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 consequences; many predators are keystone species, which means that their presence is critical for a robust, thriving ecosystem.
Luckily, there is a better way to protect farmed animals without killing wildlife.To keep farmed animals safe from wildlife and wildlife safe from habituation, many land owners are now practicing “co-existent” 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)
- Graze larger animals with smaller animals to protection the most vulnerable
Further resources:Predatory Friendly®
Snooters Farm Animal Sanctuary is a model for predator-friendly properties
Snooters is a privately run farm animal sanctuary in Ontario, Canada. In addition to offering safe homes to animals rescued from factory farms, puppy mills, and neglectful or abusive families, Snooters also uses many predator-friendly techniques to prevent conflicts between wild animals like coyotes and their animals. Snooters is home to several rescue dogs, uses electric fencing, motion lights and even keeps the radio on in the barns to mimic a human presence. Despite hearing the coyotes in the surrounding forest, and even spotting a few, in 12 years they have not had an incident. Says Susan Morris, founder of Snooters, "we learned that by employing a few basic, common sense behaviours, we could keep both our animals, and wild animals safe."
Certified farms/ranches that use humane approaches to keeping farmed animals safe and wildlife alive.Photo of baby steer Ashli meeting Johnny and Roy, courtesy of Snooters Farm Animal Sanctuary