Berkshire alpacas protect lambs from foxes

The alpacas deter foxes from attacking the lambs

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Alpacas have been lent to a farmer in Berkshire to help protect newborn lambs from foxes.

The animals have been brought in for their guarding instincts and one of them has been spotted apparently helping a newborn to its feet.

Farmer Janet Spiller, from Hurst near Wokingham, asked her friend if she could borrow the alpacas, which appear at country shows and special events.

Ten lambs have now been born and are enjoying their surroundings unharmed.

Ms Spiller, who co-owns the sheep, said she had spotted foxes in hedges near her flock.

Lone horse

She added: "We've only got a small flock... and we knew we had 10 lambs due.

"We were quite keen to make sure we had 10 live lambs at the end of it.

"It's been really interesting to watch these alpacas in action.

Alpaca facts

Alpacas originate from an area of the Andes spanning the borders of Peru, Chile and Bolivia

They are one of the camelid species, closely related to the llama

It is believed that the alpaca and the llama were domesticated more than 6,000 years ago

The alpaca was developed primarily as a fleece-producing animal with meat as a secondary product

Source: The British Alpaca Society

"We've even had one of the young alpacas nudging one of the baby lambs up to its feet which has been incredible."

Nikki Girdler, co-owner of the alpacas, initially got the animals as a companion for a lone horse.

She said: "I think they use them a lot in Australia to guard their sheep, they have this natural guarding instinct.

"They have been known to surround foxes to the extent where they will frighten them away."

The alpacas are set to star at Hurst Horse Show and Country Fayre in June once their protection duties have been completed.

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