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October 7th, 2015

When you have birds and livestock you learn quickly that predators must be controlled. We do what we can to be predator friendly, I recognize that they are valuable in the grand scheme of things and don’t have the time to be constantly watching out for them. They can become a problem when they lose fear of humans and become pests, which they sometimes do. We’ve done what we can around here to be predator friendly, we have Tara (our Anatolian Shepherd) to scare them off, we have electric fences to keep the birds contained, we have cleared areas to help keep them away from the buildings and birds. For the most part I see foxes here and there throughout the day. They don’t bother the birds unless they get out of their electric fences. I see lots of coyote tracks in the winter, but they stay away from the house & the cleared areas.
Monday, I was working in the garden and looked up to see a coyote watching me work. Tara was barking and it was unfazed. I got up and walked towards it and took this photo with my phone (my good camera was inside). It just sat down and watched me. I yelled at it and it didn’t budge. Most predators I don’t mind as they’re smaller and don’t bother the cats, coyotes can and will grab pets if they can. I know of several people who have lots pets to them. I had Dexter and the Littles out working with me in the garden right before I spotted this predator. And so begins the task of trying to figure out how to keep these guys farther away from the fields and the house. When they lose their wariness of humans and guard dogs they can become a big problem, I’m going to be doing my best to help them remember why they should stay away from humans. It looks like I might be carrying a gun while I work in the garden, just in case I need it. I’ll be contacting places about the price of a perimeter fence and maybe start looking into other methods of deterring the coyotes from getting so close. Perhaps a big fence and another Anatolian is in order, but of course that’s a pricey venture.

What predators do you deal with in your garden? 

16 Comments to “Grrrrr”
  1. PennyAshevilleNC on October 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Whoa- that is intimidating. I do not have wildlife issues since I am in a city block. I wonder how it became comfortable- do you think it has been lurking and learning your routines? I look forward to hearing others’ suggestions, and I will be thinking of y’all while you protect your homestead.

    Reply to PennyAshevilleNC's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2015 at 8:28 am

      It has probably just seen humans enough without anything happening to scare it. If I shoot at it then it will learn quickly that humans are dangerous. I’m guessing it’s looking for a quick meal, the birds seem to attract predators because it’s like fast food for predators. Eastern coyotes are also supposed to be less wary of humans than Western ones, at least from what I read.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Nita on October 7, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Cougars, bobcats and coyotes are the worst and in that order. We keep the dogs fenced in an a acre and a half area and that pretty much works. The coyotes now are after fruit and are a little more inclined to push the dogs to get it. The big cats go where they please just like cat so fencing isn’t that much of a deterrent.

    Stay safe Susy. I second the gun, I take both a dog and a gun when in the forest to forage or for walks.

    Reply to Nita's comment

  3. Beth in Ky on October 7, 2015 at 8:55 am

    The hubby has gotten pictures from his trail camera of packs of 4 coyotes together. This feels very dangerous to me.
    Are there bears in your area. We bear hunted in northern Maine years ago. Love Maine, hate the drive.

    Reply to Beth in Ky's comment

  4. Holly on October 7, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I’m sorry, Susy- that stinks. Have you ever read Barbara Kingsolver’s novel Prodigal Summer? Your post made me think of it. It’s a beautiful picture of the tension between us and them, unresolved as all good Kingsolver is. (And the them in the novel are actually coyotes.)
    Anyway, just wanted to ask and say I hope you find a good solution!

    Reply to Holly's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2015 at 11:11 am

      I have read it. I don’t mind them, but they can become an issue when they have no predators. I worry they will become a nuisance and then I’ll have to do something more to deal with them. There’s always a balance to be found.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. carol on October 7, 2015 at 9:04 am

    A mother bear and her 3 cubs were in my back yard last month. A much larger male bear in my neighbors yard a week before that took down a large bird feeder. I banged some pots together hoping to scare him away but he just stood up on his hind legs and kind of laughed at me. Both were tagged and don’t seem to be afraid of people. I of course am very afraid! This is in small town Plainville Ct.

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  6. Lee on October 7, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I live in the city and we have coyotes. Good luck scaring them off.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  7. Wendy on October 7, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Since getting chickens three years ago, this is the first year we have not lost any birds to predators. In the past, raccoons have been our biggest problem, but we also have coyotes, bears, and cougars in our area, although we have only ever seen coyotes on our property. When we see coyotes they are always by themselves, but at night we hear them running in packs, which is creepy. Hope you and your animals stay safe and that you find a good solution!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  8. Robin Follette on October 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    This week has been a painful experience with the neighbor’s dog. Our worst offender in wildlife is the raccoon, then bobcats. It used to be coyotes but trappers caught 25+ in three nights around the house years ago, and the population is small and stable now. We’ve live trapped four raccoons and two skunks outside the hen house door in the last two weeks.

    I’m trying to think through a fortress for the birds that allow them to be out on pasture and safe at the same time. I have a basic idea.

    It’s never ending. I’ll be looking for a guardian dog pup for spring.

    Reply to Robin Follette's comment

  9. Lindsey @ HerbandFlowerSoapCo on October 7, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Yes. What a situation, indeed. We are getting ready to move out onto some land and our friends who own acreage out where we are going routinely tape coyote song and send it to us – probably to gear us up! (Or freak us out…)
    I think a small sidearm is what I will be wearing as I work our fields – we will have sheep and that creates it’s own issues. Also, we will be getting a LGD as well – just trying to hash out the best breed. (I’m partial to pugs so have no expertise in this area!)
    It’s like I don’t want to kill the pests, I just want them to go away! You know, don’t go away angry; just go away? Kind of like that…
    Good luck lady!

    Reply to Lindsey @ HerbandFlowerSoapCo's comment

  10. Julia at Home on 129 Acres on October 7, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I share your live and let live philosophy. Especially living where we are where we are the interlopers. We had a very bold coyote this spring. I didn’t mind him when he was curious–even when he trailed the dog and i on our morning walk–but he just got a little too comfortable… and that made me very uncomfortable.

    Reply to Julia at Home on 129 Acres's comment

  11. Monica on October 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I think that coyotes are becoming more of an invasive problem. I live in a medium sized city (300k ish people) and there have been reports of coyotes stalking runners on the trails in the city limits (within 1-2 miles of down town). It’s somewhat disturbing, because not only do you have to deal with being fearful of people, but you have to deal with something that is much better at stalking you.

    Reply to Monica's comment

  12. Nebraska Dave on October 8, 2015 at 8:41 am

    ht some times but being in a urban area probably keeps them from really getting too bold. Deer have been tremendously detrimental to gardens and flower beds. Of course being within the city limits guns are not an option. Raccoons and Opossums as well as groundhogs are garden lovers as well. And who could forget rabbits. So, yeah, I may not have any livestock to protect but keep unwanted wildlife out of the garden is a challenge as well. Ha, I can just picture a pistol packing Susy out in the garden.

    Have a great day in the garden. Wish I could have gotten some of those strawberries.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  13. Mandie on October 10, 2015 at 7:31 am

    We have gardens, bees, and chickens- I fenced the gardens while I expanded this year to keep out the bunnies and deer (but it didn’t keep out the chickens!!) Our bees got attacked by 3 bears in August, but it could’ve been much worse. I think we had a raccoon trying to peel the wire off the coop at night, and now we have something trying to dig around the edges – our plan for this weekend is doing something around the outside to deter. Nothing is afraid of our pit bull (except people! Imagine!)

    Right now we have two large “families” of turkeys that we’ve watched grow all summer, we have lived here 2 years and haven’t seen any skunks or coyotes but I know they’re around! It appears as though the hawks haven’t discovered our chickens yet, so I’m thankful for that!

    Reply to Mandie's comment

  14. John on October 11, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Gun is good to carry. Another option that would require a little effort on your part is to find someone local that traps. They can help to thin out the population that accesses your property. We even have a local group that works with farms to hunt predators, they sell the furs, etc to buy the required night-scoped gear for this effort.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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