Ever since I bought my first goats, I’ve been concerned about getting some sort of a guard animal to protect them. We haven’t had any predator problems so thankfully I have no tale of woe to report but you only have to read one account of someone going outside to feed their animals and finding death and destruction to be concerned. I’ve talked to people about their guard dogs and guard donkeys and guard llamas but had never really decided what I wanted. We’ve had our fiber herd for nearly 5 years now with no problems. And getting my first three llamas a couple of years ago seemed like enough to provide some security. My three llamas became one over the last year through losses that had nothing to do with predators and that left me with one llama along with the alpacas and goats. Tucker is a wonderful llama and he is watchful of the alpacas but he’s young and not really a guard. He’s really more of a companion. He has seemed satisfied with his companion duties and not unhappy about being the only llama.
My husband was the one who suggested we get a guard llama. It would provide us with an animal that could really guard the herd as well as a companion for Tucker. This is the same man who put me on animal probation a while back because the animals just seemed to be arriving here on a regular basis. Now it’s true that most of them were cats… but I digress…. I emailed the great people at Figment Ranch to see if they had a guard llama for sale. Figment Ranch is the home of the wonderful Sean Price, my llama/alpaca shearer. They had three guard llamas available and sent me pictures to look at. All three llamas had been laid off of their previous guarding jobs although not for dereliction of duty or poor work product. The animals they were guarding were going away so they were returned to Figment Ranch. Two of the three really attracted me. Shiraz looked alert and watchful and has the nicest fiber. He had been guarding a herd of alpacas. Smoky had been guarding a herd of fallow deer. I was mostly sold on these guys when I saw the pictures but made the drive over to look at them in person.
Ruby Herron and Robin Turell along with Sean are Figment Ranch in Cypress, TX. I had talked to both Ruby and Robin on the phone but had never met them in person so I was excited to visit them. I had a great time walking around, seeing all their llamas, hearing stories and laughing and chatting. We stood in their back pasture talking about various llama health issues and I watched Smoky guard. His eyes were constantly moving - watching the tree line or the fence line or the dogs or us. It was amazing.
Shiraz was in a paddock with another llama named Stash. Stash is the most wonderful appaloosa llama. I love appaloosa llamas. So the one llama my husband suggested became two and then three new llamas. I had to wait a week, during which time Stash was neutered, for my new guys to be delivered. More about how they are settling in next time.