In the springtime, many small types of stock such as goats and sheep produce their offspring. This is also the time of year when coyotes tend to prowl and look for mates. The combination of these two events can lead to catastrophe. In this article, we discuss ways that you can keep coyotes off your farm. Read on to learn more about this aspect of the farm security.
What You'll Learn Today
- 1 16 Facts About Coyotes
- 2 Combine Livestock Protection Ideas For Best Results
- 3 Avoid Attracting Coyotes
- 4 Avoid Cruel, Dangerous Deterrents
16 Facts About Coyotes
In order to successfully deal with coyotes, it’s helpful to understand them. Here are some important concepts to keep in mind when working to keep coyotes away from your stock.
1. Coyotes may travel in packs, but they may also exist as solitary floaters.
2. Packs of coyotes tend to live within a radius of 2 square miles. Solitary floaters tend to live within a 30 mile radius.
3. If you can hear coyotes yipping in your area, they are close enough to do you some damage.
4. Coyotes tend to prey upon small animals such as dogs and cats, poultry, goats, sheep, piglets, calves and foals.
5. These animals are not entirely carnivorous. They will also eat various types of crops including watermelon, apples, corn and others.
6. The alpha males and females of a pack are usually the individuals which kill livestock. They don’t do this for fun. They do it to feed their young.
7. Coyote tracks are distinctive in that they are not is rounded as the tracks of a dog or a wolf. Additionally, their rear feet are significantly smaller than their front feet.
8. Coyotes rest during the day and hunt at night.
9. Coyotes weigh between 25 pounds and 40 pounds.
10. Coyotes mate for life.
11. Coyotes breed annually, early in the springtime.
12. Coyote gestation period is about two months.
13. Litters typically consist of 4 to 7 puppies. Occasionally, a litter may contain as many as 15 puppies.
14. When there has been a sharp decrease in coyote population, litters tend to be larger.
15. Coyotes are relatively short-lived. Less than half the puppies born actually survive to adulthood. Adults typically do not live to be older than three years of age.
16. Coyotes are quite smart, observant, cautious and very elusive.
Combine Livestock Protection Ideas For Best Results
Because coyotes are smart, observant, cautious and elusive, keeping them away from your crops, pets and livestock can be very challenging. They learn and adapt fast, so it’s smart to have an varied bag of tricks to use against them.
Here are five proven ideas to try:
1. Add a guard animal
Guard animals can be very effective in keeping coyotes away from your livestock. Some choices in guard animals include:
- Large herding dogs
The trick to success with any of these animals lies in having them bond with the sheep, goats or other stock you need guarded.
Remember that coyotes are the size of a medium sized dog, so your guard dog should be large. The best dogs for herd protection include:
- Great Pyrenees
Large mixed breed dogs can also be used, but it’s important to remember that any type of dog intended as a guard dog should be introduced to the herd before it reaches two months of age. This will help ensure good bonding.
Llamas and donkeys have a strong, natural hatred of coyotes and will chase them off whenever they see them. If the coyote is not fast enough, a donkey or a llama will trample it and kill it.
When using donkeys or llamas as guard animals, you must be careful to keep your dogs away from your flock, or you may end up losing them because donkeys and llamas may not like them any more than they do coyotes.
Additionally, be advised that occasionally a donkey or a llama may aggress against your stock. It’s important to start with a young guard animal that will bond with your sheep, goats, poultry or other stock.
Donkeys and other guard animals:
2. Put up strong, tall fencing
Good fences make good neighbors and good protection for your crops and your stock. The key to good coyote fencing is to make sure that it comes in contact with the ground or is even slightly buried at all points. It should also be quite high because coyotes are good jumpers.
Adding an electric wire low to the ground on the outside of the fence will also help prevent coyotes muscling their way through. A strand of barbed wire at the top will prevent them from being able to jump over effectively. This type of fencing will also keep deer out of your crops.
3. Chemical and natural repellents have mixed results
Coyote repellents may be effective, but cannot be relied on entirely. Adding repellent to your other efforts may be helpful.
Some examples of repellents include strong smelling chemical solutions or the more natural bear or wolf urine. Spraying one of these solutions around the perimeter of your property can’t hurt, and it may help.
Department Of Wildlife Offers Tips To Keep Coyotes Away
4. Lights, noise and action may scare coyotes away
Because coyotes are so cautious, unexpected noises, motions and lights can deter them. If you hear coyotes yipping in your area, you may be able to frighten them from a distance by blasting an air horn whenever you hear them.
Keeping a talk radio station playing in your barn at night may trick them (somewhat) into thinking that there are people talking in your barn and may cause them to give the area a wide berth. This may not last for long though.
It’s important to mix up your audio and visual deterrents so that the coyotes do not become to used to them. Other ideas include motion activated alarms, water sprays, frightening sounds and the like.
Just remember that it’s important to change and vary these deterrents frequently so that the coyotes don’t become accustomed to whatever happens when they come near.
5. Defend individual animals
In small flocks, sheep or goats can be outfitted with collars containing a bitter tasting substance that will discourage coyotes if they are able to make it to the animals and attack.
They typically go into the throat for the kill. Collars may also be equipped with a poison solution which will kill the coyote if it attacks, but use of poison is always a risky business and may have unintended consequences.
Avoid Attracting Coyotes
In addition to protecting your livestock, be sure you aren’t inadvertently encouraging coyotes to come to your property with sloppy habits. For example:
- Keep garbage cans secured in a locked shed until it is almost time for your trash to be picked up.
- Be sure that your garbage can is strong and sturdy and has a tightly fitting lid.
- Don’t allow discarded birdseed to pile up around your birdfeeders, and keep the birdfeeders up high so that coyotes cannot get to them.
- Keep your pets indoors at night, and accompany your small pets when they go out during the day.
- Avoid leaving water dishes out in your yard for your pets.
- Secure your compost by keeping it in locked bins.
- Don’t leave dog or cat food out overnight.
- Keep cats indoors at all times.
Backyard Monsters: Coyote Deterrents
Avoid Cruel, Dangerous Deterrents
In some states, it is permissible to put out bait containing sodium cyanide; however, this is an ineffective and reckless solution as it can also kill domestic animals and beneficial wildlife.
Of course, in some areas hunting may be permitted. If it’s done in a sane, safe and sportsmanlike manner, it may be warranted. Leg trapping is cruel and despicable and is never acceptable.
Overall, it’s important to understand that killing coyotes is not really an effective way to deal with them. Additionally, in sensible numbers, coyotes are valuable predators of pest animals such as rats, mice and rabbits.
Remember that when you kill off and disrupt members of a pack, floaters quickly move into their territory and begin a new pack. Also, remember that when coyote population takes a blow, birth rates adjust to make up for it.
For these reasons, it is wiser and more effective to discourage and deflect coyotes than to kill them.