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Asking for ideas on how to "manage" coyotes

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by soarwitheagles, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. Dec 24, 2015
    soarwitheagles

    soarwitheagles Loving the herd life

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    Hi and happy holidays to all!

    We live in Central Valley, CA. We just recently began our adventure with ranching and farming. We live on a 15+ acre ranch. Our /neighbors/friends have a large flock of the American Blackbelly sheep. But they lost 17 baby lambs in 3 weeks to coyotes.

    We live about 5 miles from them. We would like to avoid losing any lambs. I have only seen one coyote on our ranch. He was nearly waist high, and each time I saw him, he was moving east to west, in the late afternoon in back of our property, in the forest area. I have seen lots of evidence of coyote or other predator kills in the back forest area...piles of chicken feathers all the time, etc. I have also found holes in the ground with evidence of animal activity. Not sure if it is a coyote den...

    Out of absolute necessity, we keep all our chickens in a coop that is completely surrounded by chicken wire. When a friend gave us 15 free range chickens we thought we would do an "experiment." Our "experiment" lasted less than two weeks. Every chicken was brutally killed, often in different manners. So that could have also been hawks, owls, skunks, possums, etc.

    Our new flock of sheep have lots of pregnant ewes. So we really want to keep out sheep safe now.

    Here are some of the specifics that we have done. Please let me know if there is more that we can do.

    1. Installed no climb horse fencing in the areas the ewes will give birth.
    2. Will install barbed wire on top of the no climb horse fencing this next week.
    3. Will install a photo sensor barn light high up on a pole to light up the entire coral area next week.
    4. Installed many, many high definition security cameras with IR and motion detection everywhere throughout the property. In the event of a coyote taking a lamb, we will be able to see exactly what occurred.
    5. Keep a shotgun, handgun, and rifle ready at all times.

    Here are some of the suggestions that friends and neighbors have given us:

    1. Purchase and include a lama in the flock.
    2. Purchase and include an Alpaca in the flock.
    3. Purchase and allow to bond a baby herd dog [I would like to avoid this option for now. One of our neighbor's son's was terrible mauled by a lose herd dog two years ago. The settlement was $300,000].

    Well, that is our situation here now.

    Open to any and all suggestions.
     
    DutchBunny03 likes this.
  2. Dec 24, 2015
    chiques chicks

    chiques chicks Loving the herd life

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    I'm personally not a fan of barbed wire as a deterrent, no experience, just leery of it. I would use high and low strands of hot wire to deter predators.

    Coyote are wary animals. You will probably find the shotgun and handgun of limited use on them due to limited range. A rifle with a good scope is better. Something larger than a .22. More like a .222 or .243 with good range, flat trajectory, and energy.

    I'm not sure alpacas are great as protection. Again, no experience with them and have read articles going both ways. I know the local alpaca farms treat them as prey animals, not protection animals. Lamas are better protection animals, as I understand it.

    A local friend had a meat duck pen attacked last winter by coyote. They had a four foot fence. With a foot or so of snow on the ground, the coyote simply jumped it. Several nights. A case of "lead poisoning" was their only solution.

    SSS. ;)

    (shoot, shovel, shut up, for those who don't know)
     
  3. Dec 24, 2015
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    Welcome to BYH! :frow

    The following are Livestock Guardian Animals.
    They are your most effective deterrents.

    Donkey
    Llama
    Livestock Guardian Dog (many breeds)

    Alpacas are not guardians, most use a LGD (Dog) to guard alpacas.
    There is a difference between a Livestock Guardian dog and a Herd dog and a farm dog.

    Since you are not there often I would not recommend a LGD unless already trained. LGD breeds take time, and training and are a very unique animal. They are not like pet/house dogs. Many are very friendly and can be very social however their field is their field. PERIOD.

    We have 11 Livestock Guardians (Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, and Pyr/Toli crosses) ... if they come out of their field they will love you to death! (except 2) BUT in their field it is a different story. It is their job.

    Again the LGD is not for everyone.

    Llamas do well with sheep.

    Barbed wire is a bad idea. Hotwire is best. On top, down at the bottom.
     
