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Need Advise - lost 3 goats to dogs


The Good Shepherd
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:(

 

Got up this morning as usual from a very quiet night! Right off the bat I notice my 3 baby nubians laying and not moving :o

 

After it got light enough to see it became clear that a dog or two must have gotten in their pen sometime between 10 last night and 5:30 this morning.This is the first time I lost anybody to an attack. I am very upset by this, They were in my arena pen less the a stonethrow from my house. One poor guy was partially dragged under the cattlepanel. 1 was still breathing very faintly, Hubby had to do the kind thing. All 3 had bitmarks on them!

The rest of my flock (Seven 8 month old Boars, 5 angora goats and about 15 sheep) was on the another side of my arena with my old horse. They were very shaken and nervous but noone was harmed!

As I sit here at work I am trying to figure out what to do next! Our neighbor suggested to put everyone minus the horse in my haybarn overnight from now on! My thinking is to put a very, very secure gate on my 3 sided lean-to.

But I would rather have them out in my paddock then locked up every night!

Should I consider some sort of Guard Animal like a donkey or a Llama. Do they really work? I have heard once a dog knows where to go they will come back?

Help :(

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I'm so sorry that happened. Such a horrible thing to witness or to find the aftermass.

 

Is there a reason you can't get an LGD? Was the other stock accessible to the dogs? Do you think the old horse had something to do with protecting the others?

 

I've had a llama and he was a wonderful watch over my stock kinda guy but without his LGD's he couldn't have done enough to keep my sheep safe. Maybe he wasn't a good guard llama but I think they are limited as to what they can really do.

 

I have a horse here that is very protective of her sheep. I don't let my dogs go out to work them unless I put her up. I'm not afraid of much but she means business. She goes after my strongest of dogs. But lets the LGD hang with the flock. So she does know the difference.

 

I have no exp. with guard donkeys but hear they are pretty good, if anything like this horse she's got the llama beat hooves down.

 

I think for now I would be putting them in the barn till you get things figured out.

 

I'm so sorry you and your animals had to go through that. Good luck with finding the right soloution.

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:(

 

Got up this morning as usual from a very quiet night! Right off the bat I notice my 3 baby nubians laying and not moving :o

 

After it got light enough to see it became clear that a dog or two must have gotten in their pen sometime between 10 last night and 5:30 this morning.This is the first time I lost anybody to an attack. I am very upset by this, They were in my arena pen less the a stonethrow from my house. One poor guy was partially dragged under the cattlepanel. 1 was still breathing very faintly, Hubby had to do the kind thing. All 3 had bitmarks on them!

The rest of my flock (Seven 8 month old Boars, 5 angora goats and about 15 sheep) was on the another side of my arena with my old horse. They were very shaken and nervous but noone was harmed!

As I sit here at work I am trying to figure out what to do next! Our neighbor suggested to put everyone minus the horse in my haybarn overnight from now on! My thinking is to put a very, very secure gate on my 3 sided lean-to.

But I would rather have them out in my paddock then locked up every night!

Should I consider some sort of Guard Animal like a donkey or a Llama. Do they really work? I have heard once a dog knows where to go they will come back?

Help :(

 

 

Leave your stock with the horse. They seem to be comfortable with the horse and the horse will protect them from pretty well anything. I have used only a horse for a guardian for 18 years now and have never lost an animal. And we live in a very populated sub division with dogs running loose all over the place. It is very necessary to get the horse and the sheep used to each other before depending on the horse to guard but it doesn't take long. Bob Stephens

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We also live in a sub division, we did have loose dogs in the past but they never bothered us! a week ago my neighbor put out an animal trap because someone is eating his dogs food (poor little schnauzer mix tied up on his breezeway, he has caught 3 or 4 dogs, cats racoons). Could that have something to do with it? Also he has 4 grown sheep and a fence that is easier to get through then mine. His 2 horses are in an open corral, but can not run with his sheep!Nobody bothered hias sheep!

So now that got me wondering why the dog(s) decided to go after my 3 penned up little goats. I am thinking because they where by themselves and small.

