Coyotes Among us - Warning!
"But I don't have coyotes" your mind is telling you. The truth is you probably do. They cruise through rural, suburban and even sometimes city areas of 49 of our states and all of Canada. February & March they tend to be the most aggressive as they enter breeding season along with reduced rodent availability. Male coyotes can become extremely aggressive due to increased testosterone levels and increases in fighting with other males. After that hunting increases to feed their quickly growing pups. Fall of course encourages them to hunt extra to try to put on extra weight for winter and winter of course faces it's own challenges. We have seen coyotes all hours of the daytime and of course hear them out at night (we have at least three distinct packs in our neighborhood). They've been sighted off in the distance, in neighbor's yards and even just a step outside of our livestock containing fencing! Fencing without a guardian in it of course can be dug under, squeezed through or under or sometimes jumped over from a log or pile of manure or other item that a careless stock owner leaves too close to the fence. Coyotes only require a few inches to squeeze under or through something. Check your fencing regularly to avoid this.
As livestock and pet owners there are many concerns with coyotes. One is the spread of parvo through their feces. Another is the well known fact that they delight in hunting dogs and cats as a part of their menu, even snatching them off of porches. Even your guardian dogs aren't 100% safe from them. This is why. Several years ago we watched the audacity of one coyote in the afternoon run back and forth along the fenceline with our guardian dogs going bananas just on the other side. What was that trouble maker up to? He knew he couldn't get in and with dogs right there he wouldn't try. What he was doing and what they try to do is to get a dog or two to come after them. Suicidal? No. Hunting? Yes! If they can coerce your guardian or other dog to dig out, squeeze out or go over for a chase they will lead your dog right into an ambush by the pack. End of dog. One guardian or two guardians have no way to take on a pack of coyotes in a planned ambush.
Coyotes are ruthless in their hunting. When going after livestock (or deer, elk, etc) their main strategy is do distract and attack from the front to keep their prey's attention while one or more go for the hamstring or scrotum at the rear. As soon as they bring their animal down they don't finish the kill. They just start eating. Sick and evil, but true. They also are very well known for pulling baby livestock away during birthing- even before the baby is completely out of the birth canal! Always keep your mares, jennies, cattle and small livestock if possible in a coyote proof pen close in when birthing, and / or keep guardians with them. They generally target pets and small livestock (including your immature large livestock), but if they are real hungry they will also target large stock. I also had a horse about twenty years ago that sustained an injury to his face from hitting the fence while running coyotes off.
Ways to avoid coyotes on your place is by keeping good strong fencing on borders where possible along with a guardian or guardians on the inside. Guardian dogs, llamas, occasionally an alpaca male, and donkeys are all commonly used for livestock guardians. There are pros and cons to each form so you'll need to decide which is right for you. Electric fencing can be used but it a maintenance issue if placed on the outside of the fence due to grass and brush growth. Solar powered electric web fencing is very expensive but works well for those that need to get a fence up quick in a new location. It's most commonly used for small livestock and poultry.
Coyotes are very difficult to shoot. My husband has been able to drop one in all of our years together. But certainly if you have safety training and it's legal for you to shoot where you are, this is another method to try to narrow down the ranks. If you are having to shoot onto a neighbor's property to get them be sure you have their permission. Don't count on being able to get very many this way though unless you live in an area where you can set up with a light, calls etc in areas where it's legal to hunt them that way.
Remember that while coyotes are wiley, your number one most likely predator damage is going to be from DOGS- from your neighborhood, your own, or strays wandering through. We get clients from all three scenarios. Please have a plan to keep them out of your stock.
May you never ever ever have a problem from these beautiful but rotten thieves. We are here to help you with herbal aftercare should you have an animal or animals that ever experience predator damage. See our great products at www.firmeadowllc.com . Look for Better Daze, Cayenne extract or herb powder, Wounderful! Salve and ReBuilld herb mix to radically support the healing process. Blessings ALL OF YOU!!!