Thursday, December 11, 2008


We have coyotes here. I've heard them numerous times out in the woods a few miles away, but the other night, I heard them in our driveway. I was tucking Logan in and we both heard them, it sounded like they came down our driveway into our backyard. It was a pack of them.

So, I'm freaking out! I know the chickens are safe, but I'm worried about when I get other animals. We plan to have Nigerian Dwarf goats and a smaller sheep breed, either Shetland or Soays. I know coyotes could kill a smaller animal like that. I stayed up half the night worrying about how to keep them safe. Does anyone here have to deal with coyotes? How do you keep the animals safe? Should I lock them in the barn at night? Improve the fencing in one area, like a corral? Get a guard animal? Which is better, dog, donkey, or llama?

I've been doing research on the web but would like to hear first hand from people that have found a way to keep their animals safe.


Stacey said...

From what I have seen, as in having a few farmer friends, they swear by llamas first, they are bigger than the coyotes.

Deb said...

I'm sorry Christy - coyotes can be a miserable problem at times.
We have them....they are more bothersome in the winter because food is harder for them to find in the Northeast with all the snow.
I have a donkey and he hates dogs of any kind. He can sense them and will let us know if anything is around. He lives with the cows because my sheep absolutely hated him :( . My biggest asset has been our farm dogs. We thought about a large guard dog but they tend to be barkers and neighbors don't seem to appreciate that. One of our farm dogs lives outside at night, 2 of them stay inside. They roam the farm all day and their scent seems to keep the coyotes away to a point. Electric fence is also a great choice. 5 to 7 strands, alternating strands of hot wire is recommened for sheep. Works well for me.
Sometimes I have to fire off a shot during the night if we have a group of them too close for comfort but I've only lost sheep to coyotes once in 12 years.
I keep my animals in small corrals near the barn at night, and I do think that helps. We have a large outside light on the barn and it seems a deterrant as well.

I've also heard llamas do a good job also.

Try not to worry too much - you will figure it all out in good time. Your doing great!

ps....your house is beautiful ~

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey Christy,
We did get rain! Lots of rain. Over 6 inches in 18 hours. I hope the well has filled back up.

Coyotes, yes yes yes, there are coyotes everywhere here. But you know what, wild dogs, or dogs in a pack have killed more animals here than coyotes. We have a radio we play loudly in the barn at night to help keep wild animals scared off.
Plus Jack, the donkey. That is one reason we have him. He does not like dogs or coyotes. He has chased several dogs out of the pasture.
We have seen coyotes on the property but they hate to be seen.
The dogs are much more of a problem. They have killed 4 goats and several chickens.

I don't mean to scare you, but do watch out for the dog packs.

Don't worry about it. I am sure it will be alright.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Well having two llamas myself, to guard our 5 goats and 2 sheep, I will whole-heartedly vouch for llamas as the perfect low maintenance guard animal.

When we first moved here we had packs of coyotes that would run across our property. But after our llamas arrive, we rarely even see coyotes in our neighborhood anymore.

Llamas despise canines, though they will accept a family dog, if introduced properly.
We once had a stray dog sneak into our paddock, and I watched both llamas go tearing after that hapless dog, with neck snaking, voices snorgling and mouths spitting.
When the dog got cornered, the llamas went after the dog with their sharp hooked claws, trying to disembowel, I'm guessing by the way they pounded towards the dog.

I watched with a smile on my face, as the dog found an 'out' between the llamas legs and took off as fast as I've ever seen a dog run, in my life, sqeualing for mercy the entire way out.

I've since seen that dog a ways down the road from our house, but it won't step on paw on our property, not even if we tried to bait it with treats. lol!

One of my favorite things about llamas compared to other guard animals, is that their poop is easy to clean and very tidy. They only leave little beans, just the same as goats and sheep, but the big difference is that they only poop in a communal dung pile, so it's so easy to scopp up and turn into compost for gardens.....oh! And the poo can be used directly on a garden without burning plants or causing weeds.

Oh! I think it would be so wonderful if you brought a llama into your farm. And, unlike other guard animals, you could tell hubby that you could make money from the llama's fiber, too, either by spinning beautiful yarn for sale, or making garments with the yarn....or just selling the raw fiber.

Ok. Now I'm so excited. I can't wait to see llamas at the top of your blog. Logan would absolutely love them. Llamas are so gentle and he could take them for walks and even show them for 4-H!!

So can you tell I love llamas??!

A Llama Mama living in New Mexico!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I forgot to add that llamas fall in love with lambs and kids. They are very protective of baby animals in their care. They are also well known to herd their flock back to safety if something is seen to be dangerous, just as my two llamas do.

They eat the same feed as goats and sheep and don't need any special care besides wormer, vax, minerals and toe trims.

They are very gentle and my goats and sheep are never far from their guard llamas. I know my goats and sheep are completely safe from stray dogs and coyotes when the llamas are on watch. :)

Best of all, though, is watching your beautiful llamas out in the pasture. It's one of my favorite things :)

Llama Mama in New Mexico

Gail said...

Now, Lisa has talked me into a llama! We have stock dogs. Granny used to comb her hair, clean her brush and place hairs near where the coyotes run. She swore the human smell would keep the coyotes away.
I hear ours early night about 8 o'clock. They keep to the same path it seems. The dogs keep them away from the house.

Joanna said...
at PETFINDER put in your zipcode, under ANIMAL click on SEE ALL at BREED, then click on BARNYARD, you may be able to rescue a Llama

Pig (Farm)

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

We started out with a llama as a guard when we got our very first goats, but we made the mistake of getting an intact male llama. Some people will say they won't try to mount goats but I have seen it with my own eyes, he stressed them terribly chasing them and trying to "romance" them. We did eventually sell him.

Just wanted to warn you about that, but I have heard nothing but good things about using castrated or female llamas as guards though. They are wonderful animals and I would love to have another llama someday, just next time I will get one that has been castrated or a female.

We use Great Pyrenees Dogs here to protect our goats and haven't lost one to other dogs or coyotes in the 5 years we have had them. Our goats stay out in the pasture at night and the coyotes are thick around here so I would say they have been very good guardians. I just love them!

warren said...

We had lots of farming friends in Nashville when we lived there...they all had donkeys for the problem

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Ugh. Coyotes. (shiver)
We've got them *everywhere*. Though I never had "official" livestock guardians, before the donks arrived, we'd see the coyotes and hear them really close. Once the donks got here, we'd hear the coyotes howling occasionally quite a ways away, but never heard or saw evidence of them close by. Now that the donks are gone, we've had coyotes in our lower pasture twice now. :-(

The only thing I don't like about the general rule behind livestock guardians is that you're only supposed to have one of whatever you're using as a guardian. This is so they bond to the animal they are protecting. To me, this is cruel, because donkeys are pack/herd animals and are happiest when they have another equine around.
But - on the other hand, I had six donkeys for a while and they kept the coyotes far away (even though I had no other livestock other than chickens).
(sorry for the way-too-wordy comment)

Farmgirl_dk: said...

p.s. I also have a 7-strand new zealand-style electric fence, with 4 of the strands (alternating) being electrified.

Anonymous said...


How do your cats like living out in the country? I haven't heard you mention them so I was wondering how they tolerated the move???????



Christy said...

Thank you for all the useful comments! We are putting together a coyote plan, we are leaning toward getting a llama or 2. I do worry about getting a single one and if they will be lonely for their own kind.

We've decided to make a corral near the run-in to keep them in at night. We will probably electrify the fence around the corral and put up a light. That combined with a guard animal will hopefully work.

CeeCee said...

Do all three chickens fit in the dog crate you have? With coyotes so close by, I'd make sure they were locked up tight at night.
Sounds like you'll be getting llamas. I'd vote for donkeys, but I'm on a donkey kick right now. :)

Christy said...

Ceecee - The chickens are locked up safe and sound at night. They do all fit, that is why I got a bantam rooster. They are so cute because they cuddle up on the perch at night. All 3 pressed together, they have plenty of room to spread out but choose not to. I'm leaning toward a llama but no final decisions have been made. A donkey could still happen.

P said...

Hi Christy,

I love your new place! So great to see a "farm dream" become a farm!

As for coyotes, Dan and I worried about that a lot when we first moved to our farm and heard the coyotes next door.

The first year we had sheep, we locked them in the barn at the end of the day (They quickly learned this pattern). But now, we just let them to go in and out of the barn as they want.

Although we have lots of coyotes around, we have never had them attack our sheep, or even our free-ranging chickens (The chickens are locked into the coop at night)

Near as we can tell, our herding dogs-- who spend great, obsessive chunks of time circling the fences to oversee "their" sheep-- keep the coyotes away.

We'd looked into llamas and guardian animals but decided we had enough to learn about sheep, without adding some other animal to the mix so early on. And by the time we got the hang of sheep, we discovered we didn't really need a guardian.

It will be challenging to manage parasites (especially barber pole worm). Warm, wet climates are supposed to be tough. Llamas and donkeys are susceptible to different parasites and have different nutritional/mineral needs and it all can get really complicated really fast.

You may want to wait and see. A good farm dog (Not a guard dog who lives with the livestock) May be all you need.

Christy said...

P - Hubby and I have had this same conversation about the learning curve of different animals versus just getting a dog. Hubby really doesn't want any dogs, especially any that may be pets. We were thinking it might be easier just to have more livestock (like the llama) than to get a dog. We discussed waiting and seeing if the coyotes are a problem, but we'd only know once an animal was killed and since we don't plan on having many to begin with, it would be a big loss! Thanks for the input though, I need all the perspectives I can get.