Friday, September 19, 2008

Unwanted visitors

This morning, Mike and I were talking shortly before 7 a.m. when we heard Sovalye making a very strange noise. It wasn't barking or growling. I said it sounded like whining. Mike said it sounded like Sovalye was frustrated. Finally, Mike decided to head out to see what was happening. "Take the gun," I said.

A few minutes later, three shots sliced through the early-morning silence. I hurried to the window and saw Mike running down the road. "What is it?" I yelled.


It was a long shot, probably much too long for a pistol, and the coyotes went running into the cornfield across the road from the sheep pasture. By the time Mike reached the pasture, there were no coyotes in sight. He counted four lambs.

This afternoon we were walking down the road and found a lot of coyote prints of various sizes. It definitely looks like a pack with pups. The llamas still are not in there with the sheep, but we need to figure out something. They need a guardian. This is the second time we've seen coyotes down there in the past week, but now that we have lambs, I'm worried about putting the llamas in there with them. I keep remembering the donkey that killed a young ewe a few years ago. It's the old Catch 22 my mama used to talk about ... damned if you do and damned if you don't. Sometimes you don't know what the right answer is until after you've done the wrong thing.

Sad day for Pocahontas

Yesterday Katherine called me when I was at the college. Pocahontas had lambed and was running around screaming. The lamb was dead. Katherine said it was probably born dead because the lamb's legs were still stretched out behind its body as if it never moved once it was born. It's sad when any animal dies, but it is especially heart breaking in this case because Pocahontas seems to experience nothing but sadness and grief in mothering. And she is such a wonderfully attentive mother.

Last year, she had twin ewes. One little ewe suffered fly strike. The ewe lamb, Princess, didn't recognize her mother by the time she was able to go back to the pasture, even though Pocahontas definitely remembered her baby. She came running to the gate as soon as I walked into the pasture. She stared at the baby and talked to her. Princess hid behind me, not remembering her mother at all. Finally, Pocahontas walked away slowly but continually looking behind her and calling her baby to follow. It wasn't very long until the coyotes ate her other baby.

Today Pocahontas looks very sad. She is laying around the pasture with her head on the ground. She stands up, turns around, and lays down again. I'm sure her udder is quite full and painful. I'd like to milk her, but she is not very friendly. Maybe ...


Gizmo said...

OH NO!!! They were probably drawn in by the lambs.
You really need to get the llamas in with the sheep. In the almost 10 years that we've had llama guards, we've only lost one ewe to a male trying to breed her. And, that happened inside a barn stall. If there's a pack hunting, you may still have other losses. Maybe Pocahontas unknowingly called them in. Regardless of the reason, it seems you have some new residents that need to be evicted.
Poor Pocahontas....sorry.

Gabby Girl said...

Such a sad little story. I cried my eyes out when my pet crickets, Gloria and Eduardo, died. I'd be even more sad if a cuter, bigger animal died. Sad face.


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