Date of Award:

1999

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Fisheries and Wildlife

Advisor/Chair:

Frederick F. Knowlton

Abstract

Predation, especially by canid predators, is a significant cause of sheep loss for many producers. In recent years, the use of llamas to protect sheep from predators has gained recognition as a depredation control method. I conducted a field experiment to test the effectiveness of llamas in reducing canid predation on domestic sheep. Twenty-one llamas were placed with Utah sheep producers. Data collected from these flocks over 20 months were compared to similar data collected from flocks without llamas. Comparisons between treatment and control flocks included (l) proportion of flocks with losses to predators, (2) mean predation rates on ewes and lambs, and (3) lamb predation rate distributions. Two surveys were conducted during the study to assess producer opinions on the inclusion of llamas in their sheep management programs.

In all 3 comparisons of lamb losses between treatments and controls, losses sustained by control flocks in Lambing Season l (LS l) were significantly higher than those of flocks with llamas. Among treatment flocks, losses were similar for LS l and Lambing Season 2 (LS2). Among controls, LS2 losses dropped to the level of treatment flocks. My results suggest predation may have to reach some threshold before guard llamas have an effect on losses. Results of surveys of producers with llamas indicated they support the use of llamas as guard animals for sheep.

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