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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have no idea if this is where I should be putting this or not but this is one of my biggest concerns.....black bears. We live in a place that has tons of them, Ive even had one up on my deck watching us through the screen door, my BBQ is on my deck and he came up to check things out. Im not scared of them, generally as soon as I stomp my feet they run away.

I have 3 dogs, my boxer last year chased one up into the woods, I knew there was a bear around so I waited until my husband got home from work thinking he could help me with the dogs (they're indoor dogs but go out to use the bathroom)...anyways Lucy (boxer) knew exactly where the bear was and rounded that corner so fast we didn't even have time to react. She chased it, we couldn't see anything but could hear the trees breaking, I yelled for her and she came back, sat beside me, licked my hand and took off again, thankfully she turned on a dime when I yelled for her the second time, my other 2 dogs (yellow lab and miniature schnauzer) stood beside us growling but they're both chickens haha. Anyways I guess the point of my rambling is Lucy would be dead right now if that bear wanted her dead.

In my community, a few people have outdoor dogs, the only time (to my knowledge) that anyone ever had a problem was when a bear was eating apples about 5 feet from the tied dog, the dog was going NUTS, the owners came out to bring the dog in but the dog broke his collar literally just as his humans got to him, he chased the bear and they found the dog dead the next morning in front of my house. They assume the dog caught the bear and the bear just gave him one swipe to the head. The dog had blood coming out of his ears, eyes, nose and mouth but wasn't mauled or anything.

So what are your guys' thoughts on goats living where there's black bears roaming. We also have foxes and raccoons but Im not overly concerned about them (or should I be?) and there is coyotes about 20 mins from me but honestly nobody in my area has ever seen one.

I wanted to keep chickens but I don't have the confidence in myself to keep them safe with all the wildlife around us....now Im worried about keeping goats. :confused: I wont even let my dogs sleep outside at night.
 

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We put bells on our goats to make the bears and other predators think twice about the goats. Its not an animal sound so the bears in theory think that people are with them. We lock everyone up at night. And i think if you use electric fence of some kind it will keep them out. Same with the chickens we put a single strand of electric fence around the bottom of the coop, and one on the top where the netting meets the sides. That should do it. We have a bear that has been getting in the dumpster that is right next to the chickens, and no problems! With the bear or any other predators.
 

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Hopefully you'll get an answer from someone more experienced than me, but I can address a couple of your concerns...

I have 12 chickens, and we have lots of predators around...including black bears. We also have coyotes, fox, bobcat, *****, possums, skunks, weasels, hawks, owls, and your non wildlife predators...stray cats and dogs with irresponsible owners. That being said, I am not worried about my chickens. The predators can't get 'em.
The way you keep your chickens safe is to make their coop and run predator proof. Mine is Fort Knox. Use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. Make sure all openings (even little ones...you'd be surprised at how small of a hole that a snake can fit through) in the coop are patched with hardware cloth. And do not free range your chickens (I do, but I only do it an hour before dark when I can be with them and know they will go back into the coop to put themselves to bed, then I lock them up).

I would assume it goes the same with goats. Make sure their enclosure is secure from predators. Don't leave them out at night. Make sure you lock them up behind four walls and a roof once the sun goes down. That's what I am doing with my two new babies.

Also, just because no one has seen a coyote near your house does not mean they aren't there. Coyotes have a large territory. I know for a fact they are around my house and yet I have never seen one.

I hope someone else pipes in to address the bear issue. I am new to goats, so I just don't know if black bears are a threat to them. I know they are a threat to my chickens, though. Bears like chicken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, Ive watched youtube videos with bears breaking into chicken coops and it made me very uneasy....I LOVE bears, I could sit and watch them for hours.

Yes we would plan on building the goats a building, I wouldn't consider it a barn as it wont be huge, more like a shed and they would be locked up at night. But I know bears are smart, they break into vehicles, sheds and even houses so I figure if they wanted in, they would find a way.

We also have a lot of moose, worse thing they do though is break everyones fences which is just a PITA. My middle son especially is very sensitive, I ran over a squirrel once and he was so heartbroken, we had to pick it up, bring it home and bury it. Im not sure how he would react to finding our pets missing or just finding a big bloody mess.

You're right we very well could have coyotes but I am steady walking in the woods. Sometimes by myself, sometimes the whole family, all year around....a friend and I will even hit some of the trails late at night. We've never even seen so much as a coyote track so I really don't see them as a problem. Not to mention the ski-dooers, etc. Nobody has ever seen one here, were a very close community, were always talking and meeting up at our local community center.
 

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Bears don't seem to like the smell of goats for some reason. Every once in a while you'll hear of someone who thinks a bear took their goat but, it's never proven. All the years I've been camping with goats we've never had an issue with them.
Cougars on the other hand, they love goats...
 

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I live in northern BC in moose and bear country. Two things that you said perked my ears up... BBQ and apples, two things that will attract a bear every time. I never BBQ even though I love BBQ food and never never leave any garbage in cans or where ever to attract them. We have a burn barrel and burn our garbage or take it to the dump. We as yet don't have fruit trees but if I did I would make sure that there were no apples left lying on the ground to rot and attract them. I have been in this spot for 4 years and never had a bear problem. They have ventured near cause we have seen bear scratches and scat but they never come into the homestead. Our dogs do bark if they hear a suspicious noise and I think this helps to keep the wild animals away. I lock my goats and chickens up at night and there is always someone home during the day.
 

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Thats interesting about bears and goats goathiker. I myself HATE BEARS!! Where we take our cows there are tons of bears. Last year we were gathering and a calf about 300lbs was hiding in the brush so we never saw it. we are friends with the guy that had a cabin right there in that area and he had a open shed. He saw the calf that night and threw him some hay, next morning he went out into his shed and he found what was left of that calf and blood all over the walls. So nope, I dont trust those things one bit. I dont know about the bell idea since it seems they are not overly affraid of people, they say the same thing about coyotes, but have had coyotes come right to our fence line with my loud 4 and 6 year old playing. There is too many people around here that would rather take a picture of them then shoot so they dont see a threat anymore
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What kind of bear though, Jessica? Black bears are definitely different the n Grizzly's.

I love them, a bear is a bear just like a goat is a goat....
My issue is just keeping everyone safe.

Peggy, yes apple trees and BBQ and neither of those would change, my whole neighborhood is covered in apple trees and we BBQ year round, its something my whole family enjoys.

Goathiker, interesting that you mentioned the smell because someone up the road has some goats, llamas, donkeys, etc and she told me about the smell but then she thought maybe it was her donkey that keeps them away, but she also mentioned that bears didn't like the smell of goats.
 

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Quite a few years back a friend of mine had 5 sheep at their place (same area as me) and went away for a few days. They never locked the sheep up at night. When they returned all 5 of the sheep had been eaten by a black bear. The bear was caught and destroyed while eating the last sheep. Up to this happening, I had not been locking my goats in at night but promptly started and have since then.
 

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No these were black bears, I dont even think there are grizzles even somewhat close to there. You so make me cringe when you say you like bears lol. Im not a chicken about too many things, but bears or one thing that just freaks me out!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
:( Those are heartbreaking stories. We don't have grizzly's here at all either.

Well hmmmm...
Our bears here even come out during the day...
Here's a pic of one that I took from my kitchen window, I was actually waiting for my childrens bus to come and he was sitting at the end of my driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I know.....I do find them very beautiful and I love watching them.

My heart sinks at the thoughts of losing a goat (or any animal) to one though. I don't know if I can completely keep goats safe, reading through the forum I know this is a problem for many people.

I over think everything and I don't take any decision lightly, Im sorry Im probably driving yu guys crazy, LOL
 
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