Coyotes are fast-spreading, intelligent predators that are highly skilled at catching small game and will eat just about anything they can catch, from mice and voles to rabbits and the occasional deer fawn. Unfortunately, coyotes also have a bit of a bad reputation and often go after small game like chickens, ducks, and even domestic cats and dogs.
One of the best ways to repel coyotes is to build a coyote proof fence. Fortunately, this can be as easy as adding barbed wire or a coyote roller to the top of your existing fence. If you don’t have an existing fence, build one that’s at least 8 feet tall- otherwise coyotes will jump over the fence.
In this article, we will assume that you are starting from scratch with no fence at all, because you can build a coyote-proof fence in 4 simple steps! But let’s start with why you might want to build this fence in the first place, just in case you need a little extra convincing.
Why Do You Need A Coyote-Proof Fence?
Unfortunately, coyote sightings are becoming more common in suburban as well as rural areas. As coyotes become bolder, they can start venturing into your own backyard to find their next meal.
If coyotes start hanging around your property, there could be some serious cause for concern.
Coyotes Are Opportunistic Predators
Coyotes are not keen on passing up any meal opportunities. They will generally hunt anything they think they can catch.
In the wild, this includes mice, voles, birds, and even deer fawns and deceased animals.
However, coyotes living near humans have even more accessible food sources.
Coyotes found in more suburban areas can often be spotted rummaging through trash for food scraps and might stalk domestic chickens and ducks.
Even more unsettling for people living in suburban areas are the stories of coyotes targeting domestic cats and dogs. If you’re interested, here’s an in-depth list of animals that coyotes eat.
While this is a possibility, coyotes are often more interested in getting into your pet’s food. But that certainly doesn’t mean that these wild animals are harmless to your pets. However, if they spot you, that is often enough of a deterrent since they are most afraid of people.
Coyotes Can Overcome Their Fear of Humans
So coyotes are most afraid of you. More afraid of you than you are of them. That’s a good thing, right?
Generally, this should be good news and it holds true. Normally, you shouldn’t worry too much about coyotes around your neighborhood.
Coyotes are naturally very shy and will do everything possible to avoid encounters with people.
That is, unless coyotes get used to human interaction.
Coyotes can overcome their natural fear of people if they need a meal, or see humans as a source for a free handout.
Feeding the occasional squirrel or raccoon is one thing, but feeding a coyote can lead to them overcoming their instincts to avoid people.
Humans are often seen by pests as a source of a free meal. We leave trash outside, feed pets on the porch, grow crops and keep chickens, and sometimes even feed the pests we end up wanting to deter. And this can include coyotes.
Once a coyote has decided that your property is a good source of food, it can be very difficult to keep them away. If you’re interested, here’s just why coyotes are attracted to your yard.
If a coyote decides that your yard is now part of their home, then you might soon have a territorial coyote to deal with.
Coyotes Can Be Territorial
If a coyote has decided to make itself at home on your property, you may want to consult with a wildlife control professional ASAP.
If coyotes become too comfortable around people, they may begin to stalk pets. They have even been known to challenge people for territory if they no longer see people as an actual threat.
A territorial coyote may behave more like an aggressive dog by barking, snarling, or lunging at you. This is a serious problem that requires the intervention of the proper authorities.
Coyote attacks on people are very rare, but they do happen. However, territorial coyotes are going to see your beloved pets as interlopers, or worse, a meal. This is especially the case at night.
If you see a coyote frequenting your neighborhood, there is not too much of a threat to your personal safety. However, protecting your pets and children has to take priority.
Let’s get into how to prevent coyotes from taking up residence in your own backyard.
Build a Coyote Proof Fence Using These 4 Simple Steps
Coyotes can be destructive, and their keen snouts can sniff out a free meal on your property with ease. So here is our step-by-step guide on how to keep them off of your territory.
Building the Fence
Build your walls high, and deep.
A coyote-proof fence should be 8 feet tall and go 18-inches below the ground.
A strong coyote can jump onto a 6-foot fence, but 6 feet is plenty tall for a coyote. We’ll be adding some toppers to that fence to keep them off of there.
Coyotes are also talented and determined diggers. If they think they can dig under your fence, they will definitely give it a try. Be sure your fence is not just tall, but also goes well below ground.
Fencing material does not really matter when it comes to coyotes. The main question is what is allowed in your neighborhood, especially if you have a Home Owners Association (HOA). If you have an HOA, always reach out to them before making any permanent changes to your property to avoid any fines.
Next, we’re going to go over 3 options that include installing barbed wire OR an electric fence OR coyote rollers on your fence. PLEASE NOTE – if you go with barbed wire or an electric fence, contact a professional in your local county or township to get rules on installation, and contact a professional to help you install.
Personally, my favorite is the coyote rolles
Option 1: Installing Barbed Wire
Now that your basic fence is built, let’s get into add-ons.
Generally, barbed wire is only admissible for use when in rural or industrial areas. Make sure to contact a local professional for more information.
Consider adding an outward-facing extender that runs along the top of the fence. These will prevent coyotes from climbing over.
One option is a mounted barb wire extension arm system, like these from America’s Fence Store.
No, these do not have to be fitted with barbed wire. You can run an electrified line through them, or fit with extra fencing material.
Coyotes are not known for their ability to climb upside down. Whatever you mount onto the arms, the extension will help prevent a bold coyote from climbing over the fence.
