Overview

There is no one tool or single preventative measure that will be equally effective in all flocks for all predators. A predation management plan can help to reduce predation to a tolerable level through:

  • good flock husbandry
  • guardian animals
  • good fencing
  • proper disposal of dead animals
  • appropriate techniques for dealing with problem predators

Dealing with wild predators falls under the jurisdiction of the Wildlife Act, as well as the Agricultural Pests Act for coyotes.

Lamb flock protection

Lamb producers in Alberta lose sheep to a number of different predators including bears, cougars, wolves, eagles, ravens and magpies. Despite the variety of predators, coyotes are responsible for the majority of predation losses across the province.

While the losses are relatively low when spread over the entire industry individual producers can have significant losses in any given year.

Poultry flock protection

Poultry producers can reduce or prevent predation by improving or extending care and management of their flocks.

Many poultry producers, particularly small scale operators, practise open range or unconfined management of their flocks. Unconfined flocks cannot be adequately protected from predation. Unconfined birds are easy targets for predators and entire flocks can quickly disappear without apparent cause.

Prevention is the easiest and most effective method to control predation. A little extra time and effort spent protecting poultry will produce healthy, intact flocks at market time and the peace.

Wild boars at large

Wild boar are farmed in Alberta as livestock. However, when they are not being raised as livestock on a farm, they are considered to be “at large” and are an invasive pest.

Wild boars at large can:

  • damage property, agricultural crops, pastures and the environment
  • endanger people and animals
  • harass livestock and consume their feed, prey on young livestock and wildlife
  • spread diseases that could be transmitted to wildlife, livestock, pets and people
  • alter the ecosystem
  • compete with wildlife and destroy other sensitive natural habitats
  • consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds

Learn more about wild boars and containment standards for boar farms.

Using an electric fence

Electric fences are an important tool for protecting livestock in Alberta. Electric fences have been used in the province to protect livestock from predators for decades.

Predators such as coyotes, wolves, bears and domestic dogs are shocked when they try to penetrate an electric fence. For the most part, electric fences have been used to protect pastured sheep. However, these fences do have other applications. They can be used around birthing yards to protect newborn calves or lambs, or they can serve to protect poultry and farmed deer.