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.


Sharrie said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. What a horrible thing to have happen to your sheep. Keep the list posted on what you find out about the killer.

Anonymous said...

After the first 3 coyote attacks at my place, I quit reporting them to the Indiana DNR. Nothing was going to be done to help me. We have permission to shoot coyotes if we see them on our property threatening the sheep, but they don't come when you can see them. And I don't have a gun or the ability to hit a coyote with a bullet if I did have one. I did doctor up a dead lamb and leave it for the coyotes once. Maybe I did not use enough of the right "spices" because they ate it and came back for more. It did not seem to affect the local pack at all.

The only thing that seems to consistently keep the coyotes away is my Great Pyrenees. I spent hundreds of dollars for dogs to guard my sheep, but without them I would not be able to keep any sheep here.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh Benita, how horrible for you and your sheep! And how strange that even the house dogs could smell or sense that dangerous predators had been there, and wanted nothing to do with it! Please keep us posted.

Rayna said...

That's awful :( We got a Pyr for that reason...he's not much of a guard dog, but we're hoping the smell will ward off anything that thinks of coming onto the property. By the running to death part, it sounds more like wild dogs, but the coyotes will do it too, and the fact that your dogs were cowering is more than likely coy's. Good luck getting rid of them...

Bill Stearman said...

Hi Benita,

So sorry for your loss! I have become a bit of an 'expert' on predation over
the years ... and NOT though CHOICE!

In my experience, a coyote, wolf, or hybrid of the two ... will kill, with
little sign of a struggle ... and will eat ALL of the carcass. I lost an adult
ram recently and there was nothing left except for the horns and part of the
skull! These wild animals do not chase for fun, do not bite at, and do not eat
part of an animal and go after yet another.

Several years ago, I had one sheep killed, and 13 bitten up. The entire flock
had been chased and tormented. There was not a lot of the dead animal eaten.
This was NOT caused by a wild animal. This was done be a neighbour's dog.

Again, this is just in my experience, but, wild animals kill to eat ... whereas
dogs kill for fun. Give me a wild animal attack ANY time or a dog attack! The
puncture wounds from a dog's incissors (sp) are harder to heal that a tear. I
had HUGE Vet bills cleaning up after the dog attack ... and a LOT of tears over
the PAIN my poor sheep were in. After the coyote/wolf attack ... I had a SMALL
amount of skull to remove and bury so that he didn't return and sadness at
losing ONE animal ... NOT most of my flock.

Good luck finding the culprit! And ... get livestock guardian dogs! NOTHING
works better!

Again, sorry for your loss.

Bill Stearman
... visit my blog and keep up with what is happening ...

Kathy said...

Oh, Benita...
I am so very sorry for your loss. I think we're all with you on getting the predator and to hell with DNR. You're protecting your remaining animals and dogs, plus yourself.

I tend to agree with Bill that this may be dog(s). Out here in the west we have to be on our toes for predators - we have bear, lion, wolf, coyote as well as eagles taking lambs, etc.
Dogs will kill for fun. That being said, the fact that this one came back to finish a meal may mean you've got something else going on there - or something else is taking advantage of the free food.
Please keep us informed as to what happens. We may not be close geographically, but you know all of us NASSA people are right there with you.
Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers,

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