Bear proof Barns

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Judith, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Judith

    Judith Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Does anyone have any ideas as to how I could build Bear proof barns? I am moving to Grizzly country and want to make sure that my goats, chickens and pigs, not to mention my seven year old son and our family pets do not become bear food. I have no fear of wildlife but I just want to make sure that our construction is suitable for these large bears.

    PS don't say electricity, the hides on these babys wouldnt even feel it. :yeeha:
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    Electric fence keeps brown bears out of honey bee parks in Colorado. The point of a high tensil barb wire will put a charge right through the hair.
    I'm sorry, I used the E word.

  3. Forget teasing them with their thick hides with plain electricity, wrap bacon around the electric fence, when they wrap their tongue around the bacon they will know it especially if the ground is watered down a little more, if that doesn't work try the rat trap, which is bacon on the pan with roofing nails soldered to the clamping portion that comes down when released, that should make his nose really sore.
  4. Electric fence is good, but nails are both silly and inhumane.
    I would concentrate on good fencing, with a stout set of fence posts and good barbed wire. Add on the electric if you wish. You can run a perimeter with several strands of barbed wire on it outside of any animal fencing for your own stock. Keep your animals inside at night. Invest in a serious dog. You have two choices to go with here, either an anti-bear dog or a traditional livestock guardian dog (LGD's) A karelian beardog or similar hunting laika will go crazy at the sight of a bear and route it in no time. On the downside they will attack your stock aswell, that is if you leave them unattended with livestock. The other choice would be a great pyrenees, anatolian, or kuvasz. Those are some of the more managable LGD's. There are other more intense dogs but they are not for first time owners. A great pyrenees will protect you and your animals from bear. The dog is meant to live 24 hours a day with its livestock. Bears have a good fear of barking dogs and even though they could kill the dog they would rather go somewhere more quiet.
    If you have a stout barbed wire perimeter on your property and a good LGD or two within that bears are likely to stay off your property! That would be alot of effort on their part to get through the fence and then through the dogs. Plus buy a good rifle.
    As far as a barn goes you would have to build one from reinforced concrete with steel doors.
  5. First, theres nothing that you can build that's griz proof. Second if you are movin to griz country and the first thing you think of is how to keep the griz from killing your family Then don't move!! To many griz are killed by people who think they are being hunted down to be eatin when in reality the bear is just looking for there favorite berry patch that used to be where your house is setting. As for your goats That's like me bringing in a box of warm Krispy Kreme donuts into your kitchen and expecting nobody to touch them. That's if you are realy moving into bear county. Just because you move to state that has griz does'nt mean they will be trying to get you.

    P.S. you are scared of bears
  6. And I, living in blackie and grizz country, where bears are like vermin, have to add my two cents, especially after that last post.
    I agree that short of the Berlin wall it is difficult to build anything bear proof. Mostly it's best to build either super strong (metal) or cheap and weak enough to be easily replaced. A LGD or two is an excellent idea. Around here we call goats, pigs, and chickens "bear bait". Sometimes larger livestock be protective of the "herd"...I've seen several horses make bears back off. But a really good dog is probably the best bet.
    It would be a good idea to plan your strategy concerning the small what will you do if a bear takes your favorite goat? Find out what the local laws are and decide what lengths, if any, you're willing to go to to protect the little critters.
    Be smart about where you put dog food, garbage, what kind of bear attractants you have in the yard, and get educated about bear safety and what to do in a bear attack situation. Teach your son too.
    The previous poster seemed to have the idea that a defensive attitude about bears is somehow wrong, and both you and that person seem to think that it's not ok to be scared of bears.
    It is stupid not to be scared of bears. People get mauled all the time because they think bears (or cougars or whatever) are their furry forest friends, or noble creatures of the wilderness. Bears are very big, very strong, very fast, very unpredictable, very well appointed with large teeth and claws,very opportunistic when it comes to nabbing small prey, and they very easily lose their fear/respect toward humans. They are wild animals and they do kill people, and there are no exceptions to that.
    I'm not saying you should live in continual terror, but neither should you have a "no fear of wildlife" attitude. Some fear is healthy. Just like when you're in a pasture with a bull. You never hear anyone say they have no fear of bulls, or that a bull is more afraid of us than we are of him. It's simple common sense, reality, and respect.
    Good luck with your new place!
  7. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2003
    What about a steel quonset barn? Cheap and strong.
  8. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    :) Before you move contact the Fish and Wildlife office in that area and then the USDA. They both have advice that will help and programs devoted to just this situation.

