Monday, February 15, 2010

Coyotes & lambing

The coyotes are out in force again; noticed two places where they've dug under my field fence to get into the sheep pasture.  The sheep are going to start lambing here any day, so it's got me a bit concerned.   I'm going to go sit and watch for a coyote this morning; probably start sitting at 4:30 or so. 

I'd like to make a fence which would exclude the coyotes, but it's cost-prohibitive.  Next year I'll have a very well fenced lambing area that will help a lot, but this year vigilance will have to do. 


Anonymous said...

Hello Bruce,

You are correct, there is no substitute for vigilance. What type of fencing do you currently have in place around the sheep pasture? Are you utilizing electric fences for next year?
Coyotes are quite a nuisance animal. I take it you'll be standing guard with a firearm to dispose of them. If you're able, I would encourage you set traps for them as well.
Good day my sentry friend.



Anonymous said...

Why don't you have a dog?---- Great Pyrenees are just great. Coyotes won't come around when they hear and see one of those giants.

Rich said...

Have you considered building something similar to a 'dingo' fence?

If you already have field fence, you just need to add a short section of woven wire fence laying on the ground attached to the bottom of the existing field fence. When the coyote or dog starts to dig under the fence, it encounters the fence that is on the ground and it stops digging (and hopefully gives up and goes away).

Even if you only 'dingo-fence' the parts of the fence where the coyotes are going through at the moment, it might slow them down enough to save a few lambs.

StefRobrts said...

You could get a llama. They will hang out with the sheep and chase away coyotes. They can be quite aggressive to invading dogs. Llamas are pretty low maintenance, and can often be found for free on CL.

Dana said...

I see someone beat me to it, but I too was going to recommend a livestock guardian dog of some breed or a llama or donkey. I've been doing some research on them for my own farm's protection and my preference would be the dog since some breeds will guard flocks as well if you imprint them on each of your species, and I remember you posting about people driving up and stealing some of your birds last year. The dog would take care of both human and animal predatory threats. Only downside is, if you aren't visiting every day, feeding the carnivore could be difficult enough that you'd prefer the grazing llama or donkey.

Bruce King said...

I've thought about a llama or equivalent grazing protector, but I decided that I wouldn't grow anything on my farm that I don't eat, and really stick by that rule with everything except my airedales.

The airedales do a great job with the smaller predators, and will keep the coyotes from around the buildings and roads, but to save the lambs you have to have a dog out there in the pasture with them -- and I don't trust my dogs not to eat the newborn lambs themselves.

I've got a 5' field fence around the pasture, but I've had problems keeping my hotwire hot -- generator is giving me grief, and the solar charger isn't cutting it. So I'm going to have electricity installed here pretty soon for reliable electric fence, and I'll be coyote-proof fencing 1 acre of the property -- both for the nesting turkeys and for the lambing. But I won't complete that until later this year, so for now I'm doing what I can.

I appreciate the different viewpoints here. There are no bad suggestions.

Enjay said...

I think the most effective solution that I remember was to pen the sows with piglets in with the lambs and calves. Seems that I remember the boar did a pretty good job too if the pen was small enough that he felt threatened by the coyotes.

Bruce King said...

If I were worried that the dogs would eat the lamb, I'd be certain that the sows would. Nursing sows like meat a LOT. They eat chickens now, if they can get them. A new lamb covered in blood would be a rare treat for a pig.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Bruce, most of our electric fence for rotational grazing is powered with a 12 volt marine/battery and a Pel energizer. Cheap, cost effective, and it works. Just a thought until you get power to the site. A charge lasts about 4 - 5 weeks. We have had as much as 4 poultry nets and 2 Electronets in addition to a cattle fence all hooked to the same system and it worked great.