A farm, especially one as big as La Donaira has many species and different encompassing ecosystems. We have our domesticated livestock living alongside wild species and predators. In our mountainous area our predators include various species of birds of prey, mongeese, foxes and wild boars. In keeping with our ethos of sustainability and not poisoning our land we use livestock guardians to aide us with our work. Below are some images of the highly intelligent animals that work so diligently in keeping our herds safe.
90% Spanish Mastiff who protects our sheep and goats from predators. Wild boars are mostly omnivorous but are known to attack small goats and sheep in Australia. They are competitors for certain food supplies such as acorns and will try to get in to the electric fenced livestock paddocks to get their fill if they are hungry- normally by eating the supplemental feed we leave for our animals.
Our newest puppy on the farm. Also a Spanish Mastiff, he is 3 months old. He was placed within the chicken’s paddock at 45 days old so he could bond and socialize with the flock. Ortega, who is in charge of the farm-animal operation is training him to scan the fence lines for birds of prey, foxes, mongeese and boars. When he is older he will be taught to tangle with the predators if need be. Mastiff’s always stick close to their flock or herd and are known for fearlessly fighting a predator to death to defend their herd.
- Geese Flock
We have a flock of geese guarding our poultry, and they have been used as guardian animals for centuries. They are extremely territorial and their piercing honks are excellent alarms. With better eyesight than dogs and exceptional hearing they are perfect for deterring predators at any time of the day.
- The “Hotel Garden” Gang of 4
The dogs ensuring our crops are safe are Gitano and Penelope. Also Spanish Mastiff’s, this breed has been exclusively bred as livestock guard animals. They are native to the region of Extremadura in Spain and it is believed they originated from the ancient Molossus dog that can be traced back to 2000 BC. It is believed these dogs were introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Phoenicians who came into contact with these mastiff dogs just through trading with the populations around the Mediterranean basin, particularly those of Asia Minor.
The kittens ensuring our seedlings and young plants are protected are Joan and Adelpha. Joan calls the greenhouse his home and he actively chases mice out that would otherwise eat our seedlings and kill our plants. The newest addition to the Gang is Adelpha, a rescue kitty who lives in the garden field and who helps us deter mice from our crops.
To these animals and those not mentioned in this short piece we want to thank you for providing such a valuable service to our farm.