    Our family lived in bear country for many years and never had a bear problem. We followed the guidelines set out and did fine. As our area was a place where "problem bears" were released we payed attention to storing feeds properly and disposed of garbage responsibly. Our stock(cows, horses, pigs, rabbits, chickens) were kept behind 9 strand barbed wire fences and a stout barn(poultry and rabbits in a wooden stockade within the barbed wired perimeter). No precautions out of the ordinary I don't think. We did have Austalian Shepherds and they were fanatics about going after any wild animal that trespassed.

    So, I think that if you do follow the advice of F&W and the USDA it would be highly unusual to have a bear bother you. We did have neighbors that had a calf mauled, he left the cow and calf out on free range; and one nieghbor did have a horse injured that was kept with apiaries...the bear went after the honey..the horse got in the way.

    Good luck with the move...I bet you are moving to beautiful country!

  9. Like I said a team of LGD's will keep bears away. It IS healthy to be afraid of large, powerful animals. Just the kind of fear that makes you respect them not run and hide. Sometimes people confuse the two.
    I would ignore the hit and run attack about not moving/are you really. Some people have nothing nice to say. Bears can be dangerous, they can also be beautiful and exciting to see. A stout fence of barb wire strands every 12 inches will hold the bears back and occupy them long enough to catch the attention of your future LGD's. Bears maintain territories and you will have certain bears that live in your area. Not a different bear a day for the rest of your life. Once the local bears become aware that there are two or three LGD's patrolling your farm they will backoff. This method of using dogs is very effective by working on the bears instinctual responses. In many areas they use Karelian bear dogs to condition bears to stay away from housing. Bears are not dumb and they do not like being harrased. They just want to be left alone and if coming by your place is a repeated bad experience they will move on.
  10. Judith

    Judith Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    The post about being scared of bears is absolutely hilarious!!! :haha: grew up in black bear country. Nope not afraid of wildlife at all, I am just not a tree hugging idiot who is willing to move into an area unprepared. (you know the Bambi is soft furry and cute types, i have had my car rammed by mule deer so I know that wildlife is not as cute as it may seem.) I am moving to Prince George and let me tell you that is Grizzly bear country supreme! There is nothing I do without LOTS of planning and preparation. I would much rather do it right the first time , hence the asking of the question in the first place. No point in bring up animals just to feed the bears. :D I think the preparation would be to prevent having to shoot or remove a bear don't you think ?????? That's what I love about this list, you get some people who want to help and others who just plain give you a good giggle!, Thanks to all who replied with helpful answers.
  11. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Northern California
    As you can tell from my name I have had my problems. Early on in developing my homestead I realized Mr Bruin and Mr Cougar would be major problems to be overcome. In my neighborhood everyone who keeps livestock from chickens to beef have had problems with black bears. PLUS we used to be on the receiving end of the "naughty" bears from places like Yosemite.

    In addition my neighbor has many acres of certified organic pears and when the fruit is on it attracts bears from twenty plus miles downwind. My own orchard is a few minutes work prior to moving on to the main course and I rapidly became less than pleased with old trees shorter than my height.

    So I built to withstand such problems. The animal level of my barn is concrete with reinforced doors. In 15 years no problems. But to get near it they also have to cross several obstacles. First is the woven wire + barbed wire + 12 ga hotwires. Once across that they have to deal with the dogs that live to run bear. Once the howl goes up, they have to deal with me and a starlight scope. There are times in the summer and fall when I don't get a lot of sleep, but I do not have much bear problems any more.

    My neighbor, on the other hand loses literally tons of fruit and several trees broken every year.

    And don't be fooled...they DO come back repeatedly, and others DO come from elsewhere, disregarding territories, to enjoy the feast. My biggest problem is that I lie right smack on their pathway to the big orchard.

    Black bears are big, ugly, stinky, and can be serious problems. I had one old boar that came right up to the house (years ago, before all defenses were in place) and scared mama out of her socks. Dogs ran him for 25 miles, but he would not brush up or tree. Took another year to finally find him in the neighbors orchard. Griz are another order of magnitude worse since they are ouright preditors and not "merely" opportunists.

  12. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Hi Judith! I can't think of a way to build a grizz-proof barn without building a bunker. If they are hungry, they can break into most standard constructed buildings. Your weak points are obiviously doors & windows. You can fortify these places by driving large nails through a piece of plywood & placing them,points-out, where they will do the most good. If you are intent on keeping animals that the hump-backs will want to eat, you're going to have to start thinking about killing these supreme predators before they kill your animals.
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
    I was at an auction today and I saw some nice metal shipping containers and thought of you. I would think that these containers would make a bear resistant "barn" once you install some ventilation. If you were to support one of these containers on a large pipe or other metal foundation the goats and chickens could enter up a ramp that could be pulled away from the door after you closed the door each night. What do you think?