If you’re raising goats, sheep, chickens, or any other small, vulnerable animals, you need to be aware of any coyotes in the area. Coyotes are deft predators that will monitor a farm or a property for days or weeks before an attack. They’ll find a vulnerability in a fence, or wait until there are no humans around before striking.
It seems like every day there are stories of people who are new to raising chickens or farming goats who lose one or all of their animals to a coyote. They are often solo-attackers that don’t run in packs.
However, they are incredibly smart animals that often find ingenious ways to get into your enclosures and attack your animals.
Coyotes, like many other predators, are predators of opportunity. They are very hesitant to take risks, and would much rather go for a sure thing. If there is enough deterrent, they will think twice about going for your chickens or goats, and likely look somewhere else for their next meal.
Luckily, there are things you can do to keep your goats safe from coyotes without too much trouble. Here are the top 7 ways to protect goats from coyotes.
Coyotes will attack goats as long as they are easy targets. They almost always attack at night when it’s dark outside and everyone is sleeping.
Coyotes are one of the domestic goat’s main predators and they keep farmers and pet goat owners across the country struggling to keep their animals from becoming their next meal.
Coyotes are the size of a medium-sized dog. They’re very athletic animals, with the wiry, muscular build you’d expect from a wild predator. Knowing this, it’s no surprise to learn they are very good jumpers and can scale almost any fence.
With a single leap, a coyote can get three or four feet in the air. They are smart, too, and can climb up higher fences by jumping onto a pole or joist with their hind legs and climbing all the way to the top.
People who own goats often build fences, but they are shocked when they find one or more of their goats has been killed. Fences are a good deterrent, but they shouldn’t be the only thing keeping your goats safe.
Coyotes love to dig. They’ll often dig under a fence rather than jump over it because going under a fence is lower risk. They stay under the cover of the dark. They’re also very determined predators and will spend a lot of time over days and weeks digging their holes to get to your goats.
To prevent coyotes from digging under your fence, you should install a 6-foot wire apron to the fence that will make it too much of a challenge.
- Build a goat pen with a roof – Think of building something like a chicken coop for goats to keep your animals safe. A fenced enclosure with a roof and a wire apron to stop digging will do the trick.
It stops the coyotes from climbing up the fence and getting in, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your goats are safe at night. It will be useful for when it rains as well.
- Consider a Livestock Guardian Dog – You might think your house dog will come to your goats’ defense, but coyotes are smart. They’re known to lull dogs into helping them or turning a blind eye.
A trained guard dog is the best way to protect your goats if that’s the route you’re going. They’ll at least make enough noise to alert you that a coyote is near.
- Get a Donkey – Donkeys are extremely territorial animals and serve as a very effective deterrent against coyotes. It’s not because they want to protect your goats – they probably couldn’t care less. It’s just that they can’t stand any new animal coming close.
Donkeys will get into fights and become very aggressive against coyotes, using their teeth and hooves to attack them if they set foot in their field or enclosure. Just be careful when introducing a donkey to your other animals to make sure everyone gets along.
- Get a Llama – Llamas, as opposed to donkeys, have a very strong protective instinct. They’re smart enough to know which animals belong and which don’t. They’re curious animals as well, so you can count on them to go over and sniff anything new or strange and figure out if they are friend or foe.
- Get an Alpaca – Like llamas, alpacas serve as proficient guard animals for farmers around the world. When they are around sheep, goats, chickens, and other smaller animals, they take on a sort of parental role and will keep them safe if they feel like anything is threatening them.
Just make sure your alpacas are big enough to make a coyote think twice. Younger animals or smaller alpacas may not have what it takes.
- Put an electric fence around the pen – Electric fences are a good measure to keep goats safe from coyotes. If your fence is big enough that coyotes can’t jump over it in a single leap, and you’ve got curtains installed at the bottom, there should be no way they can avoid a shock if they try to get in. Usually, it only takes one or two jolts and they’ll decide to go somewhere else to look for their next meal.
- Add rollers to the top of your fences – Rollers stop the determined coyotes that aren’t deterred by a high fence. The rollers stop the coyotes from getting any sort of grip or footing once they reach the top of the fence, so they can’t jump over the top.
Everyone wants their goats to stay safe.
Losing a goat to a coyote after putting in so much time and effort to keep them healthy can be very discouraging.
Following these steps will help you avoid any sort of coyote tragedy and your goats will love you more for it.