This is how a farmer’s relationship with carnivores shall look like in the future, as more and more enlightened farmers understand how to share the land successfully!
Alpacas Warn Guard Dogs of Coyotes’ Presence on California Farm
Story by Pandora Dewan
As well as alpacas, the farm houses chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, miniature cows and miniature horses, all of which are tasty prey for the coyotes.
“Coyotes are very common in our area,” Draper said. “Our ranch is surrounded by empty fields with high, heavy grasses where coyotes freely travel and use as denning areas. Coyotes are especially active this time of year because it is mating season…[the] coyotes are more bold and [are] expanding their territory.”
The guard dogs have learned to respond to the alpacas’ alert signals, and call to attention on hearing their alarm cries, as can be seen in the video.
“Our livestock guardian dogs keep the peace and the coyotes are happy to move on to easier prey while our animals stay safe,” Draper said. “It’s a great way for wildlife and farm animals to coexist because coyotes are risk averse and generally don’t want to suffer injury or death to take on large Anatolian Shepherds. A warning from our livestock guardian dogs is enough for coyotes to move on.”
Usually, the guard dogs will detect coyotes and other threats before the alpacas do. But, on rare occasions, the alpacas get there first. “The alpacas have an advantage with their long necks to see into the fields surrounding us and see a coyote traveling further off in the high dense grass when the livestock guardian dog may not otherwise detect it.
“The alpacas are an “early warning” system: they are seeing something far off before it is anywhere near approaching our fencing and becoming a real threat.”
This peculiar partnership has kept the Raventree Ranch’s animals safe for years.
“Our three livestock guardian dogs are Bo, Lily and Judge,” Draper said. “They are Anatolian Shepherds, a Turkish breed of livestock guardian dog. In six years, we have never lost a farm animal and no coyote has ever been harmed. They are excellent deterrents.”