Farming is a Community Affair

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Farming is a community affair, both with our human community and the larger community of life on your farm. A farmer’s inclusive behavior that welcomes the larger community of life makes for a healthy and biodiverse farm.

So welcome to this Webinar that shares all the ways a farmer can use to live well with carnivores with whom they share their land. And in return, you will learn all that carnivores offer to you in “free service.”

Guard Coyotes – A Wyoming Sheep Rancher says Coyotes Guard his Flock

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Photo by Katherine Davis

Often an experience in Life changes our pre-conceived ideas forever. And when it comes to large predators, those pre-conceived ideas are so strong that they blind one from understanding what is happening right in front of one’s eyes.

But STOPPING….. and taking the time to LOOK AND UNDERSTAND, one can come to realize the absolute opposite of the pre-conceived ideas. And so it was for this rancher who started to really look at what his resident coyote was really about.

And what I admire most about this rancher, is that he wanted to publically share what he learned. He wanted to share it in a state and a culture that held deeply negative perspectives regarding our Native wild dog ~ Coyote. I believe that this is how we as humans slowly advance in our relationship with these important predators.



Managing your Land FOR Predators

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Rodent Patrol

Dayton Hyde was a rancher way ahead of his time. He understood that his land was an ecosystem, and so he treated all Life present there as valued – that included the Coyotes.

He understood that if the Coyotes who lived on his land had a good life….a rich environment and plenty of wild prey… they would do him only good.

Here is an excerpt from Varmints and Victims  in which author Van Guys writes of Hyde’s views ~
Dayton Hyde, in recognizing that most ranchers created predator problems through poor range management techniques, such as neglecting to remove carrion or overgrazing, chose an alternative approach.

(Quoting Dayton Hyde) “The only thing I could do was manage my land for predators instead of against them and hope that someone, someday would look over my fences and realize that I had something special going for me.”

“By giving up poisoning, restoring marshes, and generally fostering healthy land, Hyde kept Coyotes fed year round on abundant small prey species, and had no trouble. “My Coyotes are good gentlemen” he informed a Senate Hearing in 1971. They are well fed, they are happy. They have done me not one harsh thing.”

Dayton Hyde

Dayton Hyde recognized that he was sharing his land with highly intelligent, social, sentient beings and he treated them as such.

We are learning from the leaders and then trusting in self to follow his lead.

Click on this link to read about these young farmers who are following his lead.

This is the Language and Perspective of the Future

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ed | Farming with Carnivores Network

Anatolian Shepherd

This is how a farmer’s relationship with carnivores shall look like in the future, as more and more enlightened farmers understand how to share the land successfully!

Alpacas Warn Guard Dogs of Coyotes’ Presence on California Farm

Story by Pandora Dewan

As well as alpacas, the farm houses chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, miniature cows and miniature horses, all of which are tasty prey for the coyotes.

Coyotes are very common in our area,” Draper said. “Our ranch is surrounded by empty fields with high, heavy grasses where coyotes freely travel and use as denning areas. Coyotes are especially active this time of year because it is mating season…[the] coyotes are more bold and [are] expanding their territory.”

The guard dogs have learned to respond to the alpacas’ alert signals, and call to attention on hearing their alarm cries, as can be seen in the video.

“Our livestock guardian dogs keep the peace and the coyotes are happy to move on to easier prey while our animals stay safe,” Draper said. “It’s a great way for wildlife and farm animals to coexist because coyotes are risk averse and generally don’t want to suffer injury or death to take on large Anatolian Shepherds. A warning from our livestock guardian dogs is enough for coyotes to move on.”

Usually, the guard dogs will detect coyotes and other threats before the alpacas do. But, on rare occasions, the alpacas get there first. “The alpacas have an advantage with their long necks to see into the fields surrounding us and see a coyote traveling further off in the high dense grass when the livestock guardian dog may not otherwise detect it.

“The alpacas are an “early warning” system: they are seeing something far off before it is anywhere near approaching our fencing and becoming a real threat.”

This peculiar partnership has kept the Raventree Ranch’s animals safe for years.

“Our three livestock guardian dogs are Bo, Lily and Judge,” Draper said. “They are Anatolian Shepherds, a Turkish breed of livestock guardian dog. In six years, we have never lost a farm animal and no coyote has ever been harmed. They are excellent deterrents.”


A Farmer’s Story of Fox and Coyote

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Coyote Family
Photo by: Janet Kessler

As a carnivore biologist in Maine, I enjoy visiting our farms and supporting our farmers in their efforts to coexist peacefully with our carnivores.

I have many stories about farmers and farmers tell me many stories. But this one is especially poignant, as it manifests the many intricacies of relationships in the ecosystem of a farm.

So during my visit to a farm in western Maine this farmer introduced me to her farm animals…chickens, ducks, horses and new piglets. She told me of a COYOTE whose territory included her farm, and a FOX who lived in the forest on the other side of her farm. She never had any issues with the Coyote, as he actually assisted her by doing rodent patrol on her farm.

The FOX was kept away from her chickens by the presence of the Coyote. So the Coyote was unknowingly protecting her chickens…just by his presence.

Then an individual from away moved in next to her farm and began killing the entire Coyote family present there. And what ensued was tragic for the farmer…. The FOX, now recognizing that Coyote was no longer present, felt safe coming to her farm and killing her chickens.

What is so significant about this whole scenario… that the farmer understood what happened in the relationship between Coyote and Fox and the human neighbor. Human interference by killing important carnivores can have a myriad of negative consequences.

Now that her Coyote neighbors were gone, her only alternative to protect her animals from the fox, was to purchase a Guardian Dog….which she has done.  Before that……Coyote was what you might call her Guardian Dog…

Geri Vistein
Carnivore Conservation Biologist

Farming with the Wild: Restraint and Respect

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A Wild Mother's Little Ones

A Wild Mother’s Little Ones

One of our Maine Farmers shared the following experience with us:

Many times on our farm we would hear coyotes and often see them hunting mice in the hayfield, when we were haying. They never threatened us but with two young sons, we were cautious. One evening my young boys and I went to our family’s blueberry field to check the crop and monitor for insect damage. I left the truck at the top of the hill and walked down to its other side. At the foot of the hill, about 800 feet from the truck, I saw movement in the tall grass. It is not uncommon to see deer in the field, so I motioned the boys closer to watch. Then only to realize they were Coyotes …six Coyote pups and their mother!

What happened next answered many questions I had of Coyotes. I instructed my boys to walk slowly back to the truck. And I would remain near the coyotes as a distraction until the boys were safe.

A Mother’s instinct is very strong, and not just in humans! Mama Coyote was doing the same thing as I. She began yipping at her pups. Listening to her calls, her pups circled around and headed for the refuge of the woods.  Mama Coyote and I stood about 500 feet apart…just watching each other, and willing to do whatever to protect our babies.

When my boys were safe in the truck and her pups safe in the woods, we each backed up slowly and parted ways peacefully.  I will never forget that evening; just two mothers feeling the same…..regardless in the difference in species.

Allowing experiences like this to enfold brings one into a whole new world, one that we didn’t even know existed….inside of us. But it is that willingness to let it unfold which makes it happen.

This woman farmer came to deeply understand that this mother Coyote felt just like her….when it came to her protectiveness of her little ones. But something even more was happening here…the restraint, the trust. For the mother Coyote she knew well the violence of humans. It had been passed down in her culture over the past 200 years, ever since the Europeans arrived. And for the farmer, only the fear of powerful carnivores had been passed down to her own species. Yet the two of them trusted each other, and used restraint.

And when this happens….you are never the same.

When we speak about Farming of the Future …..THIS is what we are speaking about.

Conversations on Farming of the Future & Coyote

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Raychell and Jay of Fervor Farm

It is just so refreshing and exciting to watch how our farmers of today are taking on the Leadership of creating a farm that is a healthy, resilient ecosystem. Inherent in their perspective is the need for carnivores to be present…welcomed and undertstood and valued.

And so without further adieu …inviting you to relax and take in this marvelous conversation initiated a young farmer in Hollis, Maine, Raychell Libby of Fervor Farm.

The Essential Coyote