Predators on the Farm: Coyote

When we first moved to the country it seemed that everything was new. The longer drive to work. Having a septic in the yard. Using Propane that is stored onsite in a big tank. Quieter neighbors. The air feels different… smells different. The country life is good. But… there’s something else. What’s that horrible sounds of children excitedly and painfully running through the nearby brush. It’s disturbing, unsettling and eery. It’s Coyotes.

Photo Courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2009-Coyote-Yosemite.jpg
Photographer: Yathin S Krishnappa

The sound often is accompanied by the sound of dogs. All the dogs in the area chime in with barking and howling. We have heard horror stories from the neighbors of a time when their dog got “called out” by the coyotes. The coyotes lured the dogs to the edge of safety then attacked the pets. Normally only entrails or tufts of hair remain to give the owners a clue of what happened.

When we first got goats we were completely ignorant. No clue of how to protect our new little family members from these predators. The two little goats went into an area that I carefully fenced in for them. The goats seemed happy. They didn’t get out of the fence, which was my main concern initially.

Here is a short video showing the goats right after we got them. Meet “Sweetie” and “Oreo”.

It wasn’t too many mornings later when I discovered my mistakes. I believe it was on a Sunday morning after returning home from church when we noticed that one of the goats was missing. We looked all over the farm for the missing goat. It was nowhere to be found. The one remaining was noticeably shaken up. After about an hour of looking for the goat my son came to me claiming that he had found her “guts”. I wasn’t too quick to panic because I thought for sure he probably was seeing something else. Nope, I was wrong… he was right. The findings were unmistakably guts… and guts that looked like those from a mammal about the size of a goat. These findings were located near a place along the fence line that looked as if it was dug out. The offenders had dug under the fence and dragged out our little friend, Oreo.

The questions now are “What do I do?” “How do I protect my animals?”

I’m not sure of all the answers, but I hope to figure it out. One method is using Guard Animals.

Some of the farmers around me swear by donkeys. Others say donkeys don’t work and they swear by dogs… particularly the Great Pyrenees. I’ve also heard some say that the Llamas can’t be beat to protect the herd. I think they all probably have their good and bad points.

I, personally, don’t want to invest in and feed another animal at this point. I’m looking into fencing options that will keep them out. After the one goat was taken I woke me up to the fact that my silly little 4 foot barbed wire fence wasn’t gonna do it.

I’ll post updates about my efforts as they happen.

Share your experiences and solutions here in the comments.

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