We have 3 Llamas and one pyrenees/maremma cross sheep dog guarding our flock. When we initially started out with sheep, we acquired 2 llamas to guard the sheep. This worked really well in combination with our fencing. In recent years, the coyotes have mastered jumping and clearing the fences with what seemed like very little effort. It’s as if there is a new form of a hybrid coyote out there. The llamas are intelligent and have very good eyesight. They will let out a warning screech when they spot a coyote and at times have even chased the sheep home. I have seen the llamas position themselves between the coyote and the flock or stand guard at the fence line. However,I had become complacent and over confident in my fencing to the point I didn’t lock the sheep up at night. Sometimes the sheep didn’t come all the way home at night, or, if they did, they would head out very early in the morning. I learned the hard way and lost 8 sheep one summer. Now I lock the sheep up every night. The llamas we originally acquired weren’t working out as good as I thought they would. Our more recent llamas came from a farm with sheep and they seem to be better guards.
In 2020, we acquired our sheep dog “Boaz” and we are noticing a difference in keeping the coyotes out. He is busy at night and usually sleeps during the day. The llamas guard by day and if they spot a threat in the distance, they let out their warning screech and this alerts our sheep dog to the threat.
We separate the llamas during lambing season. As you can see below, they won’t mind their own business. When the sheep are sorted after weaning, we also separate the llamas so they each have their own flock. It has been suggested that they are more protective this way as opposed to being together. We only have female Llamas.
Our property consists mostly of bush and grass which was subdivided off a quarter section of grain land. Since there was no infrastructure in place when we purchased the property and the existing infrastructure was too broken down; we started with new fencing. Starting with only 6 sheep allowed us to start with a little bit of fencing at a time. This also gave us the opportunity to see what worked and what didn’t work on a trial and error basis allowing us to tweak our fencing requirements to our needs. Over the years, we increased our perimeter fencing and cross-fencing to incorporate more grass for the sheep. The perimeter fencing costs a lot up front but has proven to be very effective. A single strand of barbed wire running along the bottom of the fence on the exterior side has kept the coyotes from trying to dig underneath. This gave us peace of mind for many years when the sheep were grazing further away from the yard and are out of site. Beware of snow drifts that can build up along the fence line. This usually happens in late winter when the snow pack gets hard making it easy for the coyotes to cross over. We learned the hard way as this happened to us when we first had sheep and we ended up loosing one of our sheep.
Boaz our guard dog, hanging with his flock (llamas in the background)