Secure Your Livestock & Their Food
Chickens and rabbits, and other small livestock can be big attractants for bears. If you want fresh eggs and have backyard chickens, you may have visiting bears and need to take precautions.
Most large livestock are not vulnerable to black bears. However newborn or baby animals can be at risk.
From chicken scratch to grain, all livestock feed can attract bears.
- Manage animal feed:
- Feed for your livestock and pets should always be stored away from the animals.
- Store feed either in a locked, bear-resistant shed, or in a bear-resistant container.
- Place livestock pens at least 50 yards away from wooded areas and other cover that could protect bears from view. Confine livestock in buildings and pens, especially during lambing or calving seasons.
- Consider bringing livestock, particularly smaller animals, inside at night.
- Remove carcasses from the site and dispose of them by rendering or deep burial.
- Standard chicken and rabbit coop designs aren’t strong enough to keep out a determined bear. Electric fencing works best to keep out bears and prevent structural damage to chicken coops. Electric fencing for an average-sized chicken coop should run between $150 – $400.
- For larger livestock in small pastures or yards, secure them in a sturdy pen or pasture with electric fencing. If you expect your animals are pregnant, keep them in a bear-resistant building, or within an electric fence until the young animals can fend for themselves.
- A guard animal such as a dog, donkey, or llama may protect livestock in large pastures from bears, coyotes and other potential predators. However, not all guard animals are equally suited for all situations and environments. Certain dog breeds may be better for preventing bear predation. Please research breeds and suitability before committing to a guard animal.
- Scare devices can frighten wary bears from livestock corrals, and orchards. Those devices include night lights, strobe lights, loud music, pyrotechnics, exploder canons, and scarecrows. However, the positions should be changed frequently or bears will overcome their fear and ignore them to get their desired food.