9/01/2011

Those Pesky Varmints...

Tuesday morning we awoke to find our pregnant ewe was missing.  The entire back wall of my chicken coop/sheep pen was down, the posts that held it together broken in two.  We couldn't figure out WHAT had gotten to her and was strong enough to tear the wall down like that.  The search began, as we thought maybe she was so spooked she ran to protect herself.  She did run and my daughter found her in the pasture next to us.  Not 30 feet away from our back door.  The verdict, she was attacked and her/lamb did not make it.  Grave disappointment set in and I couldn't figure out WHY whatever it was would go after the ewe in the pen when we had forgotten to lock the other sheep up and he was out in the opening.  Nevertheless, my son carted the mama off to the back of the property to let the vultures have there way...it's way too dry to burn the carcass as I normally would.  We secured the pen as best we could and made sure the other sheep and the chickens would be safe.
Tuesday night all seemed well and we thought we had things in order.  I had come to accept that our Spring meat would not be and I would have to hunt for another ewe in the new year.  We went about our day Wednesday and all seemed well.  We headed to church, making sure the animals were secure, as we wouldn't get home until late.  As we arrived home, I felt the urge to go check on them.  Pushing back the idea that I just might need the gun.  All seemed well, it was pretty quiet.  Then suddenly the hair on my neck began to rise and I began to creep backwards.  There was something in the pen and it was running frantically as though it wasn't sure what to do.  I knew instantly that something was in there that shouldn't be.  As my son came with the gun, loaded and aimed, I realized what was looking me in my eyes.  It was a coyote.  My daughter drove the van around to that area so I could have better light, but by this time it had escaped.  I was unable to get a shot off and there before me lay my lamb that was scheduled for the butcher next month.
I couldn't tell if he had gotten to my chickens, they seemed to be scattered and rightly so.
This morning as I awoke before dawn to investigate, I discovered the coyotes entryway, he had gotten one of my hens (our favorite one at that), and as I began to piece some things together, I realized he has been prowling around for at least 3 weeks from the evidence of things.  I couldn't figure out Tuesday why a coyote would kill the ewe and leave her.  He didn't even attempt to eat it.  So I assumed a dog got to her.  Now that I think about it, it was so near the road, maybe the coyote got spooked before he could devour her.  The lamb he got to last night, he took a chunk out of him so that concluded it was NOT a dog, but a coyote.  Finally, the ewe carcass that was discarded on Tuesday, it's gone.  From the top of the steps we could see where she lay, and the last time we saw her was yesterday as we left for church.  This morning...gone.  Thus my conclusion it's a pack of coyotes.  Now my concern is were they only hungry or are they rabid???
Today we have secured the remaining 6 chickens in the coop.  I've secured it to the point if something gets in it's gonna have a heck of a time getting out and thus I can put it down!!!!!
Now to find a lamb for sale that I can take to the butcher by Oct. 31 so we can have meat in the freezer this winter.  Maybe someone will go hunting and share a deer with us.  Then in the new year I'll be on the hunt for at least 3 ewes so I can get a good supply of meat in the freezer.
Right now I'm totally numb and not sure what to think...other than, I think I'll be casing out the coop for a few nights on a hunt for some coyotes.  I'm determined to put 'em down and out of MY misery!!!!

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