How to protect sheep from coyotes

How to protect sheep from coyotes, goats from dogs, rabbits from raccoons, chickens from foxesI began asking “how can I protect my sheep from coyotes?” when we lost some lambs to a coyote. We also lost a duck and another time a turkey. Either a raccoon or a coyote had been involved. However, nothing is as sickening as finding a beautiful lamb dead in the field.

I found a simple and free answer that has worked effectively for a long time now. It is what every male farmer does anyway, but might need to be pointed in the right direction: urinate. That’s it.

This also answers these questions:

How do I keep raccoons out of the henhouse? What keeps foxes away from my chickens? What protects turkeys from bobcats? Can I keep varmints out of my rabbit cages? Can I keep deer out of the garden? How do I protect my goats from coyotes? In short, how does one keep sheep and other farm animals safe from predators? In most cases, you can save your livestock easily.

I got the idea from a catalog that was selling wolf urine to put on the fence posts so that coyotes would stay away (this also keeps deer away, too, though). I thought, if they are scared of wolves, then why not human urine? After all, God said,

the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. (Genesis 9:2, NKJ)

They are already scared of you. If you were sitting on the fence post, they would not come in and chase your sheep, goats, chickens,
rabbits, turkeys, or ducks. So, if your scent on the fence post led them to believe you were close by, they still would not cross over.

You can whiz through farming

Sorry, but it is really that simple. Now, I know most of you female readers may find this concept demeaning, but surely you have some guys who wear the pants in the family. Send them out to the fence row or the henhouse to take a leak. It is crazy, but either a fox will eat your profits or you will use “mother nature” to your advantage.

Simply “marking your territory” will let intruders know to stay away. They would rather go after easier game elsewhere than to risk encountering you. Let the fear of humans be to your advantage. Do you have a dog that has to be kept caged in or tied up? Take it for a walk around the parameter of your fences or around your small-animal buildings. It’s urination and defecation will leave further warning markers that wandering prowlers would rather avoid.

The complicated solutions to protect sheep from coyotes

  • Livestock guardian dog. Expensive to feed—unless you have enough livestock to pay for it, it will cost more than it is worth just to feed and care for it. LGDs can also be dangerous around your children and other family members. Pick a breed with caution and raise one yourself, if you can. Sometimes they will protect sheep well but kill chickens. Be sure you know what you are getting into.
  • Hotwire. If you use five to seven strands of hotwire you can keep many predators from crossing the fence. Also, electrified
    net fencing will keep your sheep, goats, geese and turkeys, much safer than leaving them in a large, open field. They can’t get out (usually) and the predators can’t get in.
  • Tight fence. Sheep and goat fencing allows only 4 inches of space. This does not give the goats room to get their heads stuck through. A stuck goat is bait for coyotes who will hear it bleating and come running for dinner.
  • Red eye. This led light gives an ominous red glow that wild animals will interpret as being the eye of another predator. You have to set up a few of them so a stalker coming from any direction will see it and stay away. This supposedly works with raccoons and coyotes, but like any scare-crow thing, cannot be all one depends on. It seems like another expensive gimmick.
  • Noise. You could leave a radio going. My grandfather used to protect his garden and rows of corn from raccoons by putting out a radio at night. This usually worked for him, but it could irritate the neighbors. Kind of kills the idea of living in the peaceful country.
  • Sleep with them. Tent out under the stars like shepherds of old. Yeah. That will get old fast.

When urination may not work

  1. Rain can remove your defense barrier. We had gone almost two years without a coyote attack. I was pretty happy with my innovative defense mechanism. Then we hit a stressful time when one of the kids was not well and things in the home were stressful enough to distract me from making my morning rounds. Worse, it rained all week. Four days of rain must have been enough to wash away the scent on the parameter of the fence where our sheep were (about an acre and a half field, partially wooded). We lost four lambs that week. Until that point, I thought my efforts were just a “number one” experiment. Looking at those dead lambs made a believer out of me. Frequent urination kept the coyotes at bay.
  2. If rouge dogs are your problem, then taking a leak on a fence post may not be enough to stop them. However, sitting out there with a shotgun a few times will put an end to that. I give a dog a warning shot before hitting the target. If they can connect your scent with the source of the scent on the fence posts, they may begin respect your territory. Otherwise, there is
    the permanent option, but killing your neighbor’s dog can devastate a relationship. In that case, you would be better off buying a livestock guardian dog that will defend your animals for you.

Hopefully this article has helped clarify your understanding of how to keep coyotes out of your sheep, raccoons away from your rabbits, deer out of your corn, possums out of the henhouse, foxes away from your chickens, and any other varmint away from your goats, turkeys, geese, and ducks. Farming can be a whiz.

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