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Sheep killed by Coyote or Dog

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  • Sheep killed by Coyote or Dog

    These are the neighbor sheep, by the way.

    This is a band of old lame ewes and bouncy lambs.

    About five days ago one of the neighbor lambs was killed. It was up against a sheep fence with its throat ripped open, but not a bite had been eaten. When we found the dead lamb we called the owner, but he was not able to get it gathered up that day. During the night it was mostly consumed by something.

    Last night, same thing. Lamb up against fence with its throat ripped out.

    I am thinking that this is the work of dogs for the kill and maybe coyote for the consuming.

    I am thinking that the dogs are chasing the lambs, who can run, for fun, and killing them. (Again, the ewes are older and most are gimpy to some extent.) The coyote then comes along the next night and has a meal.

    What do you think COTHERS?

  • #2
    My vote is dogs. Coyotes will generally take their kill away to eat, or eat it in place. Dogs will kill for the fun of it.


    • #3
      An interesting dog behavior factiod to think about- sorry I don't know enough about it to use the proper terms- but a wild animal who hunts has a chain of behaviors which feed him:

      Tearing open the carcass

      Many of our beloved domestic dog breeds have parts of this chain in their mental makeup which allow them to serve and function within our human world

      Border collies stalking
      Heelers biting etc.
      Terriers killing

      having a few missing links is what prevents them from being like the wild predators.

      Some dogs, if given a carcass- would never think to eat it- he lacks the brain connection to tear open the skin.

      So- I think that what you imagine- two different characters at work here- is right on.


      • #4
        Your neighbor should consider getting a donkey. Lots of farmers with sheep or goats put a donkey in with the herd to help protect against dogs, coyotes, etc. Most donkeys are territorial and will run down any varmint that doesn't belong in the pasture.

        I have had two donkeys (both geldings). The first one was quite aggressive. He ran many dogs out of the pasture. I'm sure he would have killed one (or seriously injured one) if he had been able to get to it. The dogs would always get the he*l outta there when they saw the donkey coming. My current donkey isn't as aggressive, but he still gets the job done.


        • #5
          Yep donkeys or llamas - many of the ranchers around here keeps both with their cow / calf herd, and the local goat dairy keeps llamas with their flock for protection.

          And I also vote dogs - one neighbor (who didn't keep a donkey with his cows) was losing calves to coyotes - all we were finding was caucuses.
          APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


          • Original Poster

            The sheep have been moved.

            We have had a very pleasant relationship with our local Coyote for many years. We have had no missing barn cats even though we have had the coyote hanging out quite close to the house and barn.

            My concern is that a new neighbor, who is renting a place that borders our back fields, is letting his dogs loose at night. By day, one of his dogs is chained inside of his wire kennel.


            • #7
              Dog. I'd bet a LOT on dog.
              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
              We Are Flying Solo


              • #8
                It isn't coyotes. I've had sheep for years and never had coyote issues, EVER. Inconsiderate neighbors' dogs? YES. I'd drop a letter in your new dog owning neighbor's mailbox stating the seriousness of turning dogs out and itemize the cost of each sheep killed, as well as the brutality. Just so he knows. I doubt someone that allows his dogs to run around everyone else's properties will have the consideration to care, but it is a start and it is documentation. Keep a copy for yourself. I don't tolerate people like this. In the end lots of animals will suffer for his ignorance.

                "Pat the horse; kick yourself" - Carl Hester


                • #9
                  For guarding, I much prefer a donkey over a llama. I have used both, the llama's real defense is the way it stares predators down. A donkey on the other hand has a few more tricks up it's sleeve! Heck of a bite and heck of a kick.


                  • Original Poster

                    I am now jconfident that it is a dog. The cototes and the sheep have all been here for over 30 years and these are the first un natural sheep deaths.

                    Well, now to narrow it down to which dog. There will be a stake out when we get home from this competition excursion.

                    Next week, next week. How does that go? SSS !?


