Coyotes are year-round residents in Nova Scotia and are typically shy, avoiding contact with humans. Coyotes become a problem when they become habituated to humans, this happens when they gain access to food and associate getting a meal with people. Controlling scents from things like garbage and barbeques will prevent coyotes from becoming a problem.
Information for Livestock Farmers
Coyotes primarily cause problems for sheep farmers. Electric fencing has shown the most consistency in protecting sheep. Other methods include the use of guard animals and confining sheep at night. Coyotes may be harvested year round with the purchase of a wildlife habitat stamp from the Department of Natural Resources. However,this is not a sustainable solution to a coyote predation problem and other prevention methods should be adopted first (Source Think Farm).
Coyotes will typically bite their prey at the neck, and consume the internal organs first. This is in contrast to other species such as bear, which will leave puncture marks as well as deep claw marks.
Fences are the most costly, but are the most effective means of excluding coyotes
- Coyotes do not typically jump over fences, but are more likely to crawl or dig underneath them
- A five wire electric fence, with the bottom wire as close to the ground as possible will deter coyotes
- Use a minimum charge of 2000 volts. 4000-5000 volts is more effective
- Add electric wire to the top of page wire fences. Installing that wire on outside bottom will prevent coyotes from digging under the fence.
- If it is impossible to electrify a gate, then at least install a board or rock sill under the gate to prevent entrance by the coyote under the gate.
More information about constructing fences published by the Government of Alberta
Extensive instructions from the Pacific Northwest Extension Program (Oregon State University, Washington State University and University of Idaho)
Livestock Guardian Dogs
- Most commonly used with sheep
- Common breeds include Komondor (Hungary), Great Pyrenees (France and Spain), Akbash (Turkey), Maremma (Italy), Shar Planinetz (Yugoslavia), and Anatolian shephard (Turkey)
- A guard dog is a working dog, and should not be treated as a pet
- The dog is raised with the sheep so that it instinctually will protect them as a member of the flock
- To form a bond between dog and sheep, place the pup in a pen with three to six lambs when it is seven to eight weeks of age. The emphasis is on the dog-to-sheep association. The dog-to-human socialization should be minimized. After the initial socialization period, when the pup is at least 16 weeks old, it and its companion sheep can be put into a larger area. The dog should be encouraged to stay with the sheep and not allowed to hang around the house, children, or areas where sheep are not present.
- Donkeys are loud and can be aggressive toward dogs, making them a good candidate for protecting a flock from coyotes
- Not all donkeys are aggressive, which can make their effectiveness as a guard animal variable.
The DNR suggests:
- Guard donkeys should be medium-to-large size stock, not miniatures.
- Use jennies and geldings. Do not use jacks (males) as guard animals, because they are aggressive and will injure livestock.
- Test a new donkey’s guarding response by challenging the donkey with a dog in a corral or small pasture. Prepare yourself to reject non-aggressive donkeys.
- Use only one donkey or jenny and foal per pasture. When two or more adult donkeys are together, or with a horse, they usually seek company together instead of staying with the sheep. Avoid placing donkeys in adjacent pastures.
- Use donkeys in small, open pastures with smaller flocks of sheep. A guard dog can cross wooden gates and patrol several fields, but a donkey cannot. Large pastures with rough terrain and vegetation and widely scattered livestock, lessen the effectiveness of a donkey.
- Avoid feeds containing anabolic agents like monensin (Rumensin) and lasolacid (Bovatec), as these are poisonous to donkeys. Donkeys may founder if they eat a lot of prepared sheep feed.
- Llamas are also an effective deterrent (similar to the guard donkey), as they are naturally aggressive toward canines
- A single guard llama can be pastured with sheep, also llamas have the added benefit that they do not require as much training as guard dogs
- Should be at least 18 months of age
- Geld all males being sold as guard animals
- Llamas that do not show concern about activity going on around them or animals near them will not make good guards
Detailed information regarding guard llamas (Iowa State University Extension)
Information about guard llamas by the international llama association
House pets, especially small dogs and cats, are easy prey for coyotes. Keep these animals indoors when possible, especially at night.
- The NS DNR has a useful website explaining how to be coyote smart.
- DNR information for sheep farmers coping with coyotes.
- A list of frequently asked question from the DNR
- An extensive guide for managing coyote damages, including species information, identifying coyote damage, and methods of coping. From the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
- A great list of links created by the BC cattlemen regarding information about predators