Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Well, it looks like it was a pack ( or at least 1 ) of dogs that got into the pastures and ran the sheep to death.
A friend and I went out last Thursday,7/17, to put down the last surviving ewe from the attack ( the other Shetland ewe and the border Leicester wether are still fine, but continue to look for the rest of the flock ), but we found her dead ( the last time I'd seen her was around 10 am and she looked bad then ). So we dragged her to the edge of the front pasture and the woods and " dressed " her for her killer(s). Can't say what type of " spices " were used as it's not exactly legal what we did but it's my property and my sheep and since the Indiana DNR is useless, it doesn't matter what we did.
After we took care of the ewe, we walked the fence row looking for ways the killer(s) could have gotten in. My friend had 2 rifles with him and had me carry 1 as he went across the back fence where we found a hole dug underneath it ( this hole was about 4-5 inches deep and had markings showing that the killer(s) had slid underneath the fence to get to the sheep ).
I walked the interior of the fence line and my friend walked the exterior and into the creek bed and found 2 foot prints that looked kind of like dog but the rain had washed part of 1 away and the other was on hard-pack and couldn't make a positive ID ( he decided that with everything else we found, there was a good likelihood that it was dogs that got the sheep ).
We found all of the missing sheep. One was a surprize, tho.
When I came out the backdoor to get things ready to go out back I heard a familiar voice calling from the neighbor's drive way. I looked over to the neighbor's and saw Lacie, my favorite Shetland ewe, standing there calling to me. I called her name and she ran to the gate and thru it , paused long enough to get a cookie/ handful of dog chow and then went to greet the other 2 sheep left. I just stood and cried because I thought I'd lost her in the killing spree and now she was home. Since that day, she comes into the backyard withthe other 2 every night and expects to have a cup of dog food or a cookie waiting for her - yes, she has always been spoiled and now even more so. I can hardly wait to breed her and Wen again to get more of their babies, but that won't happen until I get at least 1 Pyr to protect them - something I will be doing next spring sionce I won't breed them unti I graduate in the fall of 2010 from college.
As I have always said, I don't mind as much if a wild aminal kills one of my sheep as that's Mother Nature's way of keeping the species going BUT I do mind it my animals are killed by someone's pet dog - that's just pure laziness on the pet owner's side. My dogs are not allowed to run loose ( even tho Vinnie does like to get out and hunt along the creek bed for wood chucks and rabbits ), I expect others to keep their dogs under control or face the fact that if I catch them in my pasture chasing/killing my sheep, they will get their pet back with a bullet in the head ( I will let the state police do the delivering ).
Now, I can get off my soap box and just enjoy the sheep again.
Thanks for all the caring I received from everyone during this stressful time, I hope to never have to go thru this type of thing again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's been a bad week here.
I came home Tuesday, 7/14, and found 2 of my sheep waiting at the gate to the front yard ( I had let them into the back yard because of all the clover growing there ) which wasn't unusual because TJ thinks he's the guard wether and Wennie is his back-up helper. But what was strange was that the dogs ( who are kenneled right next to this gate ) were in their dogs houses and never made a sound ( now these labs will bark if ANYONE pulls into the drive ) but not that day.
I went into the back yard and didn't see any other sheep, so I called to them, and banged on metal feed pans but no one came, which was strange but I thought they may have found something good to eat in the back pasture and were too busy to answer me.
So, I put the 2 sheep with me in the front pasture and were in to let the house dogs out to potty and came back out. Well, when Chloe and Travis hit the ground at the bottom of the steps Travis cowered to the ground on his belly and both of them tried to climb thro me to get back inside - I 'd never seen them do this before .
I went back out into the pasture to see if I could find the sheep - I found 1kat Shetland ewe hidden under a broken tree branch in the yard and just about never got her out - she had blood on the back of her neck and was walking funny ( Like she was hurt - no clue what had happened ).
I walked farther into the front pasture and found my other 2 year old kat Shetland ewe dead lying next to an old tree stump. She had 1/2 inch cuts on either side of her neck but no other injuries I could see. Something had chased her to death.
Walking further towards the woods, at the edge of the woods/ pasture I found my border Leicester ewe down with part of her rump eaten away. I'm thinking a coyote got in. So, I slowly walked farther into the woods looking for the other 3 ewes when I came upon my moorit Shetland ewe. She was lying in the middle of the path dead with no visible injuries but her wool was soaking went ( whatever got into the pasture had run her to death and tried to bite her but all it got was a mouthful of wool because I hadn't sheared them yet ).
I continued to look in the pasture and didn't see any other sheep - still missing a yearling kat Shetland ewe and a 5 year old AG Shetland ewe. As I was coming up over the hill between the pastures it dawned on me that if I had come across whatever animal had killed my sheep, I was unarmed and had no phone with me - just had the 2 unhurt sheep glued to me. Not a good situation to be in. Needless to say, I made a fairly rapid return to the house.
Last night, 7/15, I talked to the guy who lives up the road and told him what happened and he and his brother ( who lives next door ) drove around my property on their 4-wheeler and checked everything out. He said they saw a foot print but, because it had rained yesterday morning it was too distorted to id the animal.
The ewe that was walking around hurt was worse and the flies had gotten to her on Monday before I could. I looked at her the best I could and saw something " dripping " from underneath her and she was in a lot of pain. I decided that if she lived thru another night and was still as she was I'd have a friend of mine come over with his gun and put her down.
Whatever had killed my sheep also came back laast night and ate more of the border Leicester ewe but didn't attack the injured ewe.
This afternoon, 7/16, my friend will be over and we will put the injured ewe down and use her carcuss as bait for the killer after " fixing it up " for it. Can't say what we're going to do because you aren't supposed to do anything to stop a wild animal from killing your livestock or so says the Indiana DNR - but they want you to let them know what you did with its body - now, if you can't/won't help me get rid of a preditor that's killing my animals, don't expect me to tell you what I did with the carcuss - it ain't gonna happen that way.
I have been asked, since this happened, if I want more sheep. I can't give an answer yet, it's too soon. I'll have to let everyone heal from this ordeal before I do anything.
Hopefully, we can find out what type of preditor it was and stop it.