Keeping coyotes, wolves, cougars and bears away from farmed animals is often done using lethal force (traps or guns). Unfortunately, this decision, apart from being inhumane, can have serious ecological consequences.
Luckily, there is a better way to protect farmed animals without killing wildlife.
To co-exist with wildlife, keep livestock safe, and encourage a healthy, local ecosystem, many landowners are now practicing “predator friendly” farming. This means they are using a variety of simple, straightforward practices to minimize predator interactions. For example, as a farmer you can:
- Use guardian animals such as dogs, donkeys and llamas
- Schedule pasture use when predation pressures are low
- Use electric fencing, noise makers and motion lights
- Make frequent and unpredictable patrols on your property
- Bring your animals indoors during the night
- Remove all attractants (i.e., excess food, outdoor pet food)
- Create a program for removal of deadstock
- Graze larger animals with smaller animals to protection the most vulnerable
Louise Liebenberg of the Grazerie in Alberta is a strong proponent of predator friendly ranching and has spoken at length regarding reduction of depredation of livestock, livestock guardian dogs, and how other ranchers can learn to do the same.