Coyotes are medium-sized predatory animals related to both wolves and dogs. They eat a wide variety of prey and often attack goats and other small to medium-sized domestic animals. However, there are ways to ensure that your goats are safe from coyotes. These include having adequate fencing, keeping your animals in top condition, using sheds and pens strategically, and getting a guard animal to watch over the goats.
- Maintain good fencing
Use mesh fencing with horizontal wires less than 6 inches apart and vertical wires less than 4 inches apart. Place a barbed wire strand at ground level to discourage digging. To prevent coyotes from climbing or leaping the fence, it needs to be at least 5 feet 6 inches tall. You can also use electric fences, though they are usually more expensive to install and maintain.
- Keep your animals healthy
Like all predators, coyotes tend to choose weak or sick animals as prey. Keep your goats healthy and well-fed to reduce their attractiveness to coyotes.
- Use sheds or pens for birthing and at night
When it's time for your nanny goats to give birth, keeping them in small pens or in sheds prevents coyotes from getting at the kids. Coyotes generally avoid people, so a pen or shed near human activity is the optimal arrangement. Coyotes also prefer to hunt from dusk to dawn, so keeping your herd in at night can reduce predation.
- Use a guardian animal
A dog, donkey or llama can guard your goats from coyotes 24 hours a day. Using a guardian works best when you raise the guardian animal with your goats so that it considers your goats part of its herd or pack. Donkeys and llamas live longer than dogs and can live on the same pastures as your goats, but they may not be a good choice if you use a herding dog to handle your stock.