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The 'guard' alpacas protecting farm's free-range turkeys from killer foxes

Two alpacas stand on guard for foxes. Credit: PA

A herd of alpacas are standing guard over 24,000 free-range turkeys to protect them from fox attacks on a farm in south-east England.

Farmer Tom Copas employed the 10 alpacas to scare off foxes after learning of their natural instinct to guard.

The alpacas, named Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Dasher, Dancer, Donner, Onion, Prancer, Sage and Vixen, get on "very well" with the birds, said a farm's spokesperson.

Alpacas, as well as llamas and donkeys, are used as guard animals around the world. Credit: PA

Mr Copas, owner of Copas Turkeys in Berkshire, made the decision to draft in an alpaca guard following the killing of hundreds of his birds by foxes.

The farm's marketing manager, Dominic Spooner, said: "They tend to stay very close to the birds and they seem to get along very well with them. They just watch them.

Two alpacas stand guard over the 24,000 turkeys. Credit: PA

"It's something in their nature. They're just instinctively guard animals. But they're also very curious and they'll come trotting over if you go into the field."

Alpacas, as well as llamas and donkeys, are used around the world to ward off attacks on livestock by wild and domestic dogs, foxes and coyotes.

Native to South America, alpacas are used around the world to protect livestock. Credit: PA

Native to South America, it is thought that they react aggressively to foxes because they will try to kill unguarded baby alpacas.