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You're right, they are not all coyotes.  Each canine can be a threat to other animals, though, especially to mild-mannered sheep.  The coyote is second from the right, between the fox and the wolf.  Coyotes are known by other names in different areas, including jackal and brush or prairie wolf.

Coyotes are particularly dreaded by livestock farmers.  In most areas of North America, they are responsible for more attacks on livestock than any other single predator.  They work effectively in packs (usually comprised of closely related adults and youngsters).  Nothing is as eerie to the farmer than the trademark coyote high-pitched yip howl.  They often pick off the weakest, oldest, youngest of the flock (often the animals of whom the tender-hearted farmer is fondest!). Coyotes may mate with farmers' dogs, producing coydogs.  Coydogs can be even more detrimental to livestock than pure coyotes as they have even less fear of humans.

So what can farmers do to protect their livestock? Livestock guardian dogs are a popular and effective solution.  Specific breeds of dogs are raised to be LGDs (Maremma Sheepdog, Great Pyrenees, Komondor among several other breeds), spending their puppyhood living and bonding with the farm animals they will later protect.  LGDs can develop such a dislike for other canines that they may even attack domestic dogs.  Other popular livestock guardian animals and birds include donkeys, llamas, even emus - these species simply dislike and mistrust canines and will act to defend what they perceive to be their herd from attack. 

Fences, especially woven (net) electric fences, are important to not only keep coyotes out but livestock in the safer confines of the farm field. Although attacks do occur during the day, predators are usually more active at night, so keeping livestock inside shelters at night significantly reduces losses.  The Electronic Guard uses sound and light to ward off predators, but a few of them may be needed, depending on the size of the herd.  Some farmers protect their flock with plastic collars, as coyotes most often attack the neck of their victims in an attempt to suffocate them.  Lethal livestock protection collars (which dispense a lethal solution into the mouth of the offending coyote) are available in some areas (but only with the approval of Wildlife Services). And some farmers use rifles to scare off or kill coyotes, but this approach is risky and not permitted in every jurisdiction.  Trapping is another method used, but it, too, is not legal everywhere.

Financial compensation for livestock lost to predators is provided by government agencies in some areas.

 

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