"But I don't have coyotes" your mind is telling you. The truth is you probably do. They cruise through rural, suburban and even sometimes city areas of 49 of our states and all of Canada. February & March they tend to be the most aggressive as they enter breeding season along with reduced rodent availability. Male coyotes can become extremely aggressive due to increased testosterone levels and increases in fighting with other males. After that hunting increases to feed their quickly growing pups. Fall of course encourages them to hunt extra to try to put on extra weight for winter and winter of course faces it's own challenges. We have seen coyotes all hours of the daytime and of course hear them out at night (we have at least three distinct packs in our neighborhood). They've been sighted off in the distance, in neighbor's yards and even just a step outside of our livestock containing fencing! Fencing without a guardian in it of course can be dug under, squeezed through or under or sometimes jumped over from a log or pile of manure or other item that a careless stock owner leaves too close to the fence. Coyotes only require a few inches to squeeze under or through something. Check your fencing regularly to avoid this.
As livestock and pet owners there are many concerns with coyotes. One is the spread of parvo through their feces. Another is the well known fact that they delight in hunting dogs and cats as a part of their menu, even snatching them off of porches. Even your guardian dogs aren't 100% safe from them. This is why. Several years ago we watched the audacity of one coyote in the afternoon run back and forth along the fenceline with our guardian dogs going bananas just on the other side. What was that trouble maker up to? He knew he couldn't get in and with dogs right there he wouldn't try. What he was doing and what they try to do is to get a dog or two to come after them. Suicidal? No. Hunting? Yes! If they can coerce your guardian or other dog to dig out, squeeze out or go over for a chase they will lead your dog right into an ambush by the pack. End of dog. One guardian or two guardians have no way to take on a pack of coyotes in a planned ambush.
Coyotes are ruthless in their hunting. When going after livestock (or deer, elk, etc) their main strategy is do distract and attack from the front to keep their prey's attention while one or more go for the hamstring or scrotum at the rear. As soon as they bring their animal down they don't finish the kill. They just start eating. Sick and evil, but true. They also are very well known for pulling baby livestock away during birthing- even before the baby is completely out of the birth canal! Always keep your mares, jennies, cattle and small livestock if possible in a coyote proof pen close in when birthing, and / or keep guardians with them. They generally target pets and small livestock (including your immature large livestock), but if they are real hungry they will also target large stock. I also had a horse about twenty years ago that sustained an injury to his face from hitting the fence while running coyotes off.
Ways to avoid coyotes on your place is by keeping good strong fencing on borders where possible along with a guardian or guardians on the inside. Guardian dogs, llamas, occasionally an alpaca male, and donkeys are all commonly used for livestock guardians. There are pros and cons to each form so you'll need to decide which is right for you. Electric fencing can be used but it a maintenance issue if placed on the outside of the fence due to grass and brush growth. Solar powered electric web fencing is very expensive but works well for those that need to get a fence up quick in a new location. It's most commonly used for small livestock and poultry.
Coyotes are very difficult to shoot. My husband has been able to drop one in all of our years together. But certainly if you have safety training and it's legal for you to shoot where you are, this is another method to try to narrow down the ranks. If you are having to shoot onto a neighbor's property to get them be sure you have their permission. Don't count on being able to get very many this way though unless you live in an area where you can set up with a light, calls etc in areas where it's legal to hunt them that way.
Remember that while coyotes are wiley, your number one most likely predator damage is going to be from DOGS- from your neighborhood, your own, or strays wandering through. We get clients from all three scenarios. Please have a plan to keep them out of your stock.
May you never ever ever have a problem from these beautiful but rotten thieves. We are here to help you with herbal aftercare should you have an animal or animals that ever experience predator damage. See our great products at www.firmeadowllc.com . Look for Better Daze, Cayenne extract or herb powder, Wounderful! Salve and ReBuilld herb mix to radically support the healing process. Blessings ALL OF YOU!!!
