Should Goats and Alpacas Live Together

Sometimes goats can be finicky creatures, and will either choose to be defensive, or produce milk. Alpacas are not fond of coyotes and foxes, and will spit, kick, and fight when protecting themselves.

The short answer is yes! Alpacas are normally used as guardians of goats and help to keep them in the herd. Most breeds of goats are extremely friendly and docile creatures, so it depends on what breed the alpacas are protecting.

If you’re looking to add an alpaca to your goat farm in order to protect your furry friends, and you’re having some questions, here’s some more information that may be helpful.

Why Do Alpacas Protect Goats

Alpacas are a known enemy of coyotes, foxes, wild dogs, and so forth. They’re not effective in protecting goats from larger predators, but they’re certainly helpful to have. Alpacas bond to their goats, and become their guardians because they know that they’re incapable of protecting themselves. Alpacas don’t need to come in packs like dogs in order to be protective; a lone alpaca is usually more effective.

Alpacas use their aggressive attitudes to ward off coyotes and foxes. Because of their stature, they’re able to kick and step on coyotes and foxes to ward them off. However, without a strong fence alongside the alpaca, the coyote may kill off the alpaca because it senses that it can’t protect the goats. If an alpaca doesn’t come across as scary and hurtful, then a coyote doesn’t feel threatened and will kill him to get to the goats more easily.

Are Male or Female Alpacas Better for Protection

The great part about male and female alpacas is that they’re both extremely friendly. They can cohabitate and not cause any troubles. Many people assume that males get a syndrome commonly known as “Aberrant Male Syndrome,” or “Berserk Male Syndrome.” This syndrome is assumed to be when male alpacas are abnormally aggressive and vicious. This is entirely untrue; this syndrome is created within male alpacas when humans abuse them. Male alpacas are not inherently mean, and are protective over one another and their female counterparts.

Female alpacas can be spiteful amongst each other. It isn’t necessarily a matter of age, they just get into disagreements and will pick on each other. They will occasionally fight one another in order to prove dominance until one backs down and walks away with a bit of spit. Thankfully, fights don’t occur often and female alpacas still love each other after a disagreement or power struggle.

With that out of the way, this means it is entirely up to you and your breed of goats whether a male or female alpaca is better for them. Gender isn’t exactly a priority for a goat. Both are known to be good guardians against coyotes and are territorial to a fault.

How to Introduce Alpacas to Goats

First and foremost, it is incredibly important to make sure that the male alpacas are fixed, or castrated, to ensure that they won’t try to mount and hurt the goats. Alpacas aren’t known to be dominant, unless they feel the need to show dominance in front of another male that is considerably smaller. The weight of an alpaca alone will crush and kill a goat, so it is best to fix them before introducing them to the goats. The goats don’t have to be fixed, as they are considerably smaller in stature, but fixing the alpaca is a safety precaution.

Alpacas bond quickly with their goat friends, so there isn’t a problem with putting them within the same fence at the same time. The more important thing to focus on is making sure that the pasture is more expansive to accommodate both the goats and the alpaca. Attention to smaller details such as dietary needs and vaccinations are important in promoting the health of both animals. The cross contamination of parasites can prove deadly to both breeds, so creating a safe and healthy environment for both will keep them both safe, happy, and healthy.

Which Goats are Nicest

Here’s a short list of goats that would work best alongside alpacas, even though there are many more goats that are friendly and easy to get along with. These goats are certainly much more friendly, will be great friends with alpacas, and will also make great pets for children to take care of as well.

1. Nigerian Dwarf

These adorable little goats are mainly used for dairy purposes. Having originated in West Africa, they have become incredibly popular here in the U.S. This breed of goats makes for a wonderful pet, and get along with many other breeds of animals. They don’t need as much pasture as most other goats, and will produce more milk than one would assume for their small stature.

2. Kinder Goats

Having originated in the United States in Washington state, this breed of goat was cross-bred with Pygmy goats in order to create a stockier breed of goat. Their stature is great for milk production as well as for meat. The males tend to weigh around 135 lbs., while females weigh around 115 lbs.. One is usually able to receive a gallon of milk a day from this breed of goats, and be able to make excellent cheeses from their sweet milk as well.

3. Pygora

Another cross-bred type of goat created in the U.S., between a Pygmy and an Angora, this type of goat was produced mainly to produce fiber. The fiber is mainly used for hand-spinning into soft clothes. Their hair is rather fine, making it less scratchy on the skin compared to straight wool. Being a rather docile breed makes them perfect companions for alpacas.

4. Alpine Goat

The vast majority of breeds of goats are used for their milk, and that is the same purpose for this breed as well. Alpine goats are more accustomed to colder weather, having originated in the French Alps, making them perfect for colder climates. They breed rather quickly, which is another great aspect of this breed, as the herd can grow quickly and bring more milk to the family if necessary.

5. Anglo-Nubian

Just looking at this goat could make anyone fall in love. Their long ears and sloping face make up their sweet personality. This breed is another great option for producing milk as well as for meat; they are able to produce milk all year round, and not just during the warmer seasons. They get along well with other goats and make for great farm pets.

What Breeds of Goats are Less Friendly

Some goats are not bred to be as friendly or useful to humans, as most often one is unable to get close to them. Certain breeds of goats are known to be more aggressive and will pick a fight with anything or anyone. To protect both the goats and the alpacas, it is important to know which breeds should not be in the presence of one another.

1. Madurai Goat

Just when looking at this goat it may spook you. It almost looks as if they have muscles for days. These goats are not easily tamed, and known to pick fights with one another. They don’t necessarily think about anything else and will fight out of nowhere. Their horns curvature and strength prove to help them when picking fights, which is also not great. These goats weigh well over 100 if not over 150 pounds, making them absolutely lethal and difficult to care for.

2. Boer

In South Africa, these goats are mainly bred for meat, but that doesn’t make them any less friendly. Their strength and agility make them not only terrifying, but incredibly difficult to tame. They aren’t anything to look at, but their ability to fight makes it difficult for alpacas to be able to protect them. They probably don’t even need protecting.

3. Kalahari Red

Talk about a short-tempered goat with a lot of personality. Originally from South Africa, they are short, bulky, and very strong. They’re not very skittish and will pick a fight when they feel like it, or even when they don’t. The reason for their red skin is so they can hide from prey as well as be protected from the harsh sun. These are certainly dangerous goats and earn their spot on this list.

4. Dutch Landrace

This goat doesn’t exactly look very dangerous, but rather quite beautiful; which is probably what makes them dangerous in the first place. It’s long, thick horns are scary enough to keep any animal away, even humans. It’s not likely an alpaca will be able to protect something that can protect itself. These goats will attack even the hand that feeds them. It’s best to choose goats such as the Pygmy, Nigerian Dwarf, or even the Kinder goats.

5. Rangeland

There’s no point in trying to tame this goat; it’s speed and agility are unmatched for most other goats. They are naturally aggressive, which doesn’t make them great pets or friends to alpacas. They are mostly known for their meat, which is probably better than most other things. Their tough horns and lean bodies give them the ability to strike quickly and with a lot of force.

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