Some estimates put farmers’ losses to predators at close to $100 million annually. Many large farms live in parts of the country where wolves, coyotes and other predators and scavengers roam. If you live in one of these areas, you might have good reason to fear for your livestock. Farming is always a balance between crops for cattle to graze, natural elements, and how well a farmer can protect his investment. Here are some tips to protect cattle from predators, and recoup more of your investment.
Animals who kill livestock aren’t trying to ruin your day, they are struggling to survive against nature. Most kills are opportunistic, which is important to understand. Walk your livestock fencing and look for gaps where predators can squeeze through. If you have livestock that is thin and sickly, consider moving it to the barn until it recuperates. This lowers the risk you face to predators. Remember too that not all predators are the same, so your best approach is to make their food difficult to get.
A good guard dog can help a lot around the farm. It’s helpful to have a companion when you patrol the land, and a dog will chase off any predators who happen to wander onto your land. A guard dog is there to catch predators in the early morning hours, or late nights, when you’re normally sleeping. That cuts down on unpleasant surprises. Guard dogs must be raised differently than a pet though, because dogs must protect the cattle they often bond with the animals instead of the humans.
A Gallagher fence designed to keep out livestock is a lot sturdier than those designed to keep cattle in. You can electrify the fence, which is a good deterrent, but a well manufactured fence will do the same job. It’s important that you build the fence high enough to avoid animals jumping it to get to their dinner. Also, consider fencing in young animals closer to the barn, where they are less likely to be carried off by predators.
There are both lethal and non-lethal ways to deal with livestock predators around the farm. You should understand your enemy before you take precautions to protect your animals. You can’t control every situation, but you can take steps to safeguard the area around your farm.
Jason Governo writes on behalf of Farm Supply Store. At Farm Supply Store, you can browse live stock fencing that includes dog corrals and high tensile strength fencing.