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Guard animals are an increasing trend among American farms, and it’s easy to see why!

They fit right in on the farm, and they improve the overall environment.

Guard animals protect your livestock and give them happier lives. Plus, who wouldn’t want another animal on the farm?

But, what type of guard animal should you choose?

We’re going to compare guard llamas vs donkey to see which animal is best suited for different situations.

Guard llamas

Llamas are great guardian animals that live naturally long lives. They’re very economical and definitely earn their keep on the farm.

Many farmers use llamas as guard animals for sheep, goats, chickens, horses and more.

Guard llamas add to your livestock protection plan and make the farm a better place.

What predators do llamas protect against?

While llamas may not seem like particularly menacing creatures, they are very effective protectors.

Have you ever been kicked by a llama? We hope that you haven’t because it’s a painful experience.

Predators know this as well!

Coyotes, dogs, coydogs, bobcats, foxes and cougars will think twice before attacking a herd that’s protected by a llama.

Llamas give farmers some awesome results! 

According to a survey of farmers using llamas as protection animals, over half of llamas were 100% effective at protecting sheep against predators.

And, over 95% of llamas were found to be effective protectors.

Survey participants were mainly concerned about canine predators like dogs and coyotes. But, llamas can even protect herds against larger animals like bears.

Although, please note, llamas are not invincible, and you should take additional protection measures.

Why choose a guard llama?

  • Guard llamas do not require training.
  • Gelded llamas are very effective protectors, and they will not try to breed with ewes.
  • Llamas can become guard llamas when they’re fairly young.
  • A single llama is an effective protector.
  • Llamas inherently dislike canines, like coyotes.
  • Llamas and sheep warm up to each other quickly.
  • Llamas thrive in a variety of terrains.
  • Llamas’ care is very similar to sheep.
  • Llamas can learn to bond with your family and other farm animals.
  • Llamas can live for more than 20 years.
  • Llamas use a variety of protection methods.

Guard donkeys

Though guard donkeys are less common than guard llamas, they are still a very effective way to protect your flocks.

Donkeys are typically less social when compared to other guard animals. Depending on your needs, this can be either a pro or a con.

Why choose a guard donkey?

There are a number of reasons a donkey may make a good guard animal, including:

  • Guard donkeys will stand their ground.
  • Guard donkeys are not likely to bond with other farm animals, keeping them focused on protecting the herd.
  • Guard donkeys are fierce opponents.
  • Guard donkeys will attack predators before they are attacked.
  • Guard donkeys are naturally aggressive against canine predators.
  • Donkeys can scare predators with strong brays.
  • Donkeys live very long lives – at least 30 years.

Guard llama vs. donkey: Which is right for you?

When choosing a guard animal, you want to make sure that the animal will fit in well on your farm.

Some animals work well with the animals that they are protecting, while others do not.

And, you want to be sure that the guard animal will feel at home in its new environment.

So, which is best? Is a guard llama or a guard donkey a better choice for you?

Let’s compare the two animals.

Environmental needs

Llamas are very versatile animals that can thrive in a variety of terrains.

How to care for a llama?

With a protective coat, they are well-suited for multiple environments.

Whether you live in a rocky, rough landscape or on a smooth pasture, llamas will be right at home.

Also, llamas require similar care to lambs and sheep. They primarily feed on pasture and grains, so you will not need to accommodate them with special food or circumstances.

Basically, llamas can live wherever your herd or flock lives.

How do donkeys measure up?

Donkeys need slightly more specialized care

While donkeys can live in several environments, they will struggle to move around on rough, rocky terrain.

Donkeys have different dietary needs than the animals they typically care for.

So, you’ll have to feed them separately and make sure that they have plenty of salt.

Animal bonding

Animal bonding is important when it comes to guardian animals. 

You must think about how well the guardian animal will bond with the animals it protects, how it will bond with other animals of the same species, and how well it will get along with other animals on the farm.

This can be a difficult balance to strike!

For example, you want to make sure that the guard animal bonds well with the animals it protects. 

But, you also want to be sure that it will not attack your farm dog every time he comes into the pasture.

Also, the guard animal needs to be able to get along with other farm animals while understanding that their main priority remains the flock or herd.

How do llamas and donkeys rate in terms of animal bonding?

Llamas are slightly better than donkeys on this subject.

Llamas bond with sheep and goats very quickly and do not require much adjustment time. 

Donkeys, however, can be a little more reserved. Donkeys prefer to hang out with other donkeys.

So, if you choose a guard donkey, it’s best to allocate one per herd. 

Otherwise, the donkeys will prefer to spend time with each other and may neglect their guardian duties.

Donkeys usually adjust better if you allow them to get to know animals directly after birthings. 

You may find it useful to put the new mother, baby and donkey in a separate space for a short period to bond.

Are guard llamas or guard donkeys better suited for you?

The answer to this question really depends on your farm. You know it better than anyone else.

Consider your predators, animals, and the interactions between the two. 

Hopefully this discussion has given you a more informed perspective about guard llamas vs guard donkeys.

Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com