Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Are miniature horses safe at night?
That depends. On our farm we are serenaded by coyotes, but due to the large herd that we have we haven't had any problems with them but on very rare occasions. Out horses recognize them and will gangue up on a predator all at once, and if the predator isn't smart enough to run then they get trampled. We have found Coyotes in our woods dead form broken hips or limbs before, even if they aren't anywhere near our horses.
But also our older mares hate dogs because of this and will chase off or stomp strange dogs that they don't know. One dose not take any chances and weather if she know's it my dog or not she will kill it.
On the other hand, one year my parents decided to put all the newly weened babies in the back lot by themselves where the coyotes didn't have to go through a paster with adults to get to them and we lost one and another sustained an injury while running away. This was a year that we had the worst drought we had ever had and there just wasn't enough food for the coyotes. We were even feeding hay in the middle of summer all though winter that year. So the coyotes were very desperate. We moved the babies up in a paster with my Quarter horse gelding and never had a problem.
So in short if you have one horse by itself then you really should but them up at night. If you have 3 or more and they don't like dogs and close to home your good. If they aren't close to your house you can have as few as 3 adults + 1 stallion = 4 adults. That's quite a mach up for a pack of 6 coyotes and they won't win without getting hurt baby, thus they won't chance it. Do not count a baby as a full mini horse and don't separate them off by themselves where one side is exposed with no adults to guard them.
Now thats not so say that if the coyotes find one of your babies dead (for some reason or another such as accidental trample, hypothermia on a very bad wet night, or a blockage that you just didn't know about ) in your paster that they will not come up and try to take the pickings. On night one of our big Quarter horse mares got lose and killed a baby. The next morning we saw the dead foal out of the fince being eaten. Then we saw the mare chasing the little guys trying to kill another baby and we know who the real culprit was.
We even had a bobcat out here and have yet to have any problems with him/her. It will take down the deer but hasn't even gotten close to the baby pin or horse lots.
Mini's are very smart and will be very aggressive to predators unless you teach them otherwise. Stallions especially teach this to the foals, and it is their place in the herd. Just don't make your Mini an easy target. A 28" stallion with go after anything predator like if he's worth his salt, and a predator will always opt for the easy meal.
Unless your dealing with something very big like a cougar then I have no idea what you do. They will go into barns and start killing so I'm at a lose there. One got lose from a privet zoo in Indiana a long time ago and did this to Quarter horses.
Want a tip for coyotes? Find a friend that hunts them, have one or two killed (depending on the size of you pastors) and lay them outside of the fenced in pastors. Coyotes will not go someplace where their own kind lay dead. This way you will detour them without having to wipe out the wild life.