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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Electric fencing reduces coyote predation on pastured sheep

Published source details

Linhart S.B., Roberts J.D. & Dasch G.J. (1982) Electric fencing reduces coyote predation on pastured sheep. Journal of Range Management, 35, 276-281


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Install electric fencing to reduce predation of livestock by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1977 at two sheep ranches in North Dakota, USA (Linhart et al. 1982) found that 12-wire electric fencing prevented coyotes Canis latrans from entering enclosures and killing lambs, but 6-wire electric fencing did not. At both ranches, 12-wire electric fencing prevented coyotes from killing lambs for at least 60 days, but 16–17 lambs were killed in 22–68 days in enclosures with conventional fencing. At one ranch, lambs were also killed in enclosures with 6–wire electric fencing (nine lambs killed in 20 days) and 6–wire electric fencing with a ‘trip’ wire (four lambs killed in four days). Two sheep ranches each had one enclosure with electric fencing (wires alternately charged) and one enclosure with conventional fencing (five strands of barbed wire, 104 cm high). Both ranches tested 12-wire electric fencing (168 cm high) for 60 days and conventional fencing for 22–68 days. One ranch tested 6-wire electric fencing (78 cm high) with and without an additional ‘trip’ wire (25 cm high, 51 cm from the fence) for four and 20 days respectively. All enclosures (1–1.5 ha) were kept stocked with 10 lambs and checked every other day for coyote kills during each of the six trials.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Install electric fencing to reduce predation of livestock by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, before-and-after study in 1978 at two sheep ranches in Kansas, USA (Linhart et al. 1982) found that adding five electric wires to the outside of conventional fencing prevented coyotes Canis latrans from entering enclosures and killing or wounding lambs, but results varied when fewer wires were used. At one ranch, lambs were killed by coyotes in an enclosure with no electric wires (five lambs killed in 105 days) and four electric wires (one lamb killed in 17 days), but after adding a fifth wire no lambs were killed for at least 60 days. At the other ranch, lambs were killed or wounded in an enclosure with no electric wires (11 lambs killed in 11 days) and two electric wires (nine lambs killed or wounded in 14 days), but after adding two additional wires (total of four) no lambs were killed for at least 60 days. Two sheep ranches each had one enclosure (0.9–1.8 ha) with conventional fencing (woven wire and 1–2 strands of barbed wire, 110 cm high). At each ranch, enclosures were kept stocked with 10–20 lambs and checked for coyote kills during one trial (11–105 days) with conventional fencing only and two trials (11–60 days) with 2–5 electric wires added.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Install electric fencing to reduce predation of livestock by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, before-and-after study in 1979 of 14 sheep producers in the USA (Linhart et al. 1982) found that installing electric fences or electric wires reduced predation of sheep by coyotes Canis latrans. Overall, the total number of sheep killed by coyotes was lower during a total of 228 months and 22 lambing seasons after electric fences or wires were installed (51 sheep) compared to during a total of 271 months and 27 lambing seasons before (1,064 sheep). However, the difference was not tested for statistical significance. In 1979, a total of 37 sheep producers using electric fencing or electric wires offset from existing conventional fencing were interviewed with a questionnaire. Fourteen responded with adequate information to compare sheep losses before and after electric fencing or wires were installed. Most respondents were reported to check their sheep at least once/day. Two-thirds answered questions from memory rather than written records.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)