Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Death on the Farm

Our sheep are primarily pets, although we do breed them and sell their offspring (at unusual livestock auctions) we tend to become more attached to them than perhaps somebody who had been raised keeping sheep purely as livestock.

The winter of 2007 had been particularly cold, and as January 2008 rolled around temperatures were not getting much better.  Where we live there are a few coyotes, we use to see them rather regularly just outside our pasture.  If seen we would often run out and chase them away as they scare rather easily. 

At that time we had a farm light, a flood light for the yard, it illuminated the barns that the sheep had free access to. Apparently it illuminated them too!  On January 3, of 2008, coyotes entered the sheep pen at night.  The sheep could not have seen the approaching predators, just as we when in light rooms cannot see into the darkness.

Of course I don't know exactly what happened except that in the morning when one sheep did not come for breakfast I had to walk around to try and find her, but instead found only a backbone and hind legs.  Mrs.  Whiteface had been killed and eaten. 

The picture of her is from the summer previous, as she stands over her two lambs with another ewe (Mrs Greyface).  She would have been an easy target, she had artritis in her legs making her slower moving when she would just wake up, particularly in the winter.

I hold no bad feelings towards the coyotes, although for a while I did at the time, but they were just doing what comes naturally to them - they have to eat too. 

We now have no yard lights, so the sheep can see danger at night, and when winters get more cold they are brought into the fully enclosed barn at night.

Read about How to Keep Yourself Safe from Coyotes - click here.

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