Friday, September 2, 2016

Drama Queens


Yet another llama update from me, FB! This morning, I let Caterina outside again, and this time I made sure that the perimeter fence in the area where I had her was hot. See, the other day when I lost her, the cows were on the hayfield, and I had fixed the fence so that it was only hot in that section to make it super secure, as the hayfield is adjacent to the road. Anyway, although Caterina did not stay with the sheep, she stayed inside the fence!!! Great improvement! 

I was able to go get her at about noon and put her back in the barn with the sheep during the hot part of the day. Then this afternoon at five o’clock, I let Caterina outside with the sheep again, and wonders of wonders, she grazed for three hours right alongside of the sheep!!! Oh happy day!! Tonight, they are all safely in the barn resting. 

Now, to answer Shelley’s question about how llamas and livestock guardian dogs protect livestock from predators….Well different livestock guardian dog breeds have different methods, as do, of course, individual dogs. Bess is a Maremma, and Maremmas mostly just try to protect through bluffing! They bark in a ferocious manner, and if they see a predator, their ruff sticks up like a lion’s mane, and they charge the predator. They look very big and scary, and usually that will be enough to make the predator run away. Supposedly, if push comes to shove, they will escalate their tactics as needed, even killing predators. 

Of course, Bess is not fully mature yet, and I don’t know if she would really attack a coyote, although she is certainly good at looking particularly fierce. All I care about is that she does not get hurt because I love her!!!!!! 

Now again with llamas, their tactics can differ with different llamas, as I understand it. What I notice about Caterina is that she always seems to be on red alert and is constantly scanning around for anything unusual. I think that her large size (she is taller than me) and unusual appearance would be enough to terrify a coyote, at least I hope it would be. Llamas most likely would not be effective in protecting the sheep against a pack of dogs or coyotes, but I feel that that is highly unlikely to happen in the daytime. I have only seen single coyotes in the day. 

Apparently, some super guard llamas will charge at coyotes and even try to stomp them. Good guard llamas will also get between the predator and the sheep. I think Caterina is going to be great at protecting my sheep while they are grazing during the day, and Bess will continue to let all predators know that they better stay away from our farm. Of course, if you asked the border collies to take care of security, they would install land mines around the perimeter and hire a bunch of guys to patrol the farm with assault rifles! Therefore, I am going to keep the border collies in charge of herding and take the more peaceful approach!


  1. It has been so interesting reading about Caterina. Glad your patience is paying off in getting your llama settled with your farm and the sheep so Bess has a back-up guardian against the coyotes.

  2. That's a happy update. BCs would also install infrared cameras and alarms!

  3. Love your update! I came across a flock of sheep in Wyoming one time that was being guarded by about ten large white dogs. No people or other dogs in sight, but the sheepherders wagon was nearby. We slowed down as we drove past and were immediately challenged by a large male, and the others were on alert. We kept driving.

  4. Thank you, FB, for your update. Your concern for your animals' wellbeing is obvious. I hope that Caterina continues to improve and become a member of your flock. Thank you for taking her welfare seriously.

    Marty in NC

  5. Oh don't worry; I definitely want Caterina to be happy and safe! Today I saw her rolling around in the field. I was at first scared that she was dying of some weird llama ailment, (remember, sheep and cattle do NOT roll around for fun!) but when I checked on Google, they said llamas love to roll around! I think Caterina is deciding that this is a fun place to be! Thank you for your concern. Any llama care tips are always appreciated.