  4. Dec 24, 2015
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Moderator

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    Barbed wire won't stop coyotes, wolves, mountain lions. You'll need hot wire, high and low as mentioned above. Fencing and hot wire should almost always be your first choice. It's a one (long term) time investment, not only to keep the bad critters out, but to keep the good critters in. Keep in mind that a coyote can jump straight up about 4-5 feet if it needs to. After that, you could consider a donkey or llama (less expense for food as they can range with the other livestock) or LGD's. Anywhere you were considering putting barbed wire, you should consider putting hot wire.

    @Southern by choice is a LGD guru and there are a number of threads in the livestock guardian forum that you can peruse. There are even some older threads dealing specifically with coyotes... and LGDs. If you are dealing with a pack of predators, a single LGD is NOT your best bet... you'll need 2 or more.

    You should also have a good rifle as someone else stated above. All these predators are quite familiar with humans and normally will keep their distance. A shot gun, aside from not being a long range weapon, is NOT a good idea if you're trying to take down one animal in among a bunch of livestock. Chances are you'll end up hitting the livestock as well. A 223 or 243 size caliber will be deadly to the target without as much issues with passing through and killing additional animals on the down range side. If you aren't comfortable/accurate using it, PRACTICE until you are.

    The only way/time you might need a handgun would be if you had LGDs in a fight with a group of coyotes and you had to go in and assist from relatively close range. A pack of coyotes can and have killed LGDs, as well as farm dogs, herding dogs, and other farm animals. As a pack they are especially dangerous and deadly.
     
    soarwitheagles and Baymule like this.
  5. Dec 24, 2015
    Bossroo

    Bossroo True BYH Addict

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    My across the street neighbor has 30 ewes, 2 rams, + their lambs. He has 5 foot wowen wire fence with 2 strands of barbed wire on top and one at the ground. He has a border collie and now coyote killed Rottwieler ( all he found was it's head and hide ), Doberman Pincher, and 2 very large mongrels. He looses one to 2 dozen lambs and a couple ewes every year. He tried a gelded donkey with his flock untill he killed a dozen young lambs. I raised a commercial herd of over 200 ewes and 30 purebred Suffolk ewes ( for range ram sales) with several Border Collies and McNabbs as herders/ guard dogs and I had .222 for SSS. My ranch was in N. Cal. with very low coyote population. While I lost some to predation, eventually the coyotes paid with their lives. For 15 acres and living off site... A no climb fence will not deter a coyote as they will jump it, dig under it, or climb it as their paws are small enough so they can climb that ladder. Barb wire will not deter a coyote eather. What I would recommend is at least a 5 ft wowen wire fence, with additional HIGH JOLT wire ( enough to send you flying 10' through the air and well posted with "electrified fence " at all 4 sides and every 20- 30 feet of the property as a defence against any dumb person or rustler in case of a law suit ) at the bottom and one in the middle , and 2 at the top. ALSO ... spray Roundup ( in spite of some that have a problem with herbicides/ pesticides as it is a very good insurance agaisnt losses of livestock ) all around the fence line at least 3 feet on both sides of the fence to kill ALL vegetation which will help you to identify any predator activity much easier as well as to keep track of any sagging of the electric wire and weeds shorting out the wire. Lights and security cameras will help with identifying areas to keep a good eye out for predators and/ or rustlers so that you can take extra precautions. . As for lamas, I have heard good as well as bad reports on them. A .222 or .243 would be my choice as a handgun or shotgun are better suited for short range only. Alpacas are a waste of time and resourses. A couple of well trained LGDs would be an asset. Again, post the property with guard dog signs for any legal defence if needed. Have fun ! :D =D
     
  6. Dec 25, 2015
    soarwitheagles

    soarwitheagles Loving the herd life

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    Bossroos,

    Thank you for sharing. It appears as if these coyotes can be quite vicious!

    Ok, I will head to TS later this week and check out the various HIGH JOLT electric wire fencing. I will also look for the warning signs and we already have gallons of the Roundup.

    I hear you on the .223. We have a couple of the Ruger Ranch .223's and will keep them ready too.

    Thanks again for sharing.
    Southern by choice,

    Excellent post with lots of great into. Thank you. Wow, you sure have a lot of dogs there! You must have a lot of livestock.

