Dad and I spent the day fixing the 11-acre pasture fenceline–patching small holes, securing the fence bottoms to the ground, cutting up fallen trees. The hurricane recently brought down a couple of large trees, too, essentially making coyote highways into the back pasture. Thank God for chainsaws, that’s all I can say.
We’ve had a heck of a time with coyotes this year. The neighbors say, “Wow, the coyotes were really active last night!”, or the tell-tale turkey vultures are circling, and sure enough, there’s another sheep, dead. We’ve lost at least twenty this year. That’s a lot.
OK, this is kinda gruesome–consider yourself warned.
It started in the spring when the lambs were weaned. One spring day, as I drove back from a morning event, I realized some of the sleeping lambs had not moved and were lying in odd positions–on their sides. Something just wasn’t right. Upon investigation, I found three “sleeping” lambs, all with clean punctures to the upper throat. None had been eaten, they were just left there. As the season progressed, the killing has moved on to the adults, and the consumption has also escalated. At first, just the heads were missing, later part of the haunches, and now the internal organs. So I’m thinking it’s a young group of coyotes being taught how to hunt. How nice of us to provide this lovely little practice herd for them.
The truth is, we still don’t know what’s killing the sheep for sure. Coyotes? Dogs? Wolverines from outer space? Come to think of it, I did find an abnormally large human-esque footprint in the snow in the back pasture last winter….do we have a rare Eastern Sasquatch? Animal Control suggested it might be bears, which we don’t have around here. They also said a dog would never kill a sheep, except maybe a German Shepherd because that’s what they were bred for.
Well, hopefully we managed to close those coyote highways. There were 13 sheep, a donkey and a llama in the pasture at dusk. How many will there be this time next week?