How to Keep Your Livestock from Being Stolen


One risk of owning livestock is that they could be stolen. Although cattle rustlers sound like a thing of the past, they are alive and active. Some still steal to sell the livestock for money, but these days, many do it for drugs. "We've had cases where people have actually stolen cattle, taken them to a local person, put them on their land, and in exchange got drugs for those cattle," says John Cummings, a special ranger for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, which investigates agricultural crimes in Texas and Oklahoma. And meth, imported from Mexico, remains the drug of choice in rural Oklahoma, though heroin is becoming a problem.

Regardless of the reason, you can take precautions you can take to prevent your livestock from being stolen.

Make Your Mark
Ranchers and farmers have been doing it for thousands of years, but branding your livestock marks them in one way or another so that you are identified as the owner. In the past, this was done with a branding iron, but in modern times, this can be done by freeze branding, tattooing them in the inner lip or ear, inserting ear tags or inserting a radio-frequency identification chip.

Lock ‘Em Up
It’s been said that good fences make good neighbors. That may be true, but good fences can also keep your livestock secure. You probably know that, but keeping those fences in good condition is also essential. Besides preventing escape, a good fence in good shape can prevent theft. Barbed wire fences were once a bit of a deterrent for cattle rustlers, but barbed wire can be cut to steal cattle. Plus, they can hurt animals. Make sure your fences and gates are well-secured—you might even consider installing electric fences and gates. In addition, keep pens away from roads.

Install Security Systems
The Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible to monitor your home while you aren’t there with video doorbells and surveillance, and now you can use IoT-enabled livestock management to monitor your livestock. Another benefit of IoT-enabled livestock management system is it can help you monitor the health of your livestock and track grazers that might be missing from your count.

Not ready to go quite that high-tech? Silent fence and barn alarms that alert you without scaring animals can let you know when intruders are present, and motion lights can scare potential rustlers away.

Avoid Routines
Just like thieves who monitor your home to see when you aren’t there so they can rob it, some will do the same to steal your livestock. Don’t give them a pattern. Keep them off their game by varying your feeding routine and counting them at different times of day.

Keep a Daily Headcount
Speaking of counting, a daily headcount will let you know right away if anyone is missing.If youhave a lot of livestock, have more than one person count and compare numbers.

If you’ve owned livestock for a number of years, you might already do some of these things. If you are new to livestock ownership, this might all be new to you. Either way, we hope these tips will help you keep your livestock secure.

Share This: