PoultryDVM Predator Profile | Coyote


Similar to dog tracks


My contain hair, wool, feathers, bones, or other animal parts, as well as plant material. Black to gray in color.


Howls, barks, whines, woofs, growls
Coyote map

Kills similar to:

The Coyote

The coyote (Canis latrans) is a common predator of poultry. They are a member of the Canidae family, which means that they are related to dogs, wolves and foxes. Adult coyotes weigh between 20 and 30 lbs (13 kg) and measure 23 to 26 inches tall and 42-50 inches in length. They are often mistaken as small dogs or foxes, and are progressively seen more often during the daytime as well as at night. Coyotes are scavengers and eat whatever they can find.
PoultryDVM Predator Profile - The Coyote
Coyotes possess good eyesight and hearing and a highly developed sense of smell. They can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour for short distances and travel over fairly large home ranges (from 2 to 20 square miles).

How to differentiate from a dog
A coyote's ears are usually carried more erect than a dog's, and the distinct black patches at the base and tip of the tail also help distinguish coyotes from dogs. Coyotes have dark fringes on their coat, generally grey with a rusty tint on the neck and flanks. Their tails are carried lower than a dog's.

Coyotes are found in all habitats, from woodlands and fields, coastal beaches, deserts to urban environments. They build their dens in a variety of places--including storm drains, under storage sheds, in holes dug in vacant lots, parks or golf courses, or in any other dark, dry place. They typically den where thick, dense vegetation obstructs view of the entrance and makes human entry difficult.

Coyotes tend to travel and hunt singly or in pairs. They may form groups as population density increases or where food is abundant. Family groups remain together during the summer and into the early fall.

Coyotes can jump or climb over and dig underneath fences. Coyotes will eat poultry and their eggs if they can get to them. The typical attack behavior of adult coyotes is to grab the animal at the throat behind the jaw. The victim usually displays puncture wounds in the throat region. Upon skinning, the throat area may exhibit considerable bleeding below the skin. Coyotes may bite the head, neck, or back, causing massive tissue and bone damage. Spacing of the teeth of an average coyote is 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches between the upper canines and 1 to 1 1/4 inches between the lower canines. This spacing of punctures observed in the hide or tissue may be an aid in confirming coyote predation. Coyotes may also urinate, defecate and scratch after feeding.

How to Prevent Coyote Attacks

Remove attractants : Do not use wild bird feeders, as coyotes are attracted to birds and rodents. Secure garbage containers. Trim or remove any ground-level shrubs or branches that provide hiding cover or den sites for coyotes or prey. Keep poultry in a secure enclosure at all times.

Enclosure height : Fences must be at least 6 ft (1.8 m) high to prevent coyotes from jumping over it.

Fence Material : Metal hardware cloth that is at least 19 gauge, 1/2 in x 1/2 in (1.27 cm x 1.27 cm).

To prevent digging : Fencing must be buried at least 2 ft (61 cm) into the ground or 2 ft (61 cm) outward, along the ground surface and firmly anchored into the ground.

Hardware fastenings : Must use fitted doors and secure locking mechanisms on coops or outer bird enclosures.

Electric fencing : A single strand of electric fencing set at 15-18 inches above the ground is simple and cost effective. It can be powered through AC or battery. Best results are realized when the hot wire is baited with molasses smeared on a piece of tin foil.


  • Lights : White lights, revolving or flashing lights, strobe lights and sirens
  • Guard animals : Dogs, llamas, or donkeys
  • Fake people : Park cars or pickup trucks nearby with fake people inside
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers or lights :
  • Spray Perimeter with animal urine : Urine from mountain lions or wolves may help repel coyotes, since they prey upon coyotes.


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