REMEMBER, contact a professional for rules, regulations, and installation in your local area.
Option 2: Installing Electric Fence
You can either add a new electric fence or modify your existing fence.
Electrified portions of fencing do not need to be especially high, since coyotes will try to tip-toe through the gaps.
It is especially important to electrify the bottom of the fence since coyotes will try to dig underneath the barrier.
Coyotes are smart and will quickly learn that this is not an effective strategy.
REMEMBER- For this step, unless you have experience installing electric fence, it’s best to contact a professional for installation in accordance with your local county guidelines.
Option 3: Installing a Coyote Roller
Top your fence with coyote rollers, like these from Ultimation.
Rollers are designed to counter how coyotes hoist themselves over fences. They prefer to get a running start and then jump or climb over the top of the fence while pushing with their back paws.
Rollers prevent the coyote from getting a good grip on your fence and then thwart any dreams coyotes had of breaking into your backyard. It is more humane than barbed wire and just as effective.
You can either purchase these rollers or try your hand at making them yourself with some PVC pipes.
And there you have it! That should ensure no unwanted coyotes get into your backyard at night and that your furry best friends are safe when left in the yard to do their business.
Further Steps to Coyote-Proof Your Property
Now we know what you might be thinking. A fence is great for a standard backyard, but what about the rest of the property. If you have chickens and other livestock, there has to be a way to protect them from coyotes too.
Fortunately, there are some good methods for keeping coyotes from harassing or snatching up your other critters.
One of the best tricks you can use is to not invite coyotes in the first place.
Pick up food trash, feed your pets inside, store any pet food in a locked garage or shed, and don’t leave out the birdfeeder overnight.
Still, a curious coyote will come to investigate even the smallest hint of a free meal.
Poultry Defense for Coyotes
Let’s not forget the chickens! Chickens are the perfect size for a coyote, and they will actively hunt them if given the opportunity.
The best defense in this case is, well, a good defense. A covered run is essential to keeping coyotes away from chickens.
Building a fence as described above will get you a long way. But if a coyote can see a delicious chicken dinner right in front of them, rollers and electricity are not likely going to stop them from trying.
It is not likely the coyote will get past your new coyote-proof fence, but better safe than sorry. Your chickens will be thanking you.
Scent Marking Repels Coyotes
There is one more additional deterrent you can use that is especially useful against canines: olfactory repellents.
All canines mark their territory with scents to warn intruders of what might happen if they cross the border. One particularly effective scent to use against coyotes is PredatorPee Original Wolf Urine. Keep in mind that it may attract wolves if you have them in the area.
After humans, a coyote’s biggest fear is facing a wolf. Mark your borders with wolf urine to trick pesky coyotes into thinking that a bigger, meaner predator has already claimed your land.
In addition to a fence, any combination of the above-mentioned deterrents will be more than enough to make any coyote think twice about crossing into your territory.
That About Does It!
We hope this article has given you some food for thought when it comes to unwanted canine visitors.
While coyotes might not look like much more than a scraggly dog, don’t let appearances fool you. Coyotes are intelligent, bold, and do not give up easily once they decide your home is a nice place to grab their next meal.
Fortunately, building a coyote-proof fence is as easy as 1-2-3…4.
Just get that fence up, make sure a coyote can’t dig under it and then keep adding to it until you have the ultimate in coyote defense.
Remember to always consult your HOA if you have one. If HOA is a concern, then Coyote Rollers are the way to go for an effective defense, without being as unsightly as barbed wire.
Coyotes are clever and if there is a weak link in your fence, they’ll find it. Be sure to consider fortifying your fence with additional defenses.
Motion-activated deterrents, scents, and even helpful animals are all great ways to ensure your property is defended against coyotes.
As coyotes become more common in areas populated by people, it is more important than ever to have an understanding of coyote behavior and respect for these resourceful hunters.
If you are concerned about a coyote in your area, never hesitate to reach out to the appropriate animal control authorities. Feel free to use our nationwide pest control finder to get connected with a wildlife pro near you in seconds for free! Using our partner network helps support pestpointers.com.
Stay safe out there, and happy building!
Acorn, R. C., & Dorrance, M. J. (1994). An evaluation of anti-coyote electric fences. In Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference (Vol. 16, No. 16).
Andelt, W. F. (1995). Livestock guard dogs, llamas, and donkeys for reducing livestock losses to predators (Doctoral dissertation, Cooperative Extension, Colorado State University).
DeCalesta, D. S., & Cropsey, M. G. (1978). Field test of a coyote-proof fence. Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006), 6(4), 256-259.
Meadows, L. E., & Knowlton, F. F. (2000). Efficacy of Guard Llamas to Reduce Canine Predation on Domestic Sheep. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 614-622.
Timm, R. M., Baker, R. O., Bennett, J. R., & Coolahan, C. C. (2004). Coyote attacks: an increasing suburban problem.
Tinnnn, R. M. (2007). Urban Coyote Management.
Thompson, B. C. (1979). Evaluation of wire fences for coyote control. Rangeland Ecology & Management/Journal of Range Management Archives, 32(6), 457-461.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
Download My Free E-Book!
Take a look at my guide on Pest Proofing Your Home In Under a Day! I get into the nitty-gritty on the most common types of pests you’ll see on your property including BOTH insects and wildlife, along with the specific signs to look for regarding any pest you have questions about.