                    • #11
                      This is cattle country, but some have tried to also run sheep and coyotes made it impossible.
                      There are no lose dogs here, not for long, coyotes take care of those asap.
                      Coyotes will go after all and any.

                      Now, that may be different where you are, but I would not make blanket statements about all coyotes not going after sheep.
                      They do eat their share of calves.


                      • #12
                        What sounds unusual for a dog kill is the "throat ripped open". That is usually a sign of a practiced wild predator. Dogs usually chase anything and everything and bite at them indiscriminately. Generally sheep harassed by dogs have lots of individuals injured - often gruesomely. The dogs have enough of a prey drive to chase and bite and often get so excited in the process that they bite at many individuals, but they rarely have a clean kill. The kill but not eaten part fits, but the rest would be quite unusual.


                        • #13
                          What about getting a game cam? Unless I had proof, I'd have a hard time pinpointing either animal. Aren't thrill-kill dogs a little more messy? I guess I'm just finding it odd that both times the throat was torn, just seems more like a predator looking for food than fun.
                          I LOVE my Chickens!


                          • Original Poster

                            If it is the new neighbor dogs, they are a breed that grabs and shakes.

                            Maybe this is a coincidence, with new neighbor dogs, but we have not had a problem before.

                            We do have plenty of other food sources for the coyote besides the sheep, so it isn't for lack of food.

                            We will try to catch the prowlers in the act.


                            • #15
                              If it's the new neighbor's dogs, then you don't know if the animals have a history of this or not. This might be one factor in why they moved to your area. I'm betting dogs are doing the killing, and maybe the dogs return the next night, or the coyotes are going after the leftovers. I agree that the timing is very suspicious, and the fact that new dogs moved in, and you suspect are running loose at night, and the lamb killings suddenly start is a very big coincidence. If the lamb owner asks around I bet there is someone with a spare game camera they can borrow for a few nights, and that could give definite proof of the culprit.
                              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                              • #16
                                It's highly unusual for a dog to rip open a lambs throat. Shake and kill? Yes. Isn't it coyote pup season? Are they teaching them to hunt by now?
                                Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                • #17
                                  Yes, Pennywell, that is what I was going to say. Having lived on a sheep ranch in Montana, they are teaching the pups how to hunt and kill now and we did have a lot of losses this time of year. Sometimes the coyotes would just kill and keep moving just to teach the pups, or sometimes they would start to eat them and then get moved on. We never had a stray dog issue-we were too far from other dogs or houses, it was always coyotes or wolves. In Idaho you could easily have wolves. Coyotes around here generally do not carry off their dinner, they eat fast and run away. Cats will take their dinner away and hide it. Dogs usually hassle with the hind legs and flanks, they don't like to get around the face as much but a coyote works both ends, using the throat to finally take the animal down.

                                  OP I totally recommend calling Fish and Game or local sheep ranchers/any ranchers/extension service. The coyotes and dogs in the deep south are a whole other kettle of fish than what we have in the NW...
                                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
                                    It's highly unusual for a dog to rip open a lambs throat. Shake and kill? Yes. Isn't it coyote pup season? Are they teaching them to hunt by now?
                                    Unusual? Yes.
                                    Happens? Yes. Friends owned both the dogs & the sheep - first kills were blamed on coyotes, until they watched a sunday morning special & there was no doubt

                                    This type of attack is also seen in dog aggression cases - again, not a common display, but happens.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by alto View Post
                                      Unusual? Yes.
                                      Happens? Yes. Friends owned both the dogs & the sheep - first kills were blamed on coyotes, until they watched a sunday morning special & there was no doubt

                                      This type of attack is also seen in dog aggression cases - again, not a common display, but happens.
                                      Agreed. Hence my statement it's unusual. I've heard coyote pups around here, which is why I was pondering.
                                      Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                      • #20
                                        I would agree that there isn't enough damage to be dogs. Also, what is with the "up against the fence with the throat ripped open"? Was the attack through the fence? Odd. Chickens are entirely different but racoons will pull a chicken up against the wire and kill them, leaving the body there.
                                        "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp