If your homestead is in a fairly rural area and if you have animals, you are very likely to have predators. Even if you are an urban homesteader, you could still have some predators lurking about. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with predators on your homestead.
Types of Predators on a Homestead
There are many different types of predators that can invade a homestead and wreak havoc. The types depend largely on your geographic area. Certain predators tend to be more prevalent in some areas more than others.
- Coyotes – A single coyote will tend to go after animals that are small to medium-sized, including livestock like lambs, ducks, young goats, chickens, and pigs. However, a pack may target larger animals like adult goats and cattle.
- Bobcats – Bobcats are somewhat larger than a housecat, but they are still rather small compared to other wild cats. They are nocturnal hunters and tend to prey on whatever happens to be nearby such as sheep, poultry, goats, rabbits, and even small pets. Bobcat attacks often leave just the body of poultry with the head missing. Other prey will have claw marks and bite marks on the head and body.
- Raccoons – Raccoons are way too smart for their own good. They can open simple locks and open unlocked doors. They usually leave plenty of evidence that they have been there, leaving body parts of animals scattered about, especially in the chicken coop which is where their prey of choice is contained.
- Foxes – Foxes attack quickly and with very little warning so they rarely leave much if any evidence behind. They typically prey on poultry, rabbits, young livestock, and rodents, but will also invade a henhouse and crack the eggs, licking the inside and leaving just the shells.
- Hawks – Hawks hunt from the air and tend to prey upon smaller animals like chickens, rabbits, ducks, and even small dogs and cats. They will watch from tree tops or as they glide high in the air and then swoop down to suddenly snatch up their prey.
- Owls – Owls are nocturnal hunters so poultry is fairly safe as long as they are put up at dusk. Owls may also go after snakes and rodents which can be beneficial to the homestead. However, they do hunt small pets like cats and dogs as well.
- Weasels – Weasels will kill for food, but they also kill for sport, stacking the bodies of their prey often after decapitating them. They are persistent and will continue attacking animals on a homestead until they have no animals left to prey on, they get bored, or they are scared away. And chicken wire does not deter them.
- Opossums – Of all homestead predators, opossums are probably the laziest. They usually won’t attack anything unless it is very easy such as an animal that is injured, sick, or very young. They can spread the neurological disease equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) to animals by leaving their feces on the property and livestock eating it. In rare cases, the disease can be transmitted via opossum bite.
Deterring Predators on Your Homestead
The best way to deter predators on your homestead is by using a multi-deterrent approach. For instance, get a couple of dogs to guard your place, and have a high, secure fence you can keep predators out.
Electrified fencing either wire or net can help keep predators out. Fladry, a wire fence that has red flags attached to it works well for wolves and coyotes. Guardian animals work quite well and they extend beyond the Great Pyrannese canine to include donkeys, geese, mini-donkeys, and llamas.
You can also use flashing lights and noise devices as long as they are not continuous and are moved often. Painting predator eyes on your barn roof or the roof of your chicken coop can deter aerial predators like hawks and owls.
Keep all young animals and poultry in a predator proof area at night. When an animal gives birth on your property, quickly clean up the area and get the biological waste off your property – the same goes for animals that die on your property. Remove them or bury them.
Do not leave dog food and cat food out at night and don’t put meat, dairy, and eggs in your compost. Keep your garbage tightly closed, preferably in a locked area. And make sure that all locks are two-step locks to deter clever, curious raccoons.
It is possible to greatly reduce the presence of predators on your homestead. You may have to try a few things to find out what works, but eventually you should find the right combination.
You’ve been dreaming of homesteading for a while, maybe entertaining ideas of living off the land or being self-sustaining. Then reality hits.
Maybe you quit your job so that you could keep your focus solely on homesteading or maybe you needed to quit your job because you just didn’t have time to maintain your property and hold a job at the same time. Maybe your homestead property is located in an area that makes your commute too long and costly.
Whatever the case, the bills don’t stop. Some bills such as mortgage and property tax as well as daily expenses will not go away. Learning how to make money homesteading becomes a priority.
Why You Might Need to Earn Money Homesteading
If you can’t work, you aren’t likely to have an income stream that is adequate to support your needs. Newly purchased property typically carries a monthly payment and if you have not gone totally off-grid, then you will still have to pay for utilities. If you don’t have a well, then you’ll need to tap into the public water system which also carries a price.
And let’s not forget the government that will most certainly have its hand out for its piece of the pie. Property taxes are relentless.
Add to that equipment and vehicle registration each year, regular maintenance, and eventual replacement.
You will also have your own daily expenses for the things you do not or cannot make yourself such as toiletries, cleaning products, food that you don’t grow, furnishings, cooking utensils, and more. There is the potential for several different expenses that will vary according to your personal level of homesteading and your family’s needs.
5 Ways to Make Money Homesteading
If you put some thought into it, you can probably think of many ways to make money homesteading. But if you’re drawing a blank, here are a few ideas for inspiration.
- Sell Food Products – Sell extra milk from your cow or goats, eggs, vegetables, poultry, beef, fresh fruit, or homemade jellies and jams, Make homemade dairy products like cheese to sell or homemade baked goods.
- Make Your Own Products – If you are adept at candle making or soap making, put those skills to work for you. Create your own lotions, cleaning products, and balms then sell them. If you can sew, quilt, or knit, create handmade items to sell.
- Sell Animals – You can breed animals like goats or sheep for other homesteaders to purchase or incubate eggs and sell the chicks. Sell wool from sheep or alpacas. You can even sell worms to be used for composting or fishing.
- Teach Others to do What You Do – Get an account on Parler or a similar site and charge a membership fee and publish your hard-earned knowledge. You can also teach classes, write books, or start a blog.
- Turn Your Homestead Into an Experience – If you don’t mind having other people on your homestead, you can turn it into an experience. Turn a portion of it into a venue for events like weddings or parties. Grow Christmas trees or pumpkins for some holiday profit. Or you can keep a few tiny homes or cabins to rent out.
Look around you and think about what you are capable (and willing) to do to earn money, then just take the plunge.
But Can I Show a Profit?
A single project is not likely to show much if any profit. However, if you find several projects that are the right mix of long and short-term endeavors, you can create a pretty steady income for your homestead.
Some projects require long-term planning, such as a fruit orchard that will take a few years to grow and bear fruit. Other projects can be started pretty quickly such as selling produce from your garden, making your own cleaning products to sell, or selling eggs from your chickens. While these may require a little prep time and probably some investment, they can be turned around pretty quickly and you can see a profit almost immediately.
Proper planning and good research will help to ensure that your homesteading projects will indeed be profitable and serve you and your family well.
Homesteaders reconnect with the land by living as self-sufficiently as possible. But growing fruits, vegetables and raising livestock on these mini-farms is not always simple while off the grid. Like the pioneers who settled the West, modern-day homesteaders need to use their wits to reduce physical labor, stress, and the need to spend money. These are 5 somewhat odd homesteading hacks that can make everyday life easier.
1: Use Duct Tape Instead of Pesticides
When people say you can do almost anything with duct tape, that’s no myth. Beyond its construction trade applications, duct tape has emerged as a strategic bug killer. Homesteaders deploy duct tape by wrapping it around the base of fruit trees and vegetable stalks with the sticky side out. Crawling pests either get stuck or turn around. While that use isn’t all that weird, some homesteaders take a piece in hand and touch it to bugs gnawing on garden leaves and remove them.
2: Make Your Own Flea Spray
Homesteaders learn that many of the expensive chemicals sold in pet stores are easily replaceable. A mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and one teaspoon of Borax mixed with water acts as a flea spray for pets. Keep it away from the eyes and ears when spraying it on your pet. Also, prevent the animal from licking it. After 25 minutes, wash and rinse your four-legged friend and their scratching should cease.
3: DVDs are the New Scarecrow
It’s amazing how the innovative CD and DVD have effectively been phased out of laptops. New car stereos are now Bluetooth-ready and there’s little use for those shiny discs. Homesteaders have a knack for repurposing defunct products and CDs and DVDs are a deterrent to invasive birds.
Gather a pile of discs and tie a string through the center hole. Then hang them like ornaments from the branches of fruit and berry trees. The size and sunlight flashes make birds and squirrels believe a larger creature has staked out the tree. Hanging discs may look a little odd, but some passersby will think you’re artsy.
4: Conveniently Store Gardening Tools in Sand
It may seem counterintuitive to leave your shovel, hoe, and small garden hand tools in the sand. That’s largely because people expect them to rust faster in any type of soil. But dry sand with a few additives leaves them standing handle up for easier access and sparkly clean.
Take an adequately large bucket and place it in a convenient and dry space. Fill it with fully dry abrasive sand and mix in some mineral oil. The oily sand will passively lubricate the tools and prevent rust from accumulating. The setup is also easier in terms of retrieving tools.
5: Repurpose Plastic Beverage Bottle as Greenhouses
Gardeners who worry about an unexpected killing frost can repurpose soda bottles as protection before sending them to be recycled. Carefully cut the tops of the bottles off and place them over your starter plants. This effectively creates a mini greenhouse that helps accelerate growth and could save plants should a late frost take you by surprise. Having clear plastic bubbles across the garden may look weird, but the strategy gets an extra use out of a product that requires recycling.