OUR FARMERS ARE DAILY NEEDING TO LEARN THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO CARE FOR AND SUPPORT
GUARDIAN DOGS IN THE IMPORTANT ROLE THEY PLAY
Below is a link to a valuable facebook group “Learning about LGDs” Very experienced breeders and long time owners of these guardians often answer questions that are posed. One of those is Jan Dohner, who we have highlighted here on our Network. It is good to have a place to go to support each other.
INTELLIGENT CARNIVORES LIKE COYOTES ARE LIKE US IN SOME WAYS, BUT THEIR LIVES ARE NOT LIKE OURS AT ALL.
HOW ARE THEY LIKE US? Parents teach their young ones what they need to know to survive. Coyote pups who grow up in a stable family where their parents teach them who their prey are and how to hunt them, do not view livestock as their food source. Coyotes who do not grow up in a stable family…those whose parents are killed when the pups are too young…..have not learned who their prey are, nor how to hunt them successfully…they are always hungry!
So you want to keep stable coyote families on your farm.You want them to eat their wild prey, and never get a taste of your domestic animals.
HOW ARE COYOTES’ LIVES DIFFERENT FROM OUR LIVES: STARVATION IS THEIR TRAVELING COMPANION! And this is especially the case with coyotes who do not live in a stable situation.
SO ~ PLACING ANY DOMESTIC ANIMAL PARTS OR DEAD ANIMALS OUT BEYOND YOUR PASTURE IS A VERY DANGEROUS UNDERTAKING. You are giving them a taste for your livestock! In this context, never allow anyone in your community to bait coyotes on your farm.
KEEP OUR COYOTES AND OTHER CARNIVORES WILD! THEY HAVE WORK TO DO IN THE ECOSYSTEM OF YOUR FARM.
COME JOIN US IF YOU CAN~ On June 28 at 7:00 PM
in Darrows Barn at the Damariscotta River Association’s Round Top Farm, Damariscotta, Maine.
A panel discussion about the challenges and rewards involved in bringing back large apex predators, specifically cougars back to their native habitat (and their expanded range as Coyote) here in the North East. How can human communities adapt to co-exist with and benefit from their presence. Included in the panel are outstanding author Will Stolzenburg, Maine’s federal biologist, Mark McCullough, and Chris Spatz of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation.
AS FARMERS ~ DO NOT LET THE CARNIVORES REMAIN STRANGERS TO YOU.
What do forests have to do with the success of your farm? Actually ….a great deal!
The forests on your farm play an important role in keeping your farm healthy and protecting life on your farm from disease. First of all, the forests are refuges for the carnivores, who are important in balancing their prey populations, (herbivores) who can have a serious affect on the landscape if their populations are not balanced.
These herbivores can also diminish the homes of important bird species that control insects on your farm.
So we encourage you to pick up this wonderful book pictured above. it will open a whole new world to you, and you will never look at your forest in the same way.
And speaking of important birds whose homes the predators keep available to them ~ the following is a delightful link that speaks about what your wintering birds – namely our chickadees and nuthatches – do to keep your trees healthy and insects in check. (Though they are referring to the trees in the West, it all holds true for our trees in the east)
THIS IS WHERE WE WERE LAST WEEK ~ ESSEX, NEW YORK IN THE BEAUTIFUL ADIRONDACKS
Geri Vistein, wildlife biologist on the right and Abby Sadauckas amazing farmer in Maine on the left
with Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont in the background.
What an energizing experience it was for all, thanks to the Essex Farm Institute’s organization of this event. . Geri had the opportunity to share knowledge of the carnivores’ lives in a realistic and valuable way for our farmers, Abby shared her experience as a farmer in what her family does to farm well with carnivores present on their farm in Maine. And.Shaun from the Ben Wever Farm in the Adirondacks shared poignant thoughts on his journey of understanding carnivores.
And that journey goes on for all of us! We are in a learning mode, so sharing is vital!
Farms are not isolated parcels but are part of an entire community. Carnivores play an important role in the Earth’s ecosystems; systems that agriculture thrives in. This lyceum will be a panel discussion with Geri Vistein, a Carnivore Conservation Biologist who will take us into the lives of the carnivores living in the North Country, describing their sociology, hunting habits and life cycles. Abby Sadauckas, whose family owns the Applecreek Farm in Bowdoinham, Maine, and is a member of the Farming with Carnivores Network, will share her farm’s understanding of the carnivores around them, and what they do to live together with them. Shaun and Linda Gilliland are local livestock farmers who use a combination of tools to protect against predators. They will discuss their experiences farming with carnivores over the years.
IT IS WINTER TIME ~ A challenging time to farm; also a LIFE AND DEATH STRUGGLE for wild carnivores.
It is important for you to know that carnivores walk this line of survival, that they are often on the edge of starvation in the winter.
That is why Guardian Animals are such an important part of your team in the winter. Note the photo above, taken by Billy Foster of the Foster Farm in Maine. Though his fencing is excellent, the deep snow would allow a carnivore to jump over it with ease.
BUT ~ His guardian dogs are present, and have been present all year. There is an UNDERSTANDING between them and the Coyote family who live on his farm. Note the Coyote tracks that REMAIN on the outside of the fence.
SO ~ if you are thinking about acquiring one of these amazing guardians for your farm, the following are some questions and thoughts to think about and research this winter:
Do your homework first
Do you need one at all/do you need more than one…why or why not
When should you use a Llama or donkeys instead of a guardian dog?
What makes a Guardian dog, a guardian dog?
What breed is right for you…differences in breeds?
What does a guardian dog do for your farm?
How to acquire a Guardian dog (breeders)
What is the role of a good breeder?
The importance of good fencing for your guardians
When and how to introduce them to the farm animals and farm
Wild mothers teach their young ones all they need to survive. And teaching them WHAT their food is and WHERE to find it, is imperative for their survival. For those carnivores who live in a family, both the parents teach their young about food.
So it is important to know, that on your farm you want carnivore parents to not recognize any of your farm animals as a source of food. If they do, they will teach this to their young….and the cycle keeps going on and on. The use of animal husbandry practices like guardian dogs, llamas and donkeys, as well as electric fencing and the other practices shared on this website will encourage the mother carnivore to teach their young how to hunt wild prey. Below is an article about changing our behavior in order to change a bear’s behavior ~ And this goes for other intelligent carnivores as well!