Guard llama used to protect sheep from dog attacks at Sheffield farm

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Visitors to a Sheffield farm could be forgiven for thinking there is an intruder in the sheep enclosure.

But the llama at Graves Park Animal Farm is there to protect his furry companions from a different kind of four-legged attacker.

Chris Dyson, of Graves Park, stands with a llama which is being used to protect sheep from dog attacks. Picture: Andrew Roe

Chris Dyson, of Graves Park, stands with a llama which is being used to protect sheep from dog attacks. Picture: Andrew Roe

Farmers alternate putting one of two female ‘guard’ llamas in the enclosure to deter dogs from attacking sheep.

The practice, becoming more common on farms, has been a success at the farm in Norton.

Farm manager Peter Fletcher said: “We have two female llamas and put them in one at a time with the flock of sheep.

“They tend to regard the flock as their family so if a dog comes into the field and chase the sheep, the llama tends to chase the dog and unnerve it so it doesn’t do any damage.

“It’s used up and down the country.

“Attacks happen every now and again. A stray dog or a dog off its lead may come in during the night. There are all sorts of things about that can come in randomly.”

A single male or, as in the case in Sheffield, a mother and a baby are used which bond quickly with the sheep.

If a small pack of llamas were used they would form a group and protect each other rather than the sheep.

Peter said it various how long each llama stays in the sheep enclosure for.

He said: “They are carrying babies throughout the year so we give them a rest when they have them and then they go in with their babies for a certain amount of time.”