Predators

Predators can present major problems for livestock producers.  Although I have no statistics to prove it, predation must be the number one reason for summer cattle losses in the neighbourhood.

Coyotes, bears, wolves and wild dogs (not in that order) are often the ones that get the blame.

coyote grizzly

On First Nature Farms, we not only have cows that can wander through miles of wilderness but we also raise bison, pigs (bears love pork), turkeys (coyote dinner) and chickens (raven treats).

Our next door neighbour lost 9 calves a couple summers back.  Losses of sheep and lambs in the area are common.  Even people who live close to town have had coyotes come and steal their dogs.

One can start to wonder how it is even possible for someone so far away from settlement, living right next to the vast wilderness of BC, to raise livestock on in the forests and open pasture.

I have often wondered the same thing.  I’ve raised livestock on pasture since the 1980’s but the number of predator kills and injuries have been minimal.  We’ve had the occasional turkey taken by coyotes but none for years.  For at least 2 years, all the calves that went out to pasture in the spring returned in the fall.

The ravens have it figured how to nab a chicken but lately, they don’t really seem to bother them.  I had a friend who had to get out of the pig business because of coyote predation. I can see tracks that coyotes have made, right by the pigs and turkeys.  Neighbours used to call “I saw a coyote in your pasture!”.

raven

For some reason, the predators seem to leave us alone.  In all the years I’ve been out there, I have never allowed the use of poison bait (Gov’t of Alberta), hunters or traps to kill any predators.  I myself have never had to kill a coyote or any other predator.

Why? I don’t know.  Maybe the coyotes remember Joe the donkey who has since retired to the yard.  Maybe “Jack” the dog who mostly patrols the front of the deck.  Maybe the “electric turkey” I hooked to the fence years ago.  Maybe there is a balance that still exists between predator and their natural prey.

If anyone is reading this who is having problems with predators, contact me. Maybe I can help.