We have been raising sheep since 2005 without a sheep guardian and this year, 2016, is the first time we experienced coyotes killing our sheep. We raise beef cattle here at Bear Creek as well, and have lost a few calves to coyotes over the years. After all the hard work of making sure these little babies survive it is very disheartening to have them killed by coyotes right when you think you are over all the hurdles of keeping them healthy.
We lost 3 lambs and a ewe while we were in Oregon at the Black Sheep Gathering in June. One lamb suffered injuries to her neck and after days of treatment and care she eventually died as well. Three more lambs disappeared later in the summer as well as another ewe lamb with neck injuries. She is my only Wensleydale ewe lamb and quite special. She had blood all over her beautiful wool on her neck, but thankfully after shearing that area and treating her she survived.
My boys and husband love to hunt, but were unsuccessful in tracking down the coyotes. We had the state trapper come and he set traps and snares but never caught a coyote.
We have a Golden Retriever that is useless as far as coyotes are concerned, since she stays close to us and sleeps in the house at night.
Losing 10 sheep this summer lead us to researching Livestock Guardian Dogs as an option. After talking to several shepherds we decided this was the route we should take. We purchased a 3/4 Great Pyrenees, 1/4 Anatolian Shepherd from our neighbor, he is 3 months old and we named him Angus.
He has a very different disposition than our Golden Retriever, which has been fun to watch. He is very laid back, has the cutest huge clumsy paws and sounds like a horse walking up the steps on our deck. He already seems to be aware of his territory, checking it over and barking during the night.
All the sheep are up in the yard now getting ready for breeding season, so they are safer for now until the sheep guardian grows bigger.