When I was doing chores Tuesday night, I discovered that the setting goose was gone and so were all of her eggs. I couldn't even find an egg shell. What kind of predator could have taken her without leaving any feathers? And what could eat eggs without leaving any shells? I mentioned it on the Antiquity Oaks Facebook page, and a few people offered guesses. A snake seemed the most likely egg thief because they do swallow eggs whole, but I couldn't figure out who could have taken the goose. The area is fenced, but I supposed some might have forgotten and left a gate open at some point.
Wednesday was one of those days that felt like a week. I woke up knowing that the final draft of my book would be waiting in my inbox. I'd be spending the whole day giving it one final read before giving the thumb's up for it to be put into book form. Talk about nerve wracking!
I was sitting at the computer, which is in front of a window overlooking the barnyard, and I heard our livestock guardian dog barking viciously. He was standing at the fence of the goat pasture looking towards the chicken house. I turned towards the chicken house and saw something large and gray on the other side of the fence. After a few seconds, I screamed, "Coyote! Coyote!" Mike ran to get a gun from upstairs but the coyote disappeared down the hill. Mike went running after it as I started to process what I'd seen. It was huge -- much taller than the chickens. Coyotes are only 40 pounds. It was very gray. Coyotes are more brown-gray-reddish. Could it have been a wolf?
When Mike got back, he started talking about how big the coyote was -- at least twice as big as any coyote he'd seen before. I asked if he thought it could have been a wolf, and to my surprise -- because he is always Mr. Cool -- he said yes. I googled "wolves in Illinois" and read an article in the Chicago Tribune that said a wolf siting was confirmed about 60 miles from here in March. Not good. We have two dogs, six llamas, and guns, but llamas are not effective guardians against wolves, only coyotes. The dogs can't be in every pasture every minute of every day and neither can we.
But I didn't have time to think about the predator because I had to finish reading my manuscript. So, while everyone else decided to spend a lot of time near the chicken house, I got back to work on my computer. We haven't seen the predator again, and as far as we know, we haven't lost any more animals. But if we've learned anything out here, it's that coyotes don't go far if they think there is a free meal to be had. I read that wolves will range over hundreds of miles, so maybe it would be lucky if this is a wolf. Maybe he'll move on?