1. Get Guardian Animals
Dogs, llamas, and donkeys are all great guardian animals. They help to protect livestock and reduce the stress on the herd. Less stress helps the herd to gain weight.
Choosing the right guardian animal will depend on your layout, which predators you mostly deal with, and your needs. There are also “non-guardian” animals such as the barn cat that help to keep rodents down which in turn help to protect your chicken eggs. Roosters also will alert you to dangers in the coop. Do your research and determine which guardians you need for your specific farm.
When you’re ready to introduce your guardian animals to your herd, you’ll want to make sure that you start them out young so that they learn what their job is. While dogs are the most common guardian animals, they tend to maintain the same sleep schedule as the household and work well with animals if they’re properly taught. Llamas and donkeys will reside with the livestock. Their sense of aggression toward intruders makes them the perfect 24/7 protectors from predators. Do your research to ensure that you’re choosing the best guardian for your needs. Don’t put donkeys in with dogs, they dislike them and that’s why donkeys are ideal against wolves and coyotes.
2. Buddy System
If you own multiple grazing animals like goats and cows, allow them to graze together, there’s safety in numbers plus, the size of the cows can be a deterrent to any predators that may try to target the smaller-sized goats. Herd animals naturally bunch together. It’s an ideal mechanism for how they work together to protect themselves from predators. Predators prefer moving targets and they don’t tend to rush a herd if they’re bunched together.
It’s very challenging to create predator-proof fencing. Many predators like coyotes simply squeeze through small gaps or they jump the fence. Birds of prey will attack from above. There are some fencing solutions that may help you such as mesh wire electric fencing. This requires less maintenance and allows a better barrier than a single or a multi-strand electric fence. Living fences also offer a more solid solution as well as a great windbreak and they help to prevent soil erosion. To deter birds from chickens, create webs of fishing line over the coop and hang old CDs as reflectors to scare them away. Consider motion lights as well as alarms to help scare predators away. If you are looking for security fencing see here.
4. Switch It Up
Change how you run your business. This is also a great way to prevent predators from invading your property. Change where you graze your herd and move the livestock frequently to throw predators who may be stalking them off course. Learn the predator’s pattern and you can work around them. Coyotes typically prefer the spring and summer to attack so be warier of them during that time. When they have pups and are searching for food they are more likely to bother the herd. Try timing livestock birthing around the predators birthing to give babies a better chance of survival. Understanding the way the predator’s mind works will go far in helping you to bet them at their own game.