P is for predator-friendly farming

There are nonlethal ways to protect
your farm animals from predators.

On April 15th, my topic for the day was “nature’s cleanup crew.” Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada, who came to Grand Island to discuss better ways for humans and coyotes to co-exist peacefully, mentioned the term, “predator friendly environment.” 

Coyotes eat mice and ticks. They do not
eat dogs. They see dogs as competitors and
they may attack an unleashed dog.

“Coyotes in the landscape help farmers by eating rodents and by keeping out other coyotes,” Lesley said. 

Lesley said that humans can be good neighbors by being “attractant free.” She said that, even if people did not purposefully feed coyotes, they could be unwittingly feeding them. Coyotes, she said “love pumpkin and birthday cake” and just about anything that humans throw away. They also enjoy feasting at unsecured compost piles. Coyotes also like eating cat food or dog food that people leave out for stray animals.”

Here are some of Lesley’s suggestions for predator-friendly farming:

  • Make sure all compost piles and garbage cans are covered and secured. Raccoons will pull down garbage cans. An open garbage can will attract foxes, skunks, and coyotes.
  • Make sure to remove dog and cat food bowls that are left outside for stray animals.
  • Keep the pet dog on a leash. Lesley suggests not using leashes that extend. “A lot can happen with that leash.” Dogs are seen as competition for food and as a danger to coyote pups. 
  • Do not permit dogs to chase coyotes or any wildlife.
  • Keep outdoor grills clean, especially the oil pans. Dirty oil pans will attract rats.
  • Leave intact coyote family groups alone. If one or both members of the alpha coyote pair are killed, the family unit will suffer. The other members of the family will mate and will produce large litters. Unrelated coyotes will invade the territory, which will be less protected without the alpha pair.
  • Use fencing to keep out undesirable animals. Fences will have no effect on predatory birds, as they have the gift of flight.
  • Try aversion techniques with coyotes. This is called “hazing.” These are nonlethal methods of keeping coyotes away your territory. They mainly annoy coyotes and would include:
    • punching balloons. You could put jingle bells or beads inside the balloons.
    • getting something called “Nite Guard Solar Predator Lights.” This item activates at dusk and it produces flashes of light during the night.
    • getting bear spray. You might feel safe. It is likely, however, that “you’ll use it on a human long before you’ll use it on a coyote.”
    • shaking cans full of coins.
    • popping umbrellas.
    • snapping garbage bags.
If you come into contact with coyotes, here are a few tips:
  • Do not allow domestic dogs to chase or harass coyotes or to disturb dens.
  • High five your companions for safety.
  • Stop to pick up small children and small pets.
  • Stand still.
  • Shout and wave your arms above your head. Do not scream.
  • Slowly back away.
  • Never turn your back and run from any canine.
  • Share the experience, but do not exaggerate the story.
If you need expert advice on coyotes or other predator species, contact Elise Able. Her contact information is on her website, Fox Woods Wildlife Rescue, Inc., which is located in East Concord, New York. This is the link to Elise Able’s website

You could also call Coyote Watch Canada’s hotline at 905.931.2610. They are located in St. David’s, Ontario. this is the link to Coyote Watch Canada.

2 thoughts on “P is for predator-friendly farming”

  1. I read this with some interest. I lived out in the countryside of Arkansas for fur years; coyotes were a problem for our next door neighbor across the road, who had sheep. We never had a problem with coyotes (although we had tremendous problems with raccoons). These are all common sense tips. Now, if only we had known how to deal with raccoons…

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