Of all the common predators, the coyote is perhaps the most troublesome. They’re stronger than most, sly, brazen, fast, very wary, and they can hunt in packs so they’re a threat to small animals around the homestead as well as the young of larger animals that would be considered livestock.
A coyote is like a medium size dog. Something in the ballpark of 40 pounds is a good figure to keep in mind. They’re out in the day and at night. They are so troublesome that there is often a bounty on their heads.
Not only is a coyote a threat to the animals you raise for meat and eggs, it’s also a threat to your domestic animals. If you have a small dog, the coyote would consider it to be bite size. Even larger dogs are subject to coyotes that hunt in packs. Two or three coyotes will only be intimidated by a large dog that demonstrates its strength by killing one of the attacking predators. Otherwise, they’ll continue to behave like a hunting pack and stay at it until they’re successful.
Unlike other predators, coyotes are happy to let you know loud and clear that they’re in your neighborhood. They cry and scream to one another in the night as a way of communicating territory, challenging other males, looking for a mate or simply trying to make good on a story about them in some old cowboy song. What they won’t do is let you know when they’re going to strike.
To protect against coyotes, you need to protect against a good size dog. Welded wire isn’t a strong enough barrier as they can chew right through it. You’ll need horse fencing or chain link fencing. You’ll also need to lay the fencing on the ground or use good size rocks to keep them from digging under your pens right at the fence line.
A keen eye, well-sighted rifle and a clever ability to trap also come in handy when you’re faced with coyotes that are determined to share in what appears to them to be “free food.” Your job is to make it cost them something.
No matter your investment in small animals around the homestead, they deserve protection from common predators like coyotes. If you can make your barriers dog-proof, then they’re coyote-proof as well. When your hens, goats, calves or rabbits are attacked by coyotes, that’s just too late to start thinking about protecting them. Start thinking about clever predators before you invest in small animals around your homestead.