You put a lot into raising your horses. In addition to the thousands of dollars each animal is worth and the thousands of dollars you pay each year to keep them healthy and fed, there’s also a human connection that forms between horses and owners. Even the most experienced horse rancher gets to know the animals in the herd, and losing one to night predator attacks can feel devastating on a personal level (in addition to the financial damage a lost animal represents). Protecting the herd at night is one of the most important parts of keeping a successful ranch.
As people move into rural areas, it’s inevitable that we bump into wild predators. Coyotes, cougars, wolves and even bears turn up all over North America, and under the right circumstances, they pose a serious threat to domesticated horses. Ranchers do what they can to keep horses safe, but smart predators have a knack for getting past gates and fences when no one is looking. Whether you’re raising $100,000 show horses or $10,000 trail nags, you owe it to your horses to keep coyotes and other predators away from the herd.
Keeping a Predator-Resistant Ranch
There are several things you can do to keep your horses safe from coyotes and other night time predators. Most predators like to stalk herd animals from the cover of dense brush, so keeping a clear field of at least 20 or 30 yards all around meadows and paddocks tends to discourage stalk-and-pounce types of predators from getting too close. Another thing you can do is keep in touch with your neighbors and nearby ranchers. Predatory animals tend to establish ranges, and if there’s one in your area, they might reveal themselves by attacking other ranches’ animals first. If attacks do occur, it might be worth it to go looking for the predator’s den or to drive them out of the area for good.
Physical Barriers to Protect the Herd
No matter how careful you are to keep predators away, one of them will inevitably find your property. Physical barriers around your property and herd can be crucial in deterring attacks at night. Make sure the perimeter fence around your land is in good shape and doesn’t have any gaps in it. Determined predators will get past this, however, so at night your horses should be kept in either a secure barn or stables with tubular steel bars and chicken wire to keep out predators of all sizes. Inspect the wire whenever you get a chance since some night hunters will return over and over to gnaw on loose edges until they can get inside.
Dogs are Horses’ Best Friends Too
For thousands of years, dogs have been humans’ front-line defense against predators at night. Dogs have excellent senses of hearing and smell, and good herd dogs aren’t shy about barking up a storm when something seems off. Hound dogs can smell a predator days after it skulks past your property, and most shepherds and mastiffs will put up a fight to protect your horses if it comes to that.
Alarms Work but Have Drawbacks
As good as dogs are for protecting your horses from night predators, they can’t be everywhere at once. Sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with a predator that’s either smart and determined enough to get past the dogs or is dangerous enough that your dogs can’t drive it off. Alarms can draw human attention if they’re loud enough to be heard indoors, but there are drawbacks to this.
One problem most horse ranchers would like to avoid is hearing loud alarms at night, which can upset the horses as much as they do the predators. Constantly waking up your herd in the night with jarring alarms can negatively impact the horses’ health, especially when the mares have young foals to protect. Alarms might also fail to frighten away determined predators like coyotes and other intelligent canines (such as wolves).
Nothing Beats a Nite Guard for Nighttime Protection
Nite Guard Solar is a very effective answer to this problem. The base unit is portable, and you can position it anywhere predators are likely to approach. Drawing energy from top-mounted solar panels during the day, Nite Guard emits a powerful red flash at night that looks to predators like the eyes of another dangerous animal.
Animal behavior experts have confirmed that the blinking red light Nite Guard Solar emits unnerves predatory animals and gives them the uncomfortable feeling they’re being watched by another, possibly more dangerous, animal while they’re hunting. Most night predators refuse to hunt if they sense they’re being watched, which can cause them to abandon their planned attack on your horses.
The red flash Nite Guard Solar emits is ignored by horses and other domesticated animals, and the weatherproof, soundless unit looks even to human trespassers as if it’s an alarm system they should avoid. For more information about how Nite Guard Solar can help keep your horses safe from coyotes and other night predator attacks, call 1-800-328-6647 or email us today.