This morning when Mike was in the woods looking for downed trees to use as firewood, he found a pile of bones that he assumed to be the remains of Snuggles, our sole Old English Southdown sheep that has been missing for several weeks. For the first few days that we didn't see him, we kept making excuses, assuming he was lagging behind the other sheep, or maybe he was in a brushy part of the timber, and we just couldn't see him. After a couple weeks, we started to quietly accept the idea that perhaps he had been eaten. The skull Mike found is a polled ruminant, and it is too wide to be a deer. Since Snuggles is the only sheep or goat to be missing, it seems obvious that it is him.
I have no doubt that without the llamas, I would probably have no sheep at this point. In August, Tuscany, my smallest gelding, was bitten in the knee of his right front leg. And a couple of weeks ago, Merlin, one of the older boys, was limping, although we couldn't find any obvious injury on his leg. He spent about three days kushed (that's what they call it when a llama is laying down) or walking on three legs. Both have made a full recovery.
Our mail lady said that someone a mile south of us shot a coyote and hung it up on a fence post by the road, which is a little creepy, regardless of how much I hate coyotes. The man who lives down the road said that a pack of coyotes had his dog (a German shepherd mix) pinned against his house about a month ago. He's lived here his whole life and said he's never seen so many coyotes as this past year. Their house is in the middle of a cornfield, and the packs come into his yard on a regular basis. The coyotes are probably a lot closer to our house than I want to know, but we can't see them because we are surrounded by timber and little bluffs and creek beds, where they can hide. The sheep are spending most of their time in the cow pasture. I imagine Bridget's horns are good protection. Someone else told me that there used to be a bounty on coyotes, so people would hunt them. But there is no incentive now for anyone to shoot them other than livestock owners whose animals are being killed. It's feeling a little like the Wild West here.