Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 12:22 UK

Guard llamas save lambs from fox

The llamas were introduced after 70 lambs a year were lost

Two llamas introduced to the grounds of a West Sussex mansion to guard its flock of sheep have saved the lives of dozens of lambs, their owner believes.

Richard Burrows put the animals in with his 300 ewes at Danny House, Hurstpierpoint to try to save the 70 lambs being killed by foxes every year.

"We are delighted - they have had a very significant impact. This year we lost only about 35 lambs," he said.

"We have no evidence of them attacking the foxes - they scare them away."

Mr Burrows bought the Elizabethan house four years ago as a family home to run as retirement apartments.

"We set up the flock of sheep to try to conserve the landscape, which is an integral part of the house," he said.

"We ended up having a big problem with lambs being attacked and killed by foxes at night."

He first tried to protect the sheep with alpacas, but has found the llamas more effective.

"These llamas are fairly formidable - they have long legs and strut around the fields looking like guards.

"I think they develop a paternal feeling for the lambs.

"You need to keep the foxes away and this is a nice environmentally-friendly way to do it."

Mr Burrows said he first thought about using llamas after reading an article in the National Sheep Association magazine.

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