Farm Animals
Young pygmy goat being held by child

How to keep Goats Safe from Coyotes



Young pygmy goat being held by child
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"How to keep Goats Safe from Coyotes"
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Whether they be pets or are simply livestock, the loss of a goat due to predation by coyotes is never desired. There are several methods of keeping goats safe that every owner should be aware of.

-Guard Animals-

Donkeys are one of the animals best known for guarding goats against coyotes. The large minis, and standard donkeys, being intimidating and many have a strong natural dislike for canines. Donkeys are alert and curious, their direct approach towards a coyote will usually cause it to back away. If not, most donkeys are swift kickers and have been known to kill coyotes.

Llamas, and to a lesser extent, alpacas, are also used as guard animals. With llamas, alpacas, and donkeys it is often the gelded males who are the best guard animals, and it is best if only one of any species is kept with the goats. If a keeper has two llamas, for example, the llamas will hang around together and not necessarily stick with the goats. Being tall and bold a llama can often stop an approaching coyote simply by being there.

Guard dogs are another option. Certain breeds such as the Anatolian Guard dog and the Great Pyrenees dog are two of the best known for guarding goats. It is important to buy from a reputable breeder who has raised the pups with either sheep or goats so they have bonded with these animals.

-Fencing-

One of the problems with goats in general, is that they climb most fences, or sneak under them. As a rule if a goat can sneak under a fence, so can a coyote, so it is important to check fences regularly. Stucco wire has holes small enough not to allow coyotes through but is too costly to use on anything other than small pens. The same applies to chain link fences which are even more costly than stucco wire. A strip of barbed wire at the bottom of a fence can help to stop coyotes from going under but is not fool proof against a hungry predator.

-Shelter-

Putting the goats into a barn at night when most predation problems occur is the most secure defense. The barn doors should shut tight so as to not let a coyote squeeze through, although few will try to enter a barn. Goats should absolutely be kept in when they are due to have their kids. This is the time they are most at risk as the smell of birthing attracts predators. Dispose of afterbirth immediately and keep the area clean.

-Lighting-

Many people think farm lighting will help keep their animals safe. Sometimes this is not the case as the goats eyes adjust to the light and they cannot see out into the darkness, but the coyotes can easily see into the light where the goats are. Rather it may be best to have no lights and keep all animals on fair terms. In this way the goats can see pretty well under starlight.

-Alternative Methods-

Coyotes are scared of tall things. It is fairly easy for an adult human to walk towards a coyote and have it flea. By raising arms, or holding something in the air, it is even easier to scare them off. As such patrolling ones property regularly and scaring away intruders might help.

Radios may be used to keep coyotes away but the sound of them may also hide an approaching predator. If radios are to be used they should be tuned to a talk radio station.

Some people will advocate shooting or poisoning coyotes, but their population tends to remain constant irregardless. This means if several are killed those remaining are allowed by the pack to have more pups in the future, but when they are left to their own devices coyotes do not have as many pups, as some females are not allowed to have pups.

Understanding that coyotes need to eat, and most predation happens in the winter when food is scarce, some producers will actually feed coyotes in the winter. They usually get bones and such from butchers and feed this far from where their animals are kept. This is not without debate.

Use of wolf urine to keep coyotes away is also debated. It must be applied frequently as it will come off in the rain, and its effectiveness cannot be easily proven.

-Summary-

All in all the best defense against coyote predation is for keepers to be aware of the risks and use one or more methods to keep coyotes at bay.

 

More about this author: Brenda Nelson

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