Totally not fun! I hate dealing with retained afterbirths. We had just dealt with a very difficult kidding on this doe. Her tail tendons had been gone all day and she had not yet kidded. She wasn't impatient, but by the time darkness fell I knew I was going to have to glove up and find out why. I had already given her one dose of Ewe-Ter-N tea to help us with more efficient contractions which she drank readily a few hours ago. So I drenched her with a second dose. Then after we milked does and fed kids Jerry and I went to work. My husband has the very important job of holding the does and talking to them while I do the fishing to find out why the goat stork had not arrived. So after lubing up with 3 drops of lavender essential oil (see our website to purchase) mixed into some olive oil, I found that I had a cervix only somewhat dilated so I applied firm but not too hard of pressure with my fingers in an outward circle position and it began to dilate further. It probably took about three minutes to get full dilation so that I could feel what I had going on. And just what?!? was going on? So I felt a bony 'corner' then I felt a spine, then I found a tail. Oh rats. rump first. Not even any rear legs to go with it. To top it off there was a kid just to the right with one front leg and a nose, but as I was feeling around I felt an eye socket that felt ldeeper than normal. hmmmm. So I opt to slowly, carefully slide my hand down the uterus under the rump of the kid that was just a bit closer to me. Carefully keeping my hand along the underneath of the kid I find one leg. So then I carefully had to simultaneously try to move the rump further into the doe while I cupped my hand around the foot and took some time to first curl the foot around, then get enough room to slowly bring the foot up without compromising or breaking the fetlock joint (pastern). Yes, it was tight in there. My cupped hand protected the doe's uterus from being torn as I brought the leg up and through the vulva. Now I had one rear leg and a rump. Not ideal, but better than no rear legs to pull. This kid was somewhat dry (not a good sign) so I filled up a 50 ml cc feeding syringe (available on our website- always keep one in your kidding kit!) with olive oil and five drops of lavender essential oil (standard sized lamancha doe) and carefully inserted it into the vaginal canal between the kid and wall and squirted it up into the canal. Nicely lubed- yes! Be very careful if you have to do this with a forward facing kid- try to get the lubricant back behind the head so you don't aspirate your kid. After some working I was able to get the kid out. Dead kid- at least for several hours by looking at the eyes- which explained the deeper than normal eye sockets. So this was the SAME kid that I thought was two- in a u shape with his rump and head trying to get out at the same time. First time for everything and hope I don't see another one of those!
With him clear the second kid- a doeling came out just fine and normal. Then the third kid came out rear feet first but in goats that is normal. I just help the doe with these by pulling downward towards HER hocks so we can get to the face fast to strip it with a soft absorbable cotton washcloth before it tries to breathe. So thankfully two nice and healthy strong doelings.
Because of the work to get that first dystocia (malpresentation) this doe's vulva was quite mishapen. And because I had to dig in and out of her I loaded up the drenching syringe with HerBiotic herb mix (on our website) and olive oil and drenched that into her vaginal canal with a hard push on the plunger to send the mix as far up as possible. I wanted that up there since I had been past the cervix even though I sanitized my glove I still most certainly introduced bacteria into her uterus- remember it's airborn in a barn and sticking to your glove and any thing else wet immediately. I also put HerBiotic salve on the very damaged vulval lips. First photo shows the damage to the vulva and retained afterbirth. Second photo shows how much salve I put on and third shows her just 24 hours later. We do blanket our does after they kid until the next morning when we put them back with the herd after milking- unless there is a problem.
With a very difficult birth a retained placenta isn't all that uncommon and I also hate these. The whole time you have afterbirth hanging their bacteria are climbing up the afterbirth and marching into the vulva and uterus. With these we typically tie about a one pound weight to the top of the afterbirth- being careful not to break it and being careful to never tie any of the vulval lips into the hayrope. I like hay rope best because it's stiff for easy tying/untying, easy to sanitize and we never have a shortage of it! I also tie up any extra placenta into a not to add to the weight and gave another dose of Ewe-Ter-N herb mix. Every couple hours I untied and retied the block back up at the top as the placenta slowly worked it's way out of the doe. This placenta held on for nearly a day- very long for us and I don't like the doe having to deal with it that long. But we can't pull the placenta out or we risk damaging the future fertility of the doe. I will always check the afterbirth with a firm but gentle and slow downward pulling action to see if it will just let go and come out before I add weight. You never want to tear it or force it out. I'm continuing to give this doe oral and intravaginal HerBiotic to help her deal with any bacterial issues that could turn into bad infections. I'll do this for a week to ten days based on my observations on any potential discharge and her attitude (which so far is great). Milk wise and appetite wise this doe hasn't missed a beat! All products can be found at www.firmeadowllc.com
So just some thoughts and hopefully these will help you out! hankfully this has been our only hard birth this year to this point. We still have a few does spread out over the next few weeks for kidding.
Be Blessed with happy healthy kids and does!!!
Katherine MH, CR, CA, CEIT, DipHIr, QTP has extensive alternative training in Vitalistic (cause oriented) wellness,including a Master's Degree in Herbology and has a heart to share with you so that you, your family and your creatures may achieve abundant wellness.