To Kill Or Not To Kill Small-Livestock Predators

| 7/16/2015 1:52:00 PM

Tags: Amy Fewell, Virginia, chickens, predators, ,

It is absolutely inevitable. At some point on your homesteading journey, you are most likely going to encounter a predator. But we're often tasked with that age old question - do you kill the predator, or "let nature take its course" and just try to perfect your security?

Maybe you've never asked that question, and simply go on the "kill it" war path because that's just what seems most common and advised. Or maybe you haven't yet had to deal with predators and your farm is built like Fort Knox (good for you!). Either way, there's really no right or wrong answer (unless it's against the law). But here are a few things to consider before grabbing that gun without second guessing.

I want to stress that this blog post is about small livestock (chickens, rabbits, etc), not larger livestock. Though it could be applied to both. Clearly, the larger the livestock, the more your livelihood depends on the safety of your animals. This may mean that you have to encounter larger predators in larger quantities (coyote/wolf and bear, for example), in which case, it is extremely understandable that you must take matters into your own hands when necessary.

When we first got chickens, I was extremely protective. Anything that even remotely looked the wrong way while passing by the coop was automatically labeled as a potential predator. I remember watching a raccoon trying to climb over the chicken run last Summer, and I immediately grabbed the gun and headed out the door. She scampered off before I ever got a shot in. I came to learn, weeks later, that she had a very hungry litter of babies she was trying to feed, and then it hit me...

Why am I trying to kill an animal that is simply doing its job - feeding its family and providing for itself?

dairy goat


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