My worst Nightmare...
As I write this I have shivers that go up and down my spine. This past Wednesday we sat down for an unusually early dinner, around 6 PM, because my husband had to leave for work around 7 PM. As we were sitting there we heard the chickens start yelling, which I thought nothing of, because they yell when they lay an egg or find something yummy to eat. Little did we know this squabbling was well worth it.
Robert, my stepson, looked up and calmly said to my husband and I there is a coyote in the back yard! It took us a moment to really comprehend what he said, because he was so calm in his mannerism! But, sure enough when we looked up there was a large red coyote not 20 feet from our back deck and another 40 feet from our barn. I immediately ran outside in my socks to check on the goats, which thankfully were all unscathed and hanging out in the barn.
My husband ran to get his gun, but by the time he was able to retrieve it, the coyote had disappeared into our woods. This struck true fear into our hearts as we later found out we lost two hens that same day. Our goats are precious and we try to take every precaution when it comes to their health, nutrition and safety, but we are not able to control natural wildlife! We do lock the goats up in the barn completely every night to protect them from predators, but this attack occurred in broad daylight!
I think part of the coyote sighting was my fault. We have been letting our chickens free range for about a month after keeping them locked up for about 6 months due to heavy hawk
. Additionally, we have weaned our buckling, so he has been screaming and making many distress sounds. Thirdly, I did not take our dog out with me to do morning chores. She usually runs around the entire property checking it out and leaving her scent, which I believe deters the coyotes.
Since the sighting we have set up trail cameras and even put a rooster in a cage at the wood line in order to lure the coyote out, but we have not seen him again. Additionally, we have modified our barn so there is a pen for all of the goats that we lock them in when we leave. We are also working to build goat fencing that will have a hot wire on the outside to deter all predators. I know now system is 100% perfect, but we are working to continue to keep our goats safe. Please consider coyotes when designing your goat set up, they are a real threat to small livestock.