Considering Multi-Species Grazing? How to Choose a Guardian Animal for Sheep & Goats

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So you’re a little sheepish about multi-species grazing. It’s understandable. Changing fencing strategies and planning handling, sorting, lambing and all the rest of it is a daunting task. Once you add predators to the mix, it can all seem a little overwhelming. Or, at least it did until I attended the Multi-Species Grazing Conference hosted by Sexton Grazing and Consulting in Hanley, Sask., last week..

Once there, I spoke with An Peischel, extension specialist with the University of Tennesee, who explained that the Canadian prairies have huge potential for multi-species grazing, and predators should not hinder anyone from setting it up.  In this video interview, Peischel describes the important role livestock guardian dogs play in her operation, factors to consider when choosing a breed and offers tips on training pups.

In selecting a dog, Peischel says, “I look at the topography of the area first, I look at the climate and then I look at the number of goats I’m putting in.” Peischel adds that it’s important to know the predator you’re mostly likely dealing with — be it bear, wolf, coyote or human — when choosing the breed and number of guardian animals.

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.

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