Before we brought in any animals to our backyard homestead, predators were one of our main concerns. We talked about coyotes, neighborhood dogs, racoons, and more. And one of the big questions we wondered was this: do electric fences keep coyotes out?
As a general rule, electric fences keep coyotes out, provided they are installed properly. Electrical poly tape can add an electrical fence element to any existing fence. Electrical fence poly tape is another way to electrify a fence to keep coyotes out without replacing the fencing.
Ready to read more about keeping coyotes out of your homestead? Let me share what I’ve learned – and how we keep coyotes out of our backyard homestead.
Will Electric Fences Deter Coyotes?
Coyotes are pesky and extremely intelligent creatures. While installing an electric fence is a sure way to go, if you’re looking for an effective way to deter these animals, you should also have in mind that if not well erected, it can be inadequate to some degree.
Using this means to ward off these unpleasant visitors can be completely futile if you fail to consider certain factors like; how high they can jump, the reduced effect electrocution has on them due to the insulating feature of their fur and their climbing and digging abilities.
However, thorough fence planning and other preventative measures can make this deterrent method super effective. An electric fence should do a decent job in keeping coyotes off your property, if it is tall enough, placed few inches below ground level and possesses between 4,000 to 5,000 volts on its line.
Now, if you don’t want to go for the curled-wire electric fence look, there are other options. And they can be used solo or in tandem with other fences that might already be in place on your property. So let’s talk about them.
Electric and Other Fences that Keep Coyotes Out
If you are not too big on fully electric fences, here are other coyote-deterrent fencing options you can try. Any of these can be combined to create the ultimate coyote-proof fence. In fact, I’d recommend that you combine fence option #1 with at least one of the other options for a better predator-proof protection plan for your livestock and family.
1. Electrical fence poly tape
Electric fence poly tape is amazing, but it’s not actually tape. Instead, it’s a long strand of electrical wire inside of a cloth-like mesh that you can string along the tops, sides, or bottoms of fences. They’re strong enough to last for years.
They conduct electricity so that you can electrify any fence – without turning your other fencing into an electric fence, too. They give enough of a jolt to keep livestock inside and predators outside the fence. It’s amazing. My sister-in-law uses it to keep their horse safely inside of their acreage – and to keep predators from getting to her.
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Just in case you’re wondering which kind of poly tape my sister-in-law uses to keep her horses and chickens safe, this is what it looks like on Amazon. There are all sorts of sizes and lengths, so don’t be afraid to look around. Just don’t forget to get some t-post bracket insulators and wood post insulators to hold the poly tape in place safely without electrifying anything else.
2. Wire mesh fencing
This type of fence is made of a series of tough gauge galvanized steel wires that can be as thick as 8mm. These wires are welded at each horizontal and vertical intersection, to form small and uniform patterns.
Make sure the wire mesh fence you go for has strong wires and small intersections that make it impossible for an animal to have a strong footing. Also, try passing your fist through the mesh, if you can pass your fist through it, then you should probably opt for a fence with smaller intersections.
There are two main designs to wire mesh fencing: welded and weaved. Both designs have their perks. From what I’ve seen at stores, welded is usually cheaper. But from my experience, the woven kinds hold up better over time. We usually stick to woven.
Then there’s also the standard Galvanized or the PVC vinyl-coated. Basically, you can have “plain metal” or “plastic coated,” in whichever design you want. Get what works aesthetically. From what I’ve seen ranchers do, you can run electrical wire tape along with either kind.
From there, there’s also chain link fencing – and it’s a great choice.
3. Chain link fencing
Chain link fences are quite similar to wire mesh fences. The most notable difference between them is the interweaving of their wires. While wire mesh fences are welded at each horizontal and vertical intersections, chain link fences are interwoven vertically to form zig-zags, this gives them their distinctive diamond pattern.
This method is more expensive than the aforementioned method and is just as effective in deterring coyotes.
We use a chain link fence around our entire property. We use it because that’s what was there when we moved in, so we go with what we’ve got.
4. PVC vinyl privacy fencing
This fencing option is extremely durable and easy to maintain. A PVC fence is also known as a synthetic fence or a vinyl fence. It’s another cost-effective fencing option that can help keep coyotes off your property. It is well suited for residential areas due to its flexibility and closed-in design.
Also, I recommend you top off your fence with coyote rollers, a wire mesh overhang that slants outwards, or barbed wires as an extra deterrent measure.
If you’re going to keep horses, I would be cautious with the thought of installing vinyl fencing, unless it’s ranch style. It works great with almost every other type of animal you can keep in a backyard homestead. Our neighbor’s horses kept kicking panels out – until she installed electrical poly tape along the interior of it to curb that behavior.
How High Should A Fence Be to Keep Coyotes Out?
Coyotes are persistent animals, they can launch themselves as far as 3 – 4 feet into the air. At that height, if they can’t still clear a fence, they would most definitely try to climb over it.
Your fence should be at least 6 feet tall and placed at least 1 foot below ground level to keep them out. Even then, some ranchers tell stories on forums about coyotes clearing fences over 7 feet tall.
The trick, then, isn’t just in the height of the fence, but also what’s on top of the fence. If the fence is totally sturdy, then the coyote (or other predators) are more likely to be able to climb it. If it’s not railed at the top, though, and slightly loose? Then predators can’t get a grip – and they can’t climb.
The biggest downside to it is the aesthetics. But now I know why those ranch fences don’t look super sturdy. It’s fully on purpose.
I’ve also found that placing barriers like cattle panels on the ground outside your fence can go a long way in keeping these creatures from digging. For this to be effective, make sure you line the cattle panels with the bottom of your fence and camouflage them with dirt and rocks.
What Will Keep Coyotes Away?
There are many other things you can do to keep these animals from venturing onto your property. Here are a few of my favorite methods that will work well in a backyard homestead setting.
1. Install water sprinklers
If there’s one thing this animal detests, it’s water.
Get a motion-detecting sprinkler system, this is a passive and affordable way to get these pesky animals from wandering your property.
2. Make use of natural coyote repellents
Natural coyote repellents like vinegar, perfume, wolf urine and cayenne pepper can also help keep them away.
Dousing your property with things they can’t stand is moderately effective, but not fool-proof. So please do not rely on this method alone for your entire plan to predator-proof your homestead.
Now, I don’t know where to get wolf urine, but I’ve got plenty of vinegar and cayenne pepper on hand. The only downside to this trick is that your animals may not react well to it, either.
3. Get a guard animal
This measure is the most effective of all the measures. Guard animals like donkeys, herding dogs, alpacas, and llamas can help keep coyotes off your property. Yes, I just said alpacas. I wrote a whole article about how alpacas will guard sheep and other animals from coyotes.
When choosing a guard dog, you should make sure they are large enough and come from a breed that has history being a farm animal. Dog breeds like German shepherds, Komondors, Dutch shepherds, old English sheepdogs and great Pyrenees, do great jobs in keeping away predators.
We’ve got a labradoodle. He’s not the most amazing of livestock guard dogs, but having him patrol and mark the perimeter definitely helps deter other canids looking for an unguarded snack.
Again, don’t count out the camelids. Alpacas and llamas will also do a great and fierce job in keeping these predators off your property due to their intense and natural hatred of coyotes.
4. Keep your property clean
Cleaning and maintaining your property regularly are among the easiest ways to keep coyotes away.
A clean property won’t have as many natural hiding spots or places to take cover. So don’t let the coyotes sneak up on you – or your livestock. Keep things tidy.
Make sure you properly dispose of your garbage and make sure to cover your garbage cans properly. Clean up leftover food from your pet’s food bowl or bring it inside, make sure you clean your grill thoroughly after use, and lock up any structures you have in place outside your home.
Also mow your lawn and trim your plants regularly, so as not to provide these opportunistic creatures with hideouts.
5. Keep your pets inside and livestock in a shelter
Coyotes feed on everything from local vegetation to small animals like cats and dogs. So, keep your pets indoors as much as possible, and do not let them wander off.
I grew up in Arizona, and we kept adopting stray cats. I say “kept adopting,” because we also kept losing our pets to coyotes. We weren’t allowed to bring our feral-ish cats inside, and the coyotes could get into backyards.
Doing this would not only help to keep your pets safe but help keep these dangerous animals from having interest in your property.
Now, a lot of homesteaders keep chickens as pets. You don’t have to bring them inside – you can keep them inside of a coop. I’ve loved having an automatic door on the coop. That way, we keep our chickens safe. And we don’t have to worry about locking them up every night or letting them out every morning.
6. Protecting your property, yourself
You can also actively take part in keeping coyotes off your property.
First off, walk your property line regularly. Your scent alone should help scare off a good number of predators, coyotes included. Plus, it’ll help you inspect your fencing for potential problems like holes or digging under them. Then, you can fix it before it becomes a problem that ends in lost livestock.
Next, you can stay in your backyard homestead and enjoy evenings with your animals. It won’t prevent all coyote snatches, but it will help deter them.
Plus, if you do happen to be there when this animal tries to venture onto your property, then you can scare it off by making loud noises. You can do this by blowing a whistle or banging pots and pans together. You can also use a flashlight to scare them off, as coyotes hate bright and sudden light.
In most areas, coyotes are considered non-game animals and therefore have no special protection. So, you may be allowed to shoot at them.
Just make sure you know what your local city laws and ordinances say about discharging a firearm inside city limits. And know where you are in location to those city limits. Then, be sure to follow those laws and ordinances.
Final Thoughts on Coyotes and Electric Fences
We have a 3-foot chain-link fence around our entire yard. On its own, it’s not strictly coyote-proof. However, we’re also surrounded by neighbors who have 6-foot tall privacy vinyl fences that border 3 sides of our property. So we essentially have a double-wall of fences, which has proven to be amazingly effective as a first-line deterrent to predators.
Between our first 3-foot tall chain-link fence and our animals, we have a secondary fence made of weave wire livestock fencing. It’s got the wobbly look to help prevent any predators who jump the first fence from clearing it.
From there, we also regularly walk our property line as a family. Spreading our smell around the property is another deterrent to predators. We bring Kai, our labradoodle, along with us. He gets supervised access to the chickens, and his scent helps keep them safer.
We also keep our livestock penned up at night in predator-proofed shelters. Our pets come in the house at night. The chickens have a safe coop. The goats had a shelter. Technically, it was 3-sided, so that wasn’t completely predator-proof on its own. But inside a secure perimeter? It was still a safe shelter for them.
Finally, we also use motion-sensor lights and timed sprinklers to keep our backyard homestead safe. So at this time, we don’t have any electric poly tape lining any of our fences. If we need it, we’ll add it. But for now, the only predators who could still wreak havoc on our homestead are those who get in an open gate or raccoons.
We won’t ever stop working to keep our homestead safe, though, so make sure you hang out here to see how it goes. Or better yet, subscribe to my free newsletter so you don’t miss a thing and you get the subscriber-exclusive downloads.
Cite this article as: “Do Electric Fences Keep Coyotes Out?.” Backyard Homestead HQ, 15 April 2021, backyardhomesteadhq.com/do-electric-fences-keep-coyotes-out/.
It’s important to learn from your own experience, but it’s also smart to learn from others. These are the sources used in this article and in our personal research to be more informed as homesteaders. 🙂
- Countless chats with my brilliant sister-in-law, Sisteen. Thank you, Sisteen, for all of your words of wisdom.
- DeAngelis, Zack. “8 Brilliant Ways You Can Keep Coyotes Away Indefinitely.” Pest Pointers, 10 Apr. 2021, pestpointers.com/8-brilliant-ways-you-can-keep-coyotes-away-indefinitely/.
- “Electric Fence for Coyotes: Electric Fence for Wolves – Zareba.” Zareba® System, www.zarebasystems.com/learning-center/animal-selector/coyotes-wolves.
- “Ideas for Building a Coyote-Deterrent Fence.” Gulf Coast Fence Co., www.gulfcoastfenceco.com/ideas-for-building-a-coyote-deterrent-fence.
- Smith, Keith. BoerGoats.com Article Fencing, www.boergoats.com/clean/articleads.php?art=332.