Protecting Goats from Predators
Welfare and Protection from Predators
One of the most overlooked aspects of goat keeping is protection from predators. Most people think of goats as being fairly large animals that can fend for themselves, but adults will often fall prey to larger predators and predators that hunt in packs such as wild dogs and coyotes. Kids are suspectible to those same predators, plus many more, even including large birds of prey. it is important to make sure all goats are safely sheltered indoors from dawn to dusk and have good fencing during the day, preferrably with trees to help shelter them from overhead predators.
Never tether goats. A tethered goat is bait for any predator that lives in the area. Instead of tethering your goats, build them a proper fence, or if you need to move them around, use cattle panel sections or electric wire to create a barrier that you can move from place to place during the day. And supervise them or get them a guardian for protection.
Appropriate shelter and fencing is a key element to successful goat keeping.
Dogs, donkeys (preferably jennies because male donkeys are too aggressive with the animals they are supposed to protect), and llamas and alpacas can all serve as full-time guard animals, but the effectiveness of any of them will also depend on the bonding, training, instincts, and temperament of individual animals. All guard animals require an investment of time and money, and there is no guarantee that they will be successful.
Dog breeds specifically developed for flock protection (for example Great Pyrenees) should be used. Sometimes a single guard animal will not be enough to protect the livestock. Several guard dogs may be necessary to patrol larger areas or to better protect against packs of predators. A llama and guard dog combination can be trained to work cooperatively, but donkeys or llamas will not properly bond to livestock if more than one of their own species is present with the livestock. Rotational grazing can sometimes help, because the livestock are confined to a smaller area, allowing guard animals to be more effective.
Some of the more common goat predators to guard against: