When you hear a distinct, high-pitched bark in the distance, you know that coyotes aren’t too far away. This can be concerning because coyotes can not only take off with chickens and small pets, they can also attack larger livestock and carry diseases like rabies and distemper. And coyotes aren’t just found in rural areas either – they’re moving into the suburbs too. As you can see, there are a lot of reasons you don’t want coyotes in your area!
The good news is, there are many ways you can keep coyotes away from your livestock, yard, and farm. Some of these include making your yard uninviting for coyotes, removing food sources, and installing coyote-proof fences.
Knowing more about what you’re up against is the first step in keeping these predators away from your home. Using a variety of the tips below will keep coyotes from bothering you and your animals.
How to Keep Coyotes Away from Chickens
Since coyotes are most active at night in populated areas, you should make sure your chickens go back inside their coop at night. You can train them to return to the coop at night by raising your chicks there. The adults will naturally return to lay their eggs and roost at night. Closing the coop after they’ve settled down for the night will keep them safer.
Even after following these steps, it’s still possible you’ll find coyotes bothering your chickens. Take an extra precaution and install a fence around your chicken coop. This should be high enough – at least 5.5 to 6 feet – to prevent coyotes from leaping over it. Hungry coyotes can break through chicken wire, so you might want to use something stronger, like hardware mesh, to keep them from chewing or breaking through.
To be extra safe, you might consider adding a roof to your chicken enclosure as well. This will prevent coyotes from climbing the fence. You’ll also want to check the coop regularly for signs of attempted entry and to reinforce any weak spots.
Since coyotes can also dig, you should make sure the bottom of the fence extends at least 6 inches underground. For added security, you can also bury a barrier of hardware mesh extending a foot and a half out from your fence to further deter predators.
If you don’t want to spend the time and effort to bury the fence and add an extra barrier, you could also consider enclosing the area with an electric fence.
How to Keep Coyotes Out of Your Yard
Keeping coyotes out of your yard is even more important if you have children or small pets and livestock. There are a couple of simple and inexpensive options, like making your yard uninviting to coyotes and removing food sources.
Making Your Yard Uninviting
Discouraging coyotes from coming to your yard in the fist place is the best way to keep them out. Coyotes, like most predators, like to be covered, so they aren’t seen. Cutting down any tall grass or overgrown areas can make coyotes less likely to want to come to your yard.
If you have any gaps under your porches or sheds, you should close them up with wire mesh. Remember to bury the mesh at least 6 inches underground. This helps make those spaces on your property less appealing for a coyote to build its den. If there are any open storm drains in your area, you can consider contacting your local authorities and asking them to close them up as well.
Removing Food Sources
Like raccoons and bears, coyotes are attracted to food, like garbage and compost. Store your garbage in containers with tightly-fitting lids, and if you have the space, keep the containers in a garage or barn. Wait until pickup day to put them on the curb.
Keep other sources of food away from coyotes too. Store chicken feed and birdseed in containers with tightly-fitting lids, and clean up other food, like pet bowls and barbecues. Compost piles are another coyote favorite, so consider fencing them in, remembering to bury the wire at least 6 inches all around. Remember that coyotes also eat birds and squirrels, so try to avoid feeding them – this just brings them in for the kill.
Keeping your yard cleaner will also remove the food sources of mice and rats, which coyotes eat. Keeping cats and small dogs inside the house, especially at night, will keep your pets safe and not attract coyotes.
How to Keep Coyotes Away from Farms
Coyotes are attracted to farms because of the many animals on it. You can protect your animals through fencing and a handful of other measures, like corrals and loud noises at night.
Sometimes, you might be moving animals around frequently, meaning permanent fencing is not an option. In this case, you can use fladry. This odd word is from the German flattern, which means “to flutter.”Fladry is a nonlethal way to keep coyotes and other canines away from temporary areas.
Fladry is a string of flags or strips of material hung around the perimeter of a grazing area. The bottom of each flag is about level with a coyote’s nose. It’s especially effective in the breeze, which causes the flags to move more.
This works because coyotes are naturally wary of anything new in their territory, especially when it’s something that moves. But fladry has its drawbacks too. Since it works by taking advantage of coyote’s suspicion of anything new, it will only work for a limited time – up to 60 days.
And that’s another problem. Sometimes it will work for the full two months, and sometimes it will only work for a week or two. If you have a lot of new calves, and there are some hungry coyotes in the area, fladry likely won’t be effective for a whole two months! You have no way of knowing in advance how long it will keep coyotes away until it’s too late.
It also takes quite a bit of time and money to install fladry, especially if you have a large area to fence. Because of these drawbacks, you might want to consider using fladry in addition to other measures – maybe installing it on an existing fence, perhaps at a time when your livestock is particularly vulnerable.
Other Effective Measures
There are a handful of other ways you can encourage coyotes to find dinner somewhere besides your farm.
- Nighttime corrals – Even though coyotes can attack during the day, they are mostly nocturnal animals, meaning your livestock is most vulnerable at night. Keeping them in a corral at night still allows them to graze during the day, but keeps them safer during the evening hours. Adding lights makes corrals even safer.
- Protecting new mothers – A pregnant animal is more vulnerable to predator attacks than normal. Enclosing your animal shortly before delivery will protect her during birth and the newborn animal after. It’ll also keep the mother and newborn from attracting coyotes that may attack other livestock.
- Sounds –Playing sounds at random times may confuse a coyote into thinking there is a human in the area and have been effective. Using a variety of different sounds will keep coyotes from getting used to one sound.
- Keeping your livestock healthy – Coyotes are naturally attracted to the sick and weak animals, and once they find one, they may come back, thinking they’ll find more. Ensuring your animals receive proper nutrition will allow them to defend themselves against predators.
Most of these options are a little less permanent, so switching things up every now and then will also discourage coyotes from visiting your farm.
How to Keep Coyotes Away From Goats
Coyotes love goats, and if you’re afraid your goats might disappear, there are a few things you can do.
Was it a coyote?
Dogs are the worst predators of goats, and sometimes it can be hard to tell if your goat was killed by a dog or a coyote. But it’s important to know what predator you’re dealing with, so you know the best course of action to take. Assuming the goat wasn’t carried off, you can tell whether it was a dog or a coyote based on the kill style.
Dogs usually go for the back and hind legs of the goat, trying to get as many goats as they can. Often, they don’t “finish the job,” but leave the goat severely injured so that it has to be euthanized.
Coyotes, on the other hand, go after goats to eat them. This means they usually go for the throat and the internal organs. They often try to carry the goat off to eat it.
You can also look at the tracks. Coyote tracks tend to be more oval shaped, while dog tracks are rounder. The claws in coyote tracks are more pronounced than in dog tracks.
Keeping your goats safe
As with most animals, your most vulnerable goats are the young kids. You should clean up as soon as a new kid is born, and if any are stillborn or die, you should bury them, so you don’t attract coyotes. Keeping kids with their mothers, instead of away from the herd, will help keep them safer.
It isn’t a good idea to tether your goats, as this just makes it easier for coyotes to attack. Building a coyote-proof fence is much safer for your goats – especially at night. A dog can help keep them safer.
Where Do Coyotes Go During the Day?
In more urban areas,coyotes have become nocturnal to avoid humans, so they spend most of the day sleeping. This is why you usually hear coyote howls at night.
Coyotes only use a den during pup season. This den might be under a rock outcropping, in a hollowed-out tree stump, or other sheltered area. The rest of the year, they’ll sleep above ground, either in cover or out in the open.
However, it’s not unusual to see a coyote in the middle of the day. In fact, the daytime is their natural time for hunting, and in areas with fewer humans, they will hunt during the day. If you see a coyote during the day, it doesn’t mean it’s ill or has gotten too bold – it’s just following its natural instinct. In the spring and summer when coyotes are raising their pups, they need to find more food, and they might broaden their hunting hours to include the day and night.
Do Motion Activated Lights Scare Coyotes?
Coyotes don’t like loud noises or bright lights. They don’t like lights because they remove hiding places, providing less cover for the coyote. Motion activated lights are more effective than regular spotlights because they startle the coyote when they come on. Some motion activated lights are solar powered and don’t use much electricity.
Like fladry, motion activated lights may initially keep coyotes away because coyotes are naturally wary of something new in their territory. However, motion activated lights may not be as effective in the long term because coyotes will gradually get used to the lights.
What Dog can Kill a Coyote?
One of the best dogs for killing coyotes is the Great Pyrenees. These dogs, which were bred specifically to keep predators away from livestock, often weigh over 140 pounds and can be up to 32 inches tall. While these dogs are usually calm and gentle and can be trusted with even the most helpless animals, their natural guardian instinct leads them to spring into action if they sense a threat to their flock.
The Great Pyrenees is naturally nocturnal and does not tolerate any other dogs except other herding dogs and very small dogs. It is hostile toward all possible predators. These qualities make the Great Pyrenees an excellent choice to protect your animals from coyotes – and these dogs work even better in pairs, especially if you have a lot of space.
There are two ways you can use the Great Pyrenees to keep coyotes away. The first is as an “all-purpose” dog, and the second is as a livestock guard dog. If you’re considering getting a Great Pyrenees, you should train your dog in one of these ways, depending on which works best for your situation.
Great Pyrenees as livestock guard dogs
If you have a ranch or a lot of cattle, you might choose to train your Great Pyrenees as a livestock guard dog. These dogs are not treated as pets, and their job is to keep coyotes and other predators away from your herds of livestock. They aren’t allowed in the house or yard, and they spend their time out in the pasture or range.
Great Pyrenees as “all-purpose” dogs
If you don’t have as much property, or if most of your animals are closer to your house, you’ll most likely want your Great Pyrenees to be a farm dog. These dogs are part pet, part guard dog, and they work to protect you, your family, and your animals.
Whichever way you choose, the Great Pyrenees is a loyal dog who will work hard to keep coyotes and other predators away, often by killing them.
Can Coyotes Jump a 5-foot Fence?
Coyotes can easily leap right over a fence that’s less than 6 feet tall, so make sure you don’t install anything less than 6 feet, or your fence won’t be doing anyone much good. If the fence is 6 feet or taller, coyotes need to use leverage to get over it. They’ve even been known to scale fences as high as 14 feet!
Coyotes get themselves up by first leaping up and grabbing the top of the fence with their front paws, pulling themselves up. Then they bring their back paws to the top of the fence so they’re standing on it. From here, it’s a simple hop to the ground and into your yard or chicken coop! Even if the fence is tall, coyotes can still carry an animal up to 25 pounds back over the fence.
But you can keep coyotes from leaping your fence with a few simple tricks. Installing coyote rollers, barbed wire, or PVC pipe along the top will prevent the coyote from being able to grab the fence and pull themselves up.
Another way to discourage coyotes from leaping your fence is with an electric fence. This will discourage them from getting too close in the first place!
What Animal Keeps Coyotes Away?
Dogs are the obvious choice when it comes to keeping coyotes away – large guard dogs like the Great Pyrenees and others are excellent choices. But did you know there are other, odder, choices for keeping coyotes away? How about a donkey?
Strange as it might sound, donkeys are actually exceptional at keeping coyotes away. This is because they don’t like canines and will stand their ground. Donkeys aren’t as protective of the herd as they are of their territory and themselves, but they can still be very effective at keeping coyotes away. And they’re excellent at spotting threats because of their large ears and widerange of vision.
When donkeys spot a coyote in their territory, they can crush the coyote with blows from their front and back feet, and they will also bite the coyote with their large teeth. And when they think there’s a threat to their space, they can alert the herd and farmer with their loud braying.
Another benefit of donkeys is that unlike their relatives the horses, they don’t cost an arm and a leg to keep. They cost no more than a couple hundred dollars to purchase, and they usually eat the same foods as the rest of the herd.
Of course, guard donkeys come with their problems. If you raise them with the rest of your animals, they come to think of themselves as one of the herd or flock. But if you introduce a grown donkey, especially a male, to the herd, they can harm or even kill some of the animals. This is particularly true of donkeys who have never been with livestock before and in extreme cases may think of your herd as the threat!
Donkeys can also only fight off one coyote at a time, so if you know you have multiple coyotes that might attack your herd, donkeys might not be the best choice for you. Despite their problems, if you do the research and know how to handle them, donkeys can be an excellent addition to your farm if it’s on the smaller side.
What are Coyotes Scared Of?
Coyotes are naturally afraid of humans, but as they have moved into more suburban or urban areas, they have gotten used to seeing humans on a normal basis.The problem with this is that the more used to humans coyotes get, the more likely they are to test the limits and become aggressive.
Running away from a coyote is one of the worst things you can do. When you run away, you trigger the coyote’s prey drive and encourages it to chase you. Try not to show fear. Coyotes have a way of sensing fear, and this can also trigger its prey drive.
Yes, “hazing” coyotes is actually a thing! If a coyote thinks humans are friendly and happy to see them, they’ll keep coming back again and again. Hazing convinces coyotes that they should be afraid to come in your yard or near your animals.
Generally, you should use a variety of different methods, so the coyote doesn’t become used to it and lose its fear of humans again. There are several ways you can haze a coyote that appears on your property.
- Being loud – The easiest method is to approach the coyote while yelling and waving your arms. If it doesn’t run away at first, keep walking toward it until it gets the message. You might need to keep approaching it if it only retreats a short distance. But remember that if the coyote tries to come toward you, it’s best to leave the area, as a wild animal that approaches you could be rabid.
- Using loud objects – After a while, coyotes may get used to your yelling and you may need to use different methods. Other objects you can use to make noise include bells, cans of pennies or marbles, whistles, or pan lids banging together.
- Throwing something –You might need to throw something like sticks, rocks, balls, or cans at the coyote as a warning.
- Liquids – Coyotes don’t like to get wet, so spraying them with a hose can discourage them from coming to the area.
Most of the time, it only takes a couple of times to haze a coyote, but you might need to repeat several of these methods a few times to discourage a particularly stubborn coyote.
Another thing to remember is that you should never feed a coyote. Feeding a coyote encourages it to approach humans for more food, and eventually lose its fear of humans. As it gets bolder, it’s more likely to come back and prey on pets and other animals. Never “bait” a coyote to go to a particular spot.
While coyotes can seem like an intimidating threat to your home,using a combination of the tips above will keep you and your home safe from coyotes.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare