Ten Tips to Help You Manage Sheep Predators Livestock

There are measures to help ensure sheep predators have a harder time killing your sheep thus encouraging them to seek other sources of food. Utilize a combination of management methods to help prevent coyotes and other sheep predators from taking too big a bite out of your sheep ranching profits.

1. Use a livestock guardian animal. This is another animal who has developed an affinity for sheep and a willingness to defend the group. Livestock guardian dogs are the most common among sheep producers. Other guarding animals include llamas and donkeys.

2. Care for and train your livestock guardian dogs so that they become effective guardians of your flock. A dog that is over at the neighbours, or too rough with the animals is not really being effective. These dogs require some effort on your part to help them learn what the job is.

3. Build good fences and maintain them. Good fencing can be a deterrent to predators. Electric fences, Electra-netting and field fence (page wire) are types of fencing commonly used as sheep fencing.

4. Check the flock at least once a day and vary your routine on occasion to keep predators on their toes. You leave a scent trail and are a visible presence on a regular basis. At the very least checking often will give you an early heads up if predators are moving in.

5. During times of high predator pressure consider bringing the flock closer to home or pen them in a night pen if feasible. If the flock is remote consider spending the nights near the flock during high pressure times or hiring a shepherd to do so.

6. Remove the carcass of any animal that has died. Leaving carcasses on pasture or at the yard attracts unwanted hunters and scavengers to the area. This entices animals to return to your place for more. Once started there, it is a small leap to the live ones nearby.

7. Utilize multi-species grazing. Bonding and grazing sheep with cattle can lead to added protection for the flock. The key to this is bonding the livestock to one another first.

8. Building a flock with strong flocking behavior will serve in developing individual animals who know how to graze as a flock. This flocking behavior offers each individual ewe and lamb the very protection they need to ward off sheep predators.

9. Pay attention to the behavior of the flock. Does the flock act skittish one day? Have they changed from their normal routine? These are signs that they are being bothered and this gives you a heads up to do some observing and scouting to curb the problem before it escalates.

10. Use a combination of the various tips. While no single action will be the be-all-and-end-all answer a combination of solutions can go a long way to ensuring adequate protection from coyotes and other sheep predators.