    For now, we were hoping to try other methods than the LGD/livestock guardians.
     
  7. Dec 25, 2015
    soarwitheagles

    soarwitheagles Loving the herd life

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    Thanks for sharing more accurate info. Yes, I hear you on the .223's. LGD's are not an option at the present time. I suppose the electric fence, vigilance, and using firearms are the options we will start with. I plan on going to the DFGW soon and inquiring about all legal options.

    I also hear you on using the correct weaponry. My wife and I have been more well trained than most law enforcement officers and military, so we feel confident [but not proud or arrogant] that we can select and use the correct weapon for the appropriate circumstance. The reason I included shotgun and handgun in the list was because earlier in the year I was attached by wild dogs [pitbull] at close quarters. I was caught by myself in the back forest area and the darn pitbull would not let up. If I moved backward, he came at me. If I moved forward, we would put his head down and back up only a few inches. My preference was the shotgun with the handgun for back up purposes. To be honest with you, I am not sure how bold these coyotes might become. It sure would be nice if they do not come around at all, but if they do, the Ranch Ruger .223 are incredibly accurate [1 inch POI] up to and beyond 100 yards. Will use it to take care of business if we must.

    chiques chicks,

    LOL, I like your choice of words "lead poisoning" for the solution. Using the electric fence and being ready with weaponry appears to be a pattern of advice at this forum. I choose to go that route for now.

    Thanks again everyone for your time, advice, and kindness.

    Happy Holidays to all!
     
    mysunwolf and Latestarter like this.
  8. Dec 25, 2015
    secuono

    secuono Herd Master

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    Do not use prey animals as protection animals. Google it to see the horrific end results.

    Hot wire, very hot. Strand at the ground, strand at the top. Barbed wire does nothing.

    They will get used to the light and sound machines, so they will soon be useless.

    Keeping the flock in the barn at night can help some.

    Chicken wire is junk, if they really want the chickens, they will easily shred it. Add hot wire to it.

    Several adult, proven LGDs will help a ton. One or two isn't enough, a pack of coyotes can split them up and kill the dogs. Puppies and teen dogs are also no good.
     
    soarwitheagles likes this.
  9. Dec 25, 2015
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    Knowing the level of predator threat is important.
    Some areas the threat is very low, some very high.

    When we interview for one of our dogs, and this should include those interviewing for donkeys and llamas, we look at many factors. Area size, predator type, level, and other deterrent factors.

    Here in our neck not too many "packs" of coyotes... generally they hunt alone. However next door is a cattle farm and the past few years they have have serious increase... because of the size of animals (calves) they come in larger numbers. 7 miles down the road they are traveling in packs of 7-10 suddenly... coyotes are increasing in numbers here for whatever reason.

    Generally at night is when predators are most active-when you sleep- guns are great but the animal is already maimed or dead by the time you get there.

    Sometimes people go through serious overkill and they have so little predator issue it really is unnecessary.

    Before going through extreme expense learn your land.

    We don't have a great deal of land but we do have a team or trio in each field. Each team is strategically matched. We have never had loss of poultry, geese, turkeys, or goats. Actually a few turkeys but that was because they were NOT in the areas covered by the dogs. We have had livestock theft prevented on more than one occasion.

    Because dogs are not a good option for you, llamas would be a good second choice. Donkeys do seem to have more issues.

    Merry Christmas to you both! It will be fun to watch your farm grow! How exciting! :)
     
    soarwitheagles likes this.
  10. Dec 25, 2015
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Loving the herd life

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    IMO you see the predator increases here in the East because of the great food supply! I'm in VA, Southern -- and only a few miles from NC line. The deer and small game in these areas are very well fed with the general crops grown -- they love the corn, soybeans, milo, winter wheat -- and huge areas of cropland. Being very opportunistic hunters, they go for the young livestock that is already penned for them. When feed is available the coyote breed more, as opposed to when the times are tough for them.

    We used to have a lot of fox and had seen coyote once. Last year the neighbor behind has advised that there isn't much threat of them as "target practice" was going real well !! And, haven't seen one in a long, long time. Seems the skunks are thinned out, too.
    :p