My new Pack Goat Protectors...(long & picture heavy)
Hey All,

Just thought I would share a few thoughts. As some of you know, since I got my pack goats a few months ago I have been getting more and more concerned about predators (both wild & domestic) as the property I have (16 acres) is right on the edge of a 10,000' mountain. Actually there is only one house between my goat property & the rest of the mountain; its about 4 blocks (1/2 mile) from my actual physical home. Even more so as the winter is getting colder and we have already had over 3' of snow fall at my house this year. So of course, things like coyotes and neighboring dogs are always concerning but in years past even Big Cats have hassled the previous resident horses. No one has seen one down this low in a lot of years but it is always a concern as they seem to be getting more plentiful of late. This all is especially concerning in the spring when I get my 4 new Ober kids. BTW none of my goats have horns.

For the winter, the two 2.5 year olds are in corrals that I have fenced VERY tight & VERY low with 4"x4" woven field fencing. However, the steel paneled gates were not wrapped. I had intended to likely add a hot wire on top & bottom as well as plug any gaps and wrap all the gates before I got the kids but just put it off since winter had hit. As I look back on it, the goats couldn't get out but I imagine most predators could get in the gates. (Reality is there is basically no cost effective way to stop a Big Cat period, with fencing measures.) At first I was thinking the two full size goats, my and my accompanying Springer's regular presence would likely deter most coyotes. I have also probably had a false sense of security though, due to having 7-10 deer feeding & bedding down in the fields nearly every night. I was thinking that it couldn't be too bad if they were there...but then again, they can run and are not captive.

Anyway, as some of you also know I haven't felt like I could get a LGD (Especially the more aggressive Anatolian that I originally wanted.) as I don't actually own the property and the 70+ year old lady owner lives on site. She has friends and relatives who visit and I am sure visit my animals so hence a very protective and aggressive to human canine was just more liability than I thought I could take. I just felt like I couldn't risk the people, hence the dogs...and consequently the use of the property with its, pasture, water, electricity, corrals, barns, storage and stalls if something bad happened because of my LGD. Then the property owner lost three ducks from her yard which has a pond (now Frozen), dead/mauled but not eaten. This could have been anything but still concerning & she was really concerned about my goats and the new kids in the spring. So in discussing it further with her, she welcomed a LGD or Guard Llama. Then there is the fact that several around this forum and the "other" forum that have lost full size goats to coyotes lately...more concerning. Several have also lost some kids...almost all to coyotes. Hence I started to realize that I may have been lucky so far but it was probably an eventuality that something ill could happen, especially with the kids and especially when I put them all out in the pasture next spring.

So after much reading & researching here and elsewhere, I was starting to lean towards a Guard Llama. Nice concept but one more hassle to me for an animal I didn't really want and it seems that their "guarding" abilities are a bit hit and miss. In the end, the relity is there is no way they would be as effective guard as a true LGD. After really weighing this out, in the end I decided that a Guard Llama probably would not work for me and decide to pass. If for no other reason I have a prized and very precious to me purebred hunting stock English Springer Spaniel that accompanies me to feed the goats 50% of the time as well as on all hikes and campouts...she also hunts for me.

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Anyway, I just feel that I can't take a chance on a rogue Llama that can't work out a relationship with my dog the way the goats have with her.

I went back to looking at and researching LGS's. both here and on the Net. While some are perfect for guarding and are even known to chase down and kill coyotes, like Anatolians, there maybe better options for my unique situation. Anatolians seem to have more of a reputation of more extreme hostility with non-introduced humans. Please note I love Anatolians and mean no disrespect to them as I would like to have one someday. It seems though that the Great Pyrenees & Komondors LGD's, while great protectors and defenders, tend to be a bit more conservative in their approach; I think that this suits me and my situation a little better. The Komondor seems very close to a GP in regards to attributes and demeanor.

Basic attributes (I'm sure there are more):

Komondor: fearless, affectionate, gentle, loyal, protective, independent, calm, steady
Great Pyrenees: fearless, affectionate, gentle, loyal, protective, independent, patient, confident, strong willed

Like most LGD's, while they may be wary of people invading their territory, they are very in tune with the stress level of their charges and measure their responses accordingly. This especially true when it comes to two legged creatures that they deem a true threat. (many times knocking them down and holding until the master comes.) From what I understand, most times they have escalating responses depending on the perceived threat or stress of their charges. I definitely don't really need them chasing down and killing anything that is not physically harming or trying to harm my goats I just need the to keep their territory clear of them. I also need them to watch over and protect on the rare occasion. IMHO, I'm guessing that 99% of the time that LGD are essentially deterrents more than defenders and just having their physical presence wins the battles 99.5% of the time when it comes to wild predators and lone domestic dogs. There is no way I believe that a coyote will be sticking his head in my corrals if I had two 100-125+ lb LGD dogs. I would think that even a Big Cat would think twice about that scenario.

Anyway, last Thursday, instead of a Guard Llama, I was lucky enough to find two 4-5 months old 3/4 Great Pyrenees 1/4 Komondor puppies (brothers) for a VERY fair deal. (It looks like they ended up with the Komondor coat.) The largest, Sampson, likely weighs nearly 70 lbs already & while his brother Goliath (55-60 lbs) is smaller...smaller is very relative. Smile Sampson was the largest of the litter while the Goliath was the runt...interestingly he is the more dominant though. They are completely bonded to each other and in sync with each other which I would think would make them great working companions as LGD's. It is also the reason I was given such a sweet deal on the two. The former owner mainly wanted to see them stay as working dogs and to stay together as they are moving back to the city & can't keep them. (Not many city folks looking for TWO 100+ lb LGD's. )

The first night, I put them right in the corrals with the goats and they were fine with it even if the goats were giving them a leery eye. That said, after three nights, my goats still won't let them sleep with them...they seem content to curl up in a patch of snow or some straw in my 3 sided shed/barn. (The curled up in a patch of snow fast asleep while I worked on the fence, perfectly content and snoring. LOL. Big Grin)

Unfortunately though, my Alpine, Chester, seems to be pushing them around a bit for no reason; they aren't as fast as Tess who likes to play chicken with the goats. I have stayed out of it and let them mainly work it out as I don't think it will change their desire to guard the goats though, especially the 4 kids I have coming late next spring. They are very much gentle giants and very mellow and lovable so far...maybe a bit too much so in some ways. I think they will come in to their own with the goats when they age and mature a bit. Anyway, I really think they are going to work out great & they seem to be already bonding to my Tess & the goats...even if the Goats aren't bonding as strong to them yet. I think having my new kids grow up with them will help. Right now though, they want to be with me more than the goats though, which is a tad concerning. While I like that they are fairly friendly with people though, I do hope they eventually bond more to the goats than me and my children. Its still very early and I have them locked down with the goats and will only visit them twice a day for the next few weeks to feed & water them. Hopefully being in the corrals together all winter, they will be extremely bonded to the goats by spring. I will then finish "goat fencing" the pasture for them to patrol at night...this should also keep them in where they are supposed to be until they come into there full guarding capabities at 2-3 yo.

One thing that I have had to do is really upgrade my fencing even more in order to make sure they stay put until they are fully bonded to the goats...and not wander to find me any more. (more on that momentarily.) The gates were the hardest part, but I think I have it all zipped up now. I figure if my smaller, wily and wiry Springer can't get out, neither will they and nor will coyote be able to get in anymore. That isn't the bad part though; the bad part is that on the second night, they came looking for me maybe 30 minutes after I fed & left them at 5:00 pm. My daughter took a friend to see them & the goats while we went Christmas shopping and found that they were gone! Idea (6:15 pm) We all came back to look for the two "little" guys but had no luck as it was after dark...they had no I.D. tags yet. So we got some flashlights and started tracking their BIG paws in the fairly fresh snow. Three doors down, I saw the prints going to a porch of a home. I knocked on the door to ask if they had seen them? They had and said that he had help load them in a police car an hour and a half ago. I said, "DANG!"

The owner said well, "They were running all over the place bugging everyone." Dodgy

Riiiiight. Rolleyes There is no way they even hardly had time to "bug" anyone...keep in mind it was only 3 doors down and likely with in 30-45 minutes after I left.

So off I went down to the local police station where they keep their animal control shelter on the luck, no one was there. (It was a Friday night.) I then called dispatch and they confirmed that they had them & the officer picked them up at 6:10 pm and they were locked in the shelter. I apologized and noted I had only had them for about 36 hours. They told me that the only officer on duty (the one that had picked them up.) was busy helping traffic with a water main line break. (icy). They said that he would call me ASAP and see what we could do.

An hour later, sitting in front of City Hall, he called and apologized for the delay. Long story shorter, he had other calls and met with me 2 hours later & let me have them on the promise that I would register them on Monday. I then noticed that their pretty white coats had streaks of yellow and they had a pungent smell to them. The officer told me that the lady that had called them in had sprayed them with Mace! Grrrrrrr! Angry They didn't have time to "bug" anyone that much, the officer & I were NOT impressed as he is a huge dog lover. They are big but are super lovable & very gentle...they are obvious big clumsy puppies but there is no way they were aggressive or "bugging" anyone. The previous owner taught them not to even jump up on people and they almost never do...they are gentle giants that were just trying to find me. I would have actually loved to have charged that lady with animal cruelty...because that's just what it was. It was just plain mean! dogs had gotten out and the people would have just said that they felt threatened and I would likely have gotten fined or worse. I just decided to let it go and go home and lock down my fencing completely so it never happened again. I spent all Saturday, with it snowing, locking it down completely...nothing is getting in, and nothing is getting out. I figure 6 months from now, they would be so bonded to my animals that they would likely never wander again.

Anyway, I feel really blessed to have them and get them back not too much worse for wear. As far as predators are concerned, my mind is completely at ease now & feel I have made the right decision. They have already worked their way in to my families hearts; we just need to be careful to not love on them too much so that they will strongly bond to our goats. If nothing else, they made me get around to finishing my fencing and it is ready for the kids in the spring. My only real concerns now are if they stay too bonded to people...and if that Komondor coat that they seem to have, will get to unwieldy.
Hope you enjoy something in my rambling.


Here are some pics of them...sorry so dark, it was late:

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Here are some with my boys...keep in mind these pups are only 4-5 months old.

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Messages In This Thread
My new Pack Goat Protectors...(long & picture heavy) - by TOU - 12-23-2013, 09:32 AM

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