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Llamas vs. donkeys
I'm thinking of getting a pasture buddy for my mare. I absolutely don't want another horse again. I might consider just the right pony, but I'm not much of a fan of those creatures. I've only met a handful in my life that I've liked. I'm not doing goats again -- been there, done that. Fencing is too much of a nightmare here for that. Same goes for deer.
All else I can think of are donkeys, mules and llamas. I have some experience with donkeys, very limited however. Mules I think are probably too smart to be pasture ornaments, besides they are pricier to buy. I know nothing about llamas, except that the one in the zoo spit in my girlfriend's face :lol:
How hard on a pasture is a llama? How much do they eat? How often do they need to be shorn? (Northern Ontario, but summer days are commonly over 25 degrees celcius; over 30 is rarer) If I meet a llama how do I know that it's nice -- ie. I can judge a horse by leading it, feeling it, picking up its feet, riding it -- same expectations for a llama according to the training the owner says it has?
Pros / cons of each? Response to an electric fence? The donkey we had when I was a kid was behind wooden fencing. Here it's electric only.
Thanks for any input.
I have llamas and alpacas and I will PM you a reply that I sent to someone else with the same question.
As for electric fencing with llamas, their wool is usually too long or dense for electric fencing to be effective. They need yearly shearing and are nothing like horses. Finding a good/friendly one is quite a bit different than horses, although it can be done. Many people keep them together, but thought needs to be given to the logistics because feed and health care issues are pretty different different.
I was recently faced with the same dilema, and even though I already have llamas I knew they would not be good companions so I brough home two donkeys for his pasture mates.
Thank you Lockwood. I really appreciate the information. Especially about the wool and the electric fence. Very helpful!
I never thought of a llama as a pasture buddy until a friend of mine suggested it, so I thought I would ask. I was leaning toward a donkey.
My horse doesn't really need a true buddy. Just someone to watch. She was with another mare and was very happy when the mare left. However, a few months later, my neighbour's horse left as well. Since then it seems to me that she is a bit out of sorts. If I could find a way to keep a goose in the paddock I think she'd be just as happy with that! :)
I had a llama that spit at me and on my stallion once. Never get another of them vile creatures again! Lol
Mini donkeys are cool!
Me, personally, I would probably go with a donkey....but then again, I just don't like llamas. All the ones I've ever seen were ill-tempered, scroungy looking, horse terrifying, pains in the ass.
But then, I have only seen just a few in my life......LOL.
If my choices were between a donkey, a llama or a pony my horse would be lonely for a LONG time. I've been around all three of them and I didn't like any of them. I'd probably get a goat.
i have a goat, he pretty much ignores the fence, but he doesnt go anywhere, follows the horse around, or lays on the back deck.
Lacey lives with two llamas and I LOVE them. They are truly hilarious little (big) creatures.
The ones Lacey lives with are basically wild (former livestock guarding llamas) so they are never shorn or anything like that. They just hang out and get their hay everyday and seem to live pretty happy lives. Of course, if I owned a llama, I would want it to be tame but I don't own these guys (ladies).
I am training one of them (the friendly one, she's always hanging around me) to allow touching but it's slow going. However, I don't really blame her since she's at least 14 and she hasn't been touched probably since she was a baby.
The other one (the non-friendly one) basically runs if I get within 10ft of her but she's never aggressive, she's just scared. She likes to watch me from a safe distance and let the other llama be brave.
Anyway, they seem very easy on the pasture. They, and Lacey, live on about 3 acres together and I can definitely say that Lacey is MUCH harder on the land than they are. I never see llama "skid-marks' but am always seeing Lacey "skid-marks". Lacey seems to rip the ground up a lot more with her hooves than the llamas do.
The llamas also eat quite a bit less than Lacey does. Both llamas can thrive in that 3 acre pasture year round without needing more than about a 5 pound flake of hay every week during the winter.
Of course, I've never met a tame llama so the tameness might be a game changer. I'm not sure.
I will say though that from what I've seen from these llamas, they are my companion of choice for single horses.
Also, I've never had these guys spit on me/act like they were about to spit and I've inadvertently gotten them into situations where I wouldn't blame them for getting a little aggressive (given their feral/wild status).
The one thing I'm bummed about is that there seems to be very little llama knowledge on the internet. I would love knowing all about these guys but there just doesn't seem to be that kind of wealth of information out there.
Wallaby, I would be happy to send you some really good links for llama info if you want to PM me.
Llamas, like many forms of farm animals, can react to people on the degree in which they have been handled or treated. Their sense of self preservation is high as they are not nearly as domesticated as say cattle. They often see no reason to act like the humans want them to and usully have no desire to please humans either.
That said, llamas have a gentle nature and are non-combative as a whole (unless you are a coyote.)
My llamas are very nice, well mannered, and are hand shearable. I have only been chuffed on once (dry spit, no goo.) Alpacas??? Ha! Alpacas are far less domesticed animals that retain all of their their high mountain behaviors and spit gooey glop freely!
Yup, if I had my 'druthers, it'd be a goat, but as mentioned the fencing requirements are just too difficult to meet here for us. At least at this time. I guess I'm just going to sit around and see if a donkey or really special pony shows up needing a home... or maybe a really special miniature horse. I'm not a fan of either of the equines, but who knows what might come along.
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