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The Fence Post

Using Llamas for Protection

February 12, 2021 | by Joe Morrell

Llama behind fence

Protecting your Herd

A llama provides an imposing and somewhat foreign presence in the modern farmyard. They have an odd, disarming call that keeps predators at bay and sounds an alarm for your benefit--and for your herd's. In terms of protection, this is reason enough, yet this is only the beginning of their impressive credentials. 

Vigilant

Ranchers are overwhelmingly positive about keeping llamas, chiefly in economic terms: loss to predation is dramatically reduced, particularly for sheep farmers.

Llamas are naturally suspicious of and aggressive to dogs, foxes, coyotes, and wolves.

They appear threatening, have unique methods of defense, and are able to kill these powerful predators. The best specimens for guarding pastures are gelded males or females that have been bred and become protective. An open, fenced pasture is preferred, as hilly terrain can result in the llamas being separated from the herd, reducing protection. Llamas like to have the long view.

High Alert

You will find that their awareness of potential invaders is acute. They're constantly checking the periphery of your fenced area. Scan through this video and watch just a bit to see how alert a llama is while it surveys the area:

 

Behavior

Llamas make a welcome companion to your herd as they integrate with pasture animals naturally and in many cases simply become one of the herd. They are very tolerant of their field companions, working well with cows, sheep, goats, and poultry. One llama will bond with sheep; however, two or more llamas will sometimes bond with each other and possibly ignore the sheep, though not always.  They can be particularly attentive to lambs and particularly attentive to newborns. Ranchers generally report that their predation problems are completely or substantially eliminated.

 

Llamas are not aggressive and are generally docile; often liking to keep a few feet of distance but not threatened by humans. They may spit when provoked. Their spitting is unpleasant, more like a regurgitation, but much more rare than thought, usually reserved for an extreme threat and rarely done to their near and dears--meaning you. Respect their need for distance or they may throw a sideways kick to warn you off. 

A Few Basics

Their coat is not prized like that of an alpaca, yet do need to be sheered once a year. Also, their toenails--two on each foot--need to be trimmed every 2 to 6 months. Bred as guardian animals, they were also bred as pack animals and for pulling; llamas can carry a lot of weight and capable of traveling through rough terrain. And it may be interesting to note that they often choose one area for droppings in a field, and uniquely, these can be transferred straight onto the garden.

They beat guard dogs in these ways: 

  • No barking at night
  • Respectful of fence boundaries and not interested in escape, unlike dogs
  • They eat grass; eating hay when there's no grass--usually whatever the sheep and cows are eating--as opposed to a dog which requires its own separate and costly feeding
  • Vet bills are few compared to a dog
  • They live longer than guard dogs--15 years and up

If You're Serious

Before you buy one, check out online sources and local want ads for free llamas. Due to varying circumstances, there are often free llamas available or some that are rescues. This cattle rancher has used llamas to great benefit:

 

Creating an Enclosure

An excellent choice for your pasture is sheep and goat fence, featuring woven 4" x 4" mesh. Made with 12½ gauge high tensile Class 3 galvanized wire for extra long life and rust resistance. Designed with goats and sheep in mind, this fence will work beautifully with the presence of a llama as it is a strong confinement fence. The 4" x 4" mesh deters sheep and goats from putting their heads through the openings. Vertical and horizontal wires are joined by strong stiff stay knots. These smooth sided knots will not injure animals and give the fence flexibility, minimizing the potential for injury. This fence will conform to hilly terrain, thanks to deeply crimped horizontal wires. Consider Farm and Field Fence, Deer and Wildlife Fence, and Horse Fence as well, depending on your pasturing needs. Add a llama behind an excellent fence and enjoy the enhanced security for your flock and your peace of mind. 

llama in field

Sheep and Goat Fence

 

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Topics: field fence, fixed knot, deer and wildlife fence, woven wire mesh

Fences, Welded or Woven?

February 28, 2011 | by Duncan Page

vinyl coated welded wire fences on post & rail

How would you like your fence to function?

Fences are available for every conceivable use and purpose. Read on for the benefits of two very important types of wire...

Welded fence characteristics

  • Welded wire products used as fences can be made in many different gauges - from heavy 4 gauge to light weight 20 gauge. Lighter gauges and smaller meshes are available, but are not recommended to be used as fencing by themselves.
  • Mesh sizes can run from 1/2" to 6".
  • Most welded meshes made from steel are galvanized before weld (GBW), galvanized after weld (GAW) or vinyl coated (VC).                                                                                                                              
  • Fences are rigid and square.
  • Mesh openings are uniform and consistent in shape and size throughout the roll or panel - ideal for cages.
  • Welded products can be harder to install over uneven ground.                        
Wire Fences

There are basically two types of manufactured wire fences: welded and woven. 

 

dog behind 2"x4" mesh woven fences

Woven fence characteristics

  • Woven wire products used as fences can vary between 9 gauge and 23 gauge.                                                                      
  • Mesh sizes can run from 1/2" to 8".                                                                                                                                             
  • Wire finishes of woven meshes are similar to those that are welded: galvanized before weld (GBW), galvanized after weld (GAW) or vinyl coated (VC).                                                                                                                                                        
  • Fences that are woven are more flexible than welded products.                                                                                                
  • Mesh openings are generally uniform and consistent in shape and size throughout the roll.                                                     
  • Woven meshes are easier to install over uneven ground. They can be "racked" to conform to the ups and downs.                 
  • Many of the fences used to enclose or exclude livestock are woven construction: deer, horses, poultry and game birds.  
      

grayscale photo of goat beside fence

Which style of fence will work best in your next project? Feel free to call us if you want to ask about particulars. (866) 328-5018

What kind of experiences have you had with either or both types of fences?

Duncan Page signatureDuncan Page picture
Welded Wire
 
Woven Wire
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Topics: welded wire mesh, woven wire mesh

What Is A Turtle or Tortoise Fence?

May 24, 2010 | by Duncan Page

turtle fence

                                                                                                                                        Arkansas DOT photo                                                           Helping the Turtles Migrate

Have you ever seen a turtle fence? They are being used more frequently to cut down on roadkill in areas where highways cross the natural migration routes of turtles.

And what is it?

  • A turtle fence is a physical barrier that prevents turtles from entering any area
  • Fences can guide turtles to an underpass or other safe way of crossing the roadway

It's needed because...?

What are the specifications?

  • Welded or woven wire fence with a 1/2" x 1" to 2" x 2" mesh is ideal
  • 16 to 12.5 gauge wires are sufficient
  • Galvanized before, galvanized after or vinyl coated mesh, depending on the desired lifetime of the fence
  • 24" to 36" height depending on species

focused photo of a sea turtle walking on the seashore

A turtle fence can be a costly project and is often a cause of debate. Maintenance, especially in areas of heavy snow, can be quite costly if the fence is damaged by snow plows. Do you think the expense is justified?

Duncan Page  Duncan Page

Welded Wire Mesh

 

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Topics: welded wire mesh, turtle fence, galvanized after, 12.5 gauge, woven wire mesh

Wrap Your Pallets Of Stones With Wire Mesh For Safety

March 12, 2010 | by Duncan Page

Shifting stones no more! 

stone pallet wrapped with woven wire mesh 

Carting rocks around from one place to another can be a risky business. And yet you need to get them from the source to the dealer and then ultimately to the job site.

Control Your Rocks

You pile them on a pallet, but how do you keep them from rolling around? How do you make sure they don't roll off the truck and smash onto a passing vehicle? How do you safely restrain them?

Holding Rocks using Wire Mesh

Have peace of mind as you roll along. Be free from worry, knowing that your stones are securely wrapped in wire mesh. They will reach their destination without incident.

What wire meshes are used to wrap stone pallets?

      • Woven wire mesh - 20 gauge, 18 gauge, 16 gauge, 12-1/2 gauge
          • 1", 1-1/2", 2" hexagonal mesh
          • 2" x 2", 2" x 4" "square" mesh
          • galvanized before, galvanized after and vinyl coated finish
      • Welded wire mesh - 16 gauge, 14 gauge, 12-1/2 gauge, 11 gauge, 10-1/2 gauge
          • mesh sizes: 1/2" x 1/2", 1/2" x 1", 1/2" x 2", 1/2" x 3", 1" x 1"
          • mesh sizes: 1" x 2", 1-1/2" x 1-1/2", 2" x 2", 3" x 2", 1-1/2" x 4", 2" x 4"
          • galvanized before, galvanized after and vinyl coated finish
How safe do you want to be?
 
Red Dump Truck Near Filed Rocks Under Cloudy Sky
 
Welded Wire Mesh

 

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Topics: wire mesh, welded wire mesh, pallet wraps, woven wire mesh

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