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Guard llama protects Ohio sheep flock
By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
Ohio Correspondent

CAMDEN, Ohio — Frank and Marcia House have a flock of sheep. Coyotes frequently ravaged the herd. The sheep needed some kind of protection, so the Houses bought a llama.

“For years it worked perfectly,” Marcia said. “Then we lost a lamb because when we weaned the lambs we had to use two pens. We got another llama to guard the young lambs.”

After the lambs were gone they couldn’t put the two llamas together because they would fight. One llama was alone.

“They’re herd creatures and it needed something,” Marcia said. “He would stand out there and watch the sheep and the other llama. You could tell he was so lonely and wanted to be with them.”

Then a doe was killed on the road - it had a fawn. The llama was pastured near the road and the fawn would stay nearby.

“It still had so many spots, it was little,” Marcia said. “Gradually they came together and the fawn became the llama’s new thing to protect and he did it for a year. The deer never jumped a fence; it would stay in the pen with the llama.”

That went on for a year. Then in the springtime Frank opened the gate when he was moving cattle. The deer went out the gate and never came back ... until:

“It’s interesting because last spring there was a deer - we never have deer around the house because they’ve got so much in the back to eat - but there was one that ate the rhododendron, and ate all the flowers,” Marcia said.

When Frank fed the domestic turkeys, this deer would wag its tail and not run away.

“The llama’s name was Rocky,” Marcia said. “We called the little fawn Bullwinkle. But we noticed that this deer has a new fawn so evidently it wasn’t a Bullwinkle at all - it was a girl. It’s still around and they love the flowers.”

This farm news was published in the Sept. 27, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

9/27/2006