Best way to keep calves safe?

cjc

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We have 3 Livestock guard dogs. Coyotes are terrible here. If we didn't have the dogs, we wouldn't have sheep. There are two cougars working the area. Our dogs, all the neighborhood dogs were going nuts late one night, a cougar was screaming VERY close to our place-between us and a neighbor.

Have you considered livestock guard dogs?
No. I haven’t. Well I guess I have always known it’s possible but I really don’t want another dog haha. I have 2 very old ones and they take up way too much time. With a 2 year old. But we just bought a new place and are building a house and I think when it’s done next spring I will add a donkey. I have heard they are good for that as well.
 

Baymule

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Donkeys come with their own set of problems. Some will attack and kill newborns because they aren't members of the herd. Some will attack breeding animals, some will allow wholesale massacre to take place as long as they themselves are not threatened. Some do make good pasture guards and are quite good at it. It's a coin toss.
 

cjc

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Donkeys come with their own set of problems. Some will attack and kill newborns because they aren't members of the herd. Some will attack breeding animals, some will allow wholesale massacre to take place as long as they themselves are not threatened. Some do make good pasture guards and are quite good at it. It's a coin toss.


I guess the part I like about a donkey is I would like one even if they were a dud haha. We had one on my parents farm for years. He passed away at 40 years old just last winter. We have always wanted to replace him but we have actually had a really hard time finding one. Id like a standard size...not a mini. But he was great. I don't know if I could of called him a livestock guardian but everything was scared of him haha and he was sweet as pie.
 

TXFarmGirl

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I raise bottle calves in the same area that I raise my sheep herd. My entire sheep herd got killed by coyotes. I have never lost a calf. We have coyotes, deer, cougars, bobcats, etc. Never lost one.
That is horrible, I’m so so sorry! Thank you for the advice..
 

TXFarmGirl

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Thank you everybody for the ideas! My daughter really didn’t want another dog to raise either, but she just decided if she was going to have animals of any kind, she was going to need protection for them, so she got an LGD puppy, and Sheera the pup was the best decision she made for her business. That puppy is amazing. She loves her livestock, knows her job, does perimeter checks constantly, and doesn’t rely on us at all. It’s incredible. We will post an update if they get some calves. Thanks again everybody.
 

WyoLiving

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Why don't you have the kids ask at the 4-H meeting how the others in the group raise and protect their calves from predators. I would be surprised if there wasn't someone there with good information and that info is actually for your location.
 

farmerjan

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Glad she got the puppy and is so happy with it. Hope it continues to work out as good!!!! I think that the kids will learn that the calves will be less at risk from the "wild predators" , than possibly from "domestic" predators. Our worst problems are from the "packs of dogs" that have killed our sheep/ run the pregnant ewes to exhaustion, attacked them. We do have some coyote problems here for the animals, have lost a couple of newborn calves within 24 hrs of birth one year...... but most are pretty wary of people if there are alot of human smells around the animals. Being in and out with the calves will be a great deterrent. When we have beef cows calving, it is totally different than being in and out of a pen, handling calves that are "hand-raised".....
I hope the kids get some calves of whatever size, and have a good time raising them. Keep us updated. Most all of us do like to see young people get "into" livestock.
 

farmerjan

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Just another thought. We have had both donkeys and llamas. Have no qualms to get more of either. The llama stayed with the baby calves on the beef cows, like a baby sitter. The donkey bonded better with the sheep, one hated the baby lambs but was great with the ones weaned and half grown. The other preferred the ewes with the lambs. They all have their own dispositions. Have a pair of jennys running with the yearling sheep; had a pair of llamas, females, that were awesome with the flock of sheep at another place.
 

Ridgetop

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You did not say what your kids are raising the calves for in 4h.
If veal you wil meed bottle calves 1/2 dairy at least They go to auction at 300 lbs max. 3 months old. Tricky because most dairy bulls don’t get colostrum. Most dairies don’t sell heifers.
If as a replacement heifer you need a breed that will sell in your area, either beef or dairy purebred not necessarily pedigreed.
If beef buy an older yearling. Trying to raise a beef for exhibition and auction at fair from a bottle is unrealistic.
We raised a lot of bottle calves but we had an unlimited milk supply from our show herd of dairy goats. Even with colostrum and raw goat milk we lost our share of calves. They can be delicate and die fast. You have to know what to watch for.
 
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