'guarding', and I know our stud Pepsi used to guard a nest of goslings for his previous owners!!
Not sure about disease/parasite transfer - I'm sure I've read somewhere that chickens can help to keep the worm count down in llamas as they peck at the dung and eat the worm eggs - not sure how true that is!
Hope this is of some help!
Vicki
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Llamas and chickens?

Post  SueSomerville on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:46 pm

Zena, I would be interested to hear what you decided to do about using your llamas as chicken guarders and the results if you decided to go ahead? In my experience they are absolutely useless in protecting fowl:-( I have seen my llamas watching the fox snatch the hens from under their noses (and mine) ... their interested curiosity was there but there was no question of them doing anything about it. Even with me screeching my head off at the fox like some demented fish wife, the llamas continued their interest in what was going on but that was all. I've seen the fox lying in the meadow in summer like a dog with just the ears and head visible and the llamas happily grazing nearby. My hens can get into the llama paddocks but not vica versa but when I let the llamas into the hen paddock to keep the grass down, the llamas kick up their heels and 'go' for the hens sending them scattering into the undergrowth ... you can see their sense of 'whoopee' but no sense of protection. Sorry!

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Re: Llamas and Chickens ?

Post  mlonghurst on Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:57 pm

There is a quite common misconception that all llamas will make a good guardians and this is not the case in real life. Some llamas have a natural instinct to charge and attack dogs and dog like creatures, however some are so laid back that they will quite happily stand and watch a dog run all round their legs (and the legs of other llamas). We have had some llamas that would quite happily chase sheep around the field all day long if you let them. At other times behaviour may change with circumstances, we have a female who will happily watch our 5 dogs run all over the field, that is until she has a cria with her and then she will attack any dog that enters the field she is in.

Guard llamas need to be evaluated for suitability for quite a long period of time and also with the type of animals that they are intended to protect. It is no use putting a llamas with chickens if it is only brilliant at protecting sheep.

Hope this helps.

Rgds, Mike L

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Injured chicken

Post  CateM on Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:14 pm

This won't be an issue when the poultry and llamas are separate, but I'm mentioning it because it has been for me today and I wouldn't like anyone else to have the same problem. I have llamas who are supposed to be guarding my poultry in the meadow where they graze together and they have been very vigilant up until now. They have been quite different since their new cria was born a month ago, however and today one of them kicked and broke the neck of my lovely speckledy hen, who is unlikely to survive the assault.
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Llama's and Chickens

Post  zena on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:29 pm

Unfortunately the llama / chicken protector experiment has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.
I can see that many of you have had both good and bad experiences with this combination, and it has been good to hear your stories.

If circumstances change, I will let you know what the outcome is, but for now I can’t add to your experiences.

Thanks all.

Cate M – I hope your chicken is ok?



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Chicken

Post  CateM on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:52 pm

Zena,

Sadly the chicken died. On a positive note, however, there have not been any foxes in the llamas' field whereas there have been in the field on the other side of the farm where there are no llamas.

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Re: Llamas and Chickens ?

Post  Tim Crowfoot on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:59 pm

A rather mixed story.

The use of llamas for guarding other flocks has been going on for some time. In the states they are used to guard sheep against coyotes where predation reates have gone down from about 30% per year to less than 5%.

However one does need to choose ones llama carefully, as has been said, since not all llamas will guard. The best llamas to choose are males and if they are to be put with sheep then a gelded one is best lest he gets the wrong idea! This is because you should only use a single llama, by itself, for guarding. If you have more than one then the llamas will tend to form a small herd of their own and be less interested in other animals. By themselves they will bond with the sheep and, yes, even with fowl! This could be one of the reasons that some of the other respondents have had mixed success.

I have heard one tale recently where a llama had been guarding a flock of sheep very successfully for years. The farmers circumstances changed and he sold off the sheep keeping the llama. Sadly the llama missed his companions so much that he retreated disconsolately to a corner of his field, lay down and wasted away. A sad end for a stalwart guardian. Sad


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Re: Llamas and Chickens ?

Post  Tatum hills on Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:56 am

Reviving this old thread as I am considering using but 4 male llamas as fox guards/ deterrent for my chickens.

My large and so-far-secure chicken enclosure is in one of the llama paddocks. 4 llamas reside there, 2 geldings and 2 entire. The paddock is pretty big so if the llamas are on the opposite side I don't think they can do much to a fox.

I was thinking fencing off a small area around the chickens for the llamas to sleep in.

Would they react to a fox? One of them is pretty guards but is only 2.

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