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Missouri Ag News Headlines
Black vultures threaten Missouri livestock
Missouri Ag Connection - 11/29/2023

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has warned livestock producers about the rising black vulture population in the state and the potential threat they pose to livestock. Unlike their more docile counterparts, turkey vultures, black vultures are known for their aggressive behavior, particularly when in groups. They have been documented attacking newborn livestock, targeting sick or birthing animals.

These birds of prey primarily feed on carrion but can also kill small to medium-sized animals. Their attacks on vulnerable livestock often leave distinct signs, including disembowelment, consumption of body parts, and eye plucking.

Dealing with black vultures can be challenging due to their federal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Livestock owners seeking to eliminate these birds, or their nests or eggs must obtain a permit from the Missouri Farm Bureau.

To minimize black vulture-related issues, the University of Missouri Extension recommends employing various scare tactics, such as loud noises, water spraying, lasers, and guard dogs. Placing black vulture replicas around calving areas can also deter live vultures. Planning birthing timeframes to condense live births and facilitate close monitoring, as well as penning birthing livestock near human activity for closer observation and quicker responses, are additional strategies.

In the unfortunate event of livestock loss due to black vulture attacks, farmers can seek reimbursement through the Livestock Indemnity Program offered by the local USDA Farm Service Agency. The Missouri Department of Agriculture also provides a necropsy reimbursement process, requiring examination by a licensed veterinarian or USDA-APHIS official within 24 hours of discovery.

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