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How to protect livestock from predators. When you keep animals, eventually you will run across something that wants to eat them. From chickens to goats, from sheep to cows, they are all on the menu for some wild critter. You want to make sure that you keep your animals safe, after all they won’t be able to fill your needs if they end up a coyote snack.
How to protect livestock from predators.
Your first line of defense is your fence. Make sure your fence is strong enough to keep the bad animals out and the good animals in. You also need to make sure that your fence is high enough so that predators can not just jump over the fence.
Another consideration is at the bottom of the fence. If it is easy to dig under the fence you can bet that you will find missing or dead critters due to varmint infiltration. It maybe necessary to add an string of barb wire or maybe a live wire on the top of your fence for those extra pushy predators.
I like using a solar charger with a live wire, they are very useful and versatile. Without a solar charger it is hard to get electricity to the fence so in that situation I recommend some barb wire. No power needed just stretch your fence and your done.
Another great way to protect you livestock would be the use of guardian animals. The most common guardian animal would be a dog, specifically the Great Pyrenees breed of dog. I have seen thees dogs in action and it is a sight to behold. I heard of good guardian dogs giving their lives in the protection of a chicken.
There are many other breeds that will do a good job of protecting your life stock, the Great Pyrenees is just the most common I have seen in use.
The use of guardian dogs goes way back in human history, but there are some things to consider when choosing a guardian animal.
- A dog can turn and go after an animal although, not common this can happen. The dog will take different feed than your animals.
- You will need to plan for the storage and also how you are going to feed. This means that you will have to visit this property at least once a day.
- With proper training most dogs can be a guardian assuming they have a good drive and of course the proper size to them, do not expect a chihuahua or Yorkie to be able to fend off any real threat.
We are currently working with a rescue dog that is a pit mix, and he is doing wonderful. One of the most important factors seems to be starting young. So get them small and work with them a lot.
Dogs are not the only guardian animals out there they are just the most popular for a small homestead. Many folks use other animals as guards. One good choice would be a llama, they are very protective and can get extremely aggressive.
There are many perks to llamas as guardians, such as feed, your lama will be able to feed on pasture, so you will not have to put in any extra inputs to maintain your guardian.
I have not used one myself but I hear that mules also make a great guardian also, but there again I have no experience with this. One of our close friends use a goose as a guard, this seems fairly effective, but for some predators a goose would just be a snack instead of a deterrent.
If you are being plagued with predator attacks, you may have to take a more proactive approach. I recommend having some traps around,they are very useful for all kinds of smaller critters.
I will give you fair warning, if you catch a skunk, it is best to throw a blanket over the trap before you approach it, and be sure its a blanket you don’t mind getting rid of if need be. That way if the skunk sprays it won’t get all over you.
In order to effectively deal with predators you really need to know what your up against. I use a trail cam to find out what has been harassing my livestock. Most cameras will come with a way to hang them up, but just in case you may want to snag some small bungee cords they work wonderful to wrap around all kinds of items.
When choosing a place to hang up your cam remember that anyone can remove a bungee cord and take you camera so it is best to put your gear up in a spot that most people won’t see it.
Trail cams need power to run and I have found that instead of dealing with some of the solar options it is much easier to get a bunch of rechargeable batteries. Most cameras will run on AA batteries which is wonderful because all kinds of other devices use the same batteries.
Get your self a battery charger and at least enough batteries to have a set in the cam and a set in your charger. The majority of trail cameras will not come with a memory card so remember to get one the larger the card the more pics it can take but I find that an 8 gig card will be enough for most tasks.
Once the threat has been identified then you can start forming a plan on how to eliminate it, whether it is trapping and removing it elsewhere or something more drastic. Be sure to take a look at your local laws before going to far, I know that coyotes are considered varmints in my state so to dispatch one all I need is a hunting license no other tags are needed, but that may be different in the area that you live.
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