Preventing predation of your flock can be a
difficult task, but it is nonetheless important. Every lost lamb is a huge
dock in your already faltering income. There are many methods to analyzing
and preventing predation to your flock. This web site contains information
on analyzing what has attacked your livestock, the types of animals
provided for guarding, and other methods and equipment for handling the
predation of the flock.
The first place to look for ways to prevent
predation in your flock is in your management practice. The following are
a few questions you might want to ask yourself to determine your risk for
becoming a victim of predation.
Do I provide a clean, sanitary environment for my
Do I practice shed or indoor lambing?
Do I pasture young livestock in an area known for
Do I dispose of dead animals in a sanitary manner
(not likely to attract predators to my main flock)?
Complete confinement of sheep is usually not
feasible, though a good way to prevent predation. Some ways to reduce the
risk while not going completely indoors include: putting stock inside at
night and lighting the outdoor corrals. One very important thing to
consider doing indoors is your lambing. Either barn or shed lambing is
recommended by many producers to prevent predation of birthing mothers and
Pasture history and surroundings are also
important in choosing your sheep's environment. Pastures with thick
brushy edges are not recommended as they can harbor predators. Those
pastures with a history of intense predator attacks should also be avoided
for sheep, and especially for young sheep.
Sanitary conditions for your sheep are
important to decreasing predator attacks. Scents can attract predators, so
burying or burning dead sheep and body parts can prevent attacks.
Fencing may have different amounts of control
depending on the predator involved and the type of fencing used. Net-wire
fences with holes less than 6 x 4 inches may deter coyotes. Putting barbed
or electrified wire at the bottom should discourage digging beneath it.
The height of 5.5' or more should be considered to prevent animals
jumping over the fence. And climbing of the fence can be prevented by
adding a charged wire at the top. Electrified wire fencing is another
effective measure and can be arranged in various designs. Fencing is often
an effective preventative measure when used in conjunction with other
means of control.
Devices Used to Repel Predators
There have been several devices concocted that
use unusual odors, sights, tastes, and sounds to deter predators. Some of
these work initially, but predators may become accustomed to the new
"thing." The best way to use devices like this is to intermix and
change them from time to time. A combination of two different devices may
be more likely to repel a predator than just one. An example of
incorporating two different measures into one device is "The Electronic
Guard" a device developed by the USDA APHIS program. This combines a
flashing strobe light and a siren controlled by an electronic timer. While
other ideas are out there, some producers have questioned their
Resources Used and Links to More