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Companion

This is a discussion on Companion within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        02-19-2013, 03:55 PM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    If you're seriously considering llamas/alpacas/goats, PM Lockwood - she is a WEALTH of information. :)

    Apparently sheep are pretty easy to contain and hair sheep are even easier (no shearing as they shed). But sheep are very sensitive to copper so any mineral you have out would have to be copper-less which might be difficult for you. And it might be difficult to find hair sheep - at least it was for me...though it really depends on where you live.

    As far as goats go, in my limited experience, it seems like the smaller the goats are, the more they want to escape.
    My two "large" breed goats (well, one is a large breed, the other is "medium") have so far been very easy to contain. The "medium" is an Angora ,who are apparently traditionally very easy to contain. She's about the best goat I have ever met. Snuggly, loveable, follows "the rules", doesn't fuss, etc. She is 9, almost 10, though so I'm not sure how much is breed and how much is age.
    The other goat is a LaMancha/Alpine mix and he is a wily creature (mostly, probably, hopefully, due to his age - 11 months old). He's always climbing things, fussing, trying to "help" me in the tack room, etc. He's not "bad" really, he's just into everything. However, he doesn't have any interest in going through fences. He sometimes thinks about it and he has gotten out once but after that time (and after, I think, realizing that his friends were still in) he hasn't gotten out/tried to get out -and he could easily get out- again. Also, his personality pretty much fits with a lot of what I have now read about the general personality of Alpine goats...so perhaps I should have done more research.

    The bummers about the Angora is that she needs to be sheared twice a year, she's somewhat of a "hard keeper", and she needs to be kept dry when it rains (she wears blankets). Otherwise, she is a really perfect goat. And really, those things are not that hard to deal with - I just feed her extra feed (the goats have a separate "goat area" that Lacey can't access), it's not hard to shear her with scissors or clippers, and I blanket Lacey when it rains anyway so I just blanket them at the same time.
    I would love to have SO MANY MORE Angoras one day!


    I have heard that cows can be hard on the ground (aka - MUDDY) and they can really lean on fences. However, I have no experience with cows so... haha

    Llamas, Lacey used to live with a pair of llamas and they were great. They were semi-wild so that was sort of a downer (they would sometimes get in the way but there was no way to really contain them without them freaking out) but otherwise they were very easy. They didn't eat a whole lot and they were pretty social/not mean.
    They did/do have a very highly developed predator sense so it was sketchy trying to have a dog around them but I'm sure that a dog they saw everyday would be fine ("my" dog had a pretty keen prey drive so, even though he was totally under control, the llamas did not particularly like the way he looked at them ).
         
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        02-19-2013, 04:02 PM
      #12
    Started
    Also, you could always work with your mare on her possessiveness. My broodmare is similar. Will chase off any horse within 50 feet if I don't stop her. Wants all of the attention for herself. I tell her to move away from me when I want to visit the other horses. I send her out of my space, expand my hula hoop if you will and don't let her come in. Occasionally she will throw a temper tantrum and pout but usually now she accepts it and goes about her business. I usually visit with her first(since she meets me halfway, and I reach her before anyone else) and I make leaving her VERY definite. No looking back. No slow stroll. I just go on to the next one. She can be with me when I am with the others, she cannot run them off. I can read her really well, so the second I see her start to get pushy, I send her away. She is doing really well, and it hasn't had an ill effect on our relationship.
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        02-19-2013, 04:17 PM
      #13
    Started
    You could go for a donkey but he would be quite high maintenance because you'd have to rug him from the rain, give him shelter, and probably treat him as a potential laminitic in the summer, ie. Restrict his grazing. Also, he'll need hooves trimming, vaccinations etc etc..

    Llamas and alpacas are in my prejudiced opinion just bigger more complicated sheep. Whereas sheep are less complicated and you can always eat them or their offspring.

    Sheep - on the downside, you'd have to tag, complete DEFRA paperwork, find a shearer in the spring, and deal with tendency to escape or roll over and die.

    On the plus side you should be able to get cade lambs fairly easily if you are in sheep country, and they are good grazers to have with a horse because they'll eat what the horse doesn't. And as I said, you can eat them

    If it were me I'd either look for an easy keeper horse companion, or have a couple of sheep.
    Wallaby likes this.
         
        02-19-2013, 09:03 PM
      #14
    Weanling
    Chickens are actually very good herd mates as long as the horse doesn't chase or attack them. My friend has about 6 chickens she keeps with her horse and all parties are happy. My horse loves geese which are good but VERY protective and territorial (just like my boy) so there were a lot of issues they had to resolve when he was kept with geese but eventually they got it worked out and were happy. Small breed goats are very mischievous I've noticed but larger tend to be mellow not caring to escape and less destructive with fencing. I'm terribly afraid of sheep lice after seeing one so I don't recommend those, but I've heard some good things about sheep. Sheep and goats are sensitive to copper so the horse and goat feed stuffs would have to be separate so there's no chance of poisoning. Horses tend to either love or hate goats and sheep, There isn't really a middle ground so the horse's temperament/attitude towards smaller or even other animals needs to be considered. Llamas and alpaca aren't ideal pasture mates because they tend to be moody and most horses won't bond well with them. Another horse or donkey might make the horse buddy sour making it difficult to take the horse our for a ride. I usually use bird species as horses don't usually care if they leave them, they're wicked easy to keep, they are cheap to buy, and they tend not to leave their immediate area. But they are really susceptible to being eaten by predators if they get out of the pasture area.
         
        02-20-2013, 12:56 AM
      #15
    Trained
    I'd just go for another horse. LOL
         
        02-20-2013, 04:19 AM
      #16
    Weanling
    If she seems ok on her own and you don't want another equine then I would leave it for now and see how she goes. Llamas/alpacas really need another of their own kind to be happy, here in NZ most breeders will not sell you a single animal unless you already have some.
    My mini pony is a great companion for my gelding although I wouldnt let them graze together if he was aggressive at all towards her - anything smaller can get injured by a large horse pretty easily.
    Celeste likes this.
         
        02-20-2013, 04:15 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    Thanks guys for all your suggestions, but I have to say, Copperhead's suggestion of "butterscotch" is by far the best! Haha, but honestly, I really appreciate all your suggestions and information you've provided me with. I'm mulling it all over! For now, I've bought her a feed ball to keep her occupied while I decide what to get her. I may loan a pony with a view to buy. If it works out, I'll probably buy it, and then loan it out to somebody to keep it at mine, that way somebody else cares for it, but it'll still be company for Vel. But that's just another idea. I think I will end up sticking to something equine, as I know them the best.

    LadyDreamer, thank you for reassuring me that sending her out of my space will not make her hate me forever. It's just I love having such a nice bond with her (so sad, and such a taboo to be lax over just because "ermahgerd, this poneh is mah bestest furend evah!") and before she was so cold due to her racing career, she'd never had much affection, so I just think it's nice that she knows love now (again, I know, sad, but that's just me :-p )
    Copperhead likes this.
         
        02-20-2013, 10:31 PM
      #18
    Started
    Oh the tantrums my girl would throw are amusing. When she is really mad, she bites herself in the chest, shakes her head, stamps and pouts, and will sometimes take it out on the others by running them off. As she got better, it wasn't so intense. I do have to whack her with something like a hat or a rope, usually, to get her to move. Not hard, just a touch to shoo her out. I could beat on her all day with my hands as hard as I could and she would just stand there like "Girl, pleeease." She is a snitty cow sometimes. She is the only one I justify making excuses for.

    It was so funny. When she had her first baby(who was every bit my baby as she is) she would come up and gently shove him out of the way to hog my affection. He would nudge her back and wiggle his way back in. Sooo cute.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    HollyLolly likes this.
         
        02-20-2013, 10:38 PM
      #19
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Copperhead    

    You think this is silly - my mare was CERTAIN it was real. I had brought my 3ft tall stuffed pony down to the barn (to bring to a therapy riding class) she FLIPPED. She was nickering and nuzzling to him, when I brought him out she was calling and calling! It was rediculous!


    As for the real question, get a mini or mini donk
    HollyLolly likes this.
         
        02-21-2013, 04:14 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    Haha LadyDreamer, sounds like he really takes after his Mum hehe, what a cute story!

    And PunksTank, that's so funny! I watched this vet programme ages ago which featured a mare that gave birth to a still born foal. Afterwards, when they took the baby out (after about 24 hours, to let her know it hadn't survived) she was going absolutely mental and was craving any attention, be it horse or groom, and if she was on her own she was going crazy in her stall. So, they stuck a plastic horse in front of her stable and she actually bonded with it! (Problem was though, at some point they had to take it away, which made her just as bad as before!)
         

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    companion, donkey, friend, herd, miniature

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