 

You might be right about the horse even so she is very very gentle, but did get upset with my shearer when he snagged a lamb to band last spring (Ears back and a mean look).

 

I am just shocked that the dogs got this brazen, because my entire propery is 1.3 acres. From my back door to my gate is maybe 50-60 yards. I had my Dogs in the house with me, nobody barked or raised a fuss.

 

This is not what I needed a week before Christmas. And the 3 Amigos, as I called them, where coming along really well as far as herding.

 

This really really hurts :(

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Donkeys are more efficient than lamas, I'm told, and the sheep ranchers in Nevada use donkeys to good effect. They'll chase down and stomp and/or bite a coyote. But ... I don't know if just any random pet donkey would do the job, or if they have to be ranch-raised and live with sheep from youth.

 

If your horse doesn't live in the same paddock with the sheep and goats already, I'd second what Bob says. Let them spend time together under supervision, (just make sure the horse gets his feed off to one side, so he doesn't feel the need to compete for food) and then you may have your own good sheep guardian.

 

If the horse was already there with them at the time of the attack, though, then I'm not sure what to say. Maybe look into a donkey? So very sad for your misfortune. What an awful thing. :(

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Thank you everyone

 

To clarify, my back acre is split down the middle with a fence (T-posts and 4 foot horsefence. The poor goat babies where on the "arena" side in my "Repen" pen which is constructed out of 4 foot cattlepanels and sits in a corner with 1 side in my cross fenced yard. So the pen is actually within a fenced arena!

The rest of the "Gang" including the horse, are loose in the other half which also has my roundpen in it. So the horse and the sheep and goats have the run of the other 1/2 acre day and night. I do have a small "feeding Corral" for the horse where she goes to eat or when we actually herd, but other then that they are loose together.

 

It is pretty brazen for a dog to go through 2 fences and close to a house to get to 3 baby goats!

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Claudia I am really sorry. This happened to my friend last year. Usually if there are just lots of bites & the animals have been run to death then it is the work of pet dogs. If they had been eaten or dragged off then I might be more suspicious of coyotes or hungry strays.

 

In my friend's case the dogs live up the street & while we were there helping clean up the living victims & take away the dead she went to their house with animal services & forced them to come look at the what their pets had done to her sheep. They were very upset- so much so that they turned the dogs over to animal control. I don't think they ever paid a dime to reimburse her for her stock or for the vet care the injured required.

 

I am so sorry. :(

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Thanks for the inside Cindy

 

The babies where in a 16x16 pen. One of them was dragged half way under the cattlpanel. The other 2 where in the middl. The thing that surprised me was that there was really no blood on the ground, but from what I saw 2 had neck bites.

So I don't think they where "Run" to death but rather bitten if that makes sense.

Hubby did call Animal Control and is getting a large trap that we will set up tonight!

he is more upset then I am because he had to dispatch one of the goats

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I concur with others that have recommended a donkey vs. a llama. I know llamas and not all are good guardians. The ones that are good guardians have a very limited repertoire of 'defensive moves' since they have no hooves and they can not really bite effectively since they only have bottom teeth in the front of their mouth. They only have a soft palate in the front, top. They can do a mean pinch, but that is about it. They protect with their size and stomping.

 

I know several farmers that keep donkeys with their herds and it has effectively stopped marauders. My neighbor runs cattle, and the donkey stopped the calf loss. He had problems with coyotes.

 

Jovi

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It sounds to me that your property is to small for a LGD. They tend to roam if possible and might get in trouble contained in such a small area for long periods of time.

 

I have one lgd and 2 horses. I don't really worry bout the lgd, she is friendly to anything that doesn't mean her family harm. That is the way I've raised all my lgd's but I might have been lucky that they all turned out that way. I have seen others where they had to be put up if other dogs were working their sheep.

 

I didn't go about training my lgd's except to have manners around humans and discouraged any sort of "playing" with the stock. I still keep an eye on Lily now, as she is still a youngester (about 2) But a stern NO will stop her usually. If not I will walk her down and she knows it's not a good thing. A good LGD is born to their job just like a good stockdog. Yes there is some trianing but it's just in them to protect their family.

 

I really think if you can pen your stock up with your horse that might be enough to protect them. You mentioned your horse is an old girl. How old is old and is she still capable of defending herself along with her friends. That would be my only worry.

 

Don't know if it really helps but I have motion lights set up at my gates that are by the house. They come on if things pass. They are aimed low enough that dogs will set them off. I am alerted that something is out there if I see them coming on. They will shine into the smaller paddocks but are not set off by movement in them.

 

Again, sorry for your losses and sorry your DH had to help end the suffering. That's a hard thing to do.

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Hi Claudia,

 

I see lots of folks are recommending a donkey...I really have no experience but I will say that recently someone posted on the Sheepdog L about their donkey that killed several sheep. This was an experienced stock person & it sounded like it was pretty awful when it happened. Just FYI so you can make sure you get a good donkey & not just a random donkey needing a home. Also, I have also heard they are very noisy. Not sure if that would be a problem but I think you said you were in a subdivision.

 

Good luck,

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Cindy has a point. I read that same email and it was really tragic, so one should suppose that not just any donkey would do. Plus if they *do* pose a risk to lambs, that would be no help.

 

For right now, probably penning your sheep and goats in the barn at night would at least ease your mind. Maybe you could try hot-wiring the fence, if that's feasible? I only keep half a dozen sheep at our place for 2 or 3 months each summer, simply as weed control, but I have to lock mine up at night, due to coyotes.

 

Again, I am so very sorry. :(

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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I have a donkey with mine and she is very protective of her sheep. I got her from someone who had donkeys running with cattle. Her recommendation was to get a Jenny only. Jacks would sometimes be rough with the livestock if there were no other donkeys around.

 

She lets me in with the sheep with one dog, but follows us wherever we go. She will even fence fight the dogs when I leave them on the other side of the gate, and has done damage to my husbands shepherds when he let them get too close. She has not been too loud, but she does call when it's feeding time. My biggest problem with her has been that she used to steal lambs if she got the chance; she would actively chase away the momma sheep. She has outgrown that thankfully.

 

As with any other type of livestock guardian they have to be watched until trustworthy. You don't just throw them in and expect them to be perfect.

Cindy

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Three goats in a 16 X 16 pen are ducks in a barrel for anything that wants them. Once an attack of that nature was underway, no guardian animal could have stopped it, regardless of species. So what you would have needed was a deterrent, and for my money, a dog is the best at keeping other canids away. But as others have said, your place sounds pretty small, and a guard dog might create as many problems as it solves.

 

The first thing you need to do is figure out how the predator got in and fix that. If there's a gate with open bars or that hangs high enough off the ground to slide a grapefruit under, fix that. Gates are usually the weak point. If something was dragged under a cattle panel, then I think you know where your predator got in and out: fill that hole.

 

Bites at the base of the skull are the work of a skilled predator. Stray dogs usually rip at the hindquarters and tails. Coyotes usually don't kill more than they will eat, but in such a small area it may have just gotten excited and taken advantage of the opportunity.

 

I really don't think that a guard animal is the answer to your problems. Fixing fences keeping all your animals in one group with the horse will probably be a better answer. Predator management is all about increasing the opportunity cost for the attacker. By leaving your goats in a small pen by themselves, you created a low-risk opportunity for something -- and I suspect a coyote -- to come in after a meal. Unless you had had a guard animal with those three goats that night, I doubt it would have made much difference, other than perhaps a dog barking or a donkey braying would have woken you up. But it also would have woken up the whole neighborhood. (I'm assuming that with less than 2 acres, you have neighbors nearby.) Before you know it, you'd have had neighbor problems which can be worse than predator problems.

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Same point as Bill's...check your fences and if possible add electric at the outside bottom and at the top; IN that small a neighbourhood, a guardian animal, other than a llama will cause problems with the neighbour...HOT HOT HOT electric fences in your instance might be more efficient combined with confinement at night

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Donkeys are awesome guard animals and smarter than horses. Mules are even better. They will grab a dog (or lion for that matter) and it will not live to see another aggressive day. Open range horses are also excellent. Mine will