Every rancher strives to take care of their livestock as best as they can. This includes ensuring they are well fed and that they are protected against diseases. However, predators still remain a significant threat to cattle across the country.
Ranchers in the Midwest often need to keep their livestock safe from predators such as coyotes, bobcats, and even the occasional black bear. If you’re tired of losing your animals to such predators, try implementing some of the cattle protection solutions mentioned below.
1. Invest in a Good Fence
A fence is the most basic type of security feature you can implement to keep your livestock safe from predators. Your property may already have a fence to prevent livestock such as cows, sheep, and pigs from escaping. However, this fence might not offer adequate protection against predators capable of slipping through or hopping its borders.
For this reason, you should invest in mesh wire electric fencing. This mesh is too narrow for predators such as coyotes to squeeze through. The electric protection should also deter larger predators such as black bears that might attempt to climb the fence.
If you’d like to protect poultry from birds of prey, you can hang a web of fishing lines above your coop. You can also add motion-activated alarms around your property’s perimeter to scare off predators that get too close to the fence.
2. Get an Animal for Protection
A guardian animal can help keep your livestock safe from predators. Most people think of farm-trained guard dogs for this purpose. Such dogs are great at deterring coyotes and bobcats. However, they might not be as effective at keeping away small predators such as rats.
In such situations, you can get a barn cat to guard your chickens and keep their eggs safe. Alternatively, you can get a rooster to alert you of any dangers in the chicken coop.
3. Keep Different Animal Types Together
Another useful strategy to keep vulnerable cattle safe from predators is to pair them up with different animals. For example, you can let your sheep graze alongside cows. This strategy deters predators that are strong enough to attack sheep but are afraid of large animals such as cows that can stand their ground.
4. Offer the Right Housing
Your livestock are most vulnerable when they are resting at night. For this reason, you should ensure they are housed in a structure that keeps them protected from predators. This could be a barn or simply an area with adequate fencing.
Such housing also keeps your livestock protected from the view of any predators that pass by your property at night.
5. Offer Alternative Prey
Predators often enter ranches and farms when they are desperate for food. These animals would generally prefer to avoid areas where humans are present. However, their desperation may force them to cross such boundaries.
For this reason, you might be able to keep your livestock safe by housing close to an area where other types of prey are present. For example, keeping a chicken coop near a field populated by rabbits would keep birds of prey satiated enough to avoid attacking your chickens. In some cases, you could also consider planting crops to attract rabbits for this purpose.
6. Adapt to the Predator’s Patterns
Another great strategy is to plan your livestock activities around your predator’s patterns. For example, if you know certain predators, such as bobcats, prowl the edge of your property at a specific time each day, you can get your larger cattle, such as cows to graze during that time slot.
This will give these predators the impression that there is no vulnerable prey for them to hunt on the property.
7. Invest in a Firearm
One of the last resort solutions for ranchers and farmers who wish to keep their livestock protected is to invest in a firearm. However, this tip will depend on your shooting skills. After all, no one wants to accidentally shoot their own livestock when attempting to kill a predator that has entered their ranch or farm.
This solution also has limited applications as you will need to be present and alert when the predator makes its way onto your property. So it’s best to use a combination of the tips mentioned above if you want to keep your cattle safe at night.
Keeping Your Livestock Safe
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to keep your cattle safe from predators. So consider implementing some of these strategies on your ranch or farm and offer your livestock a better-protected lifestyle.