Preventative Management

 

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.

q       Do I provide a clean, sanitary environment for my sheep?

q       Do I practice shed or indoor lambing?

q       Do I pasture young livestock in an area known for predation problems?

q       Do I dispose of dead animals in a sanitary manner (not likely to attract predators to my main flock)?

Livestock Environment

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 young lambs.

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.

Fences

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 effectiveness.

Resources Used and Links to More Information:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/prodguide.pdf

http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/sheep/bsa01s11.html

http://www.18james.com/rural/pred.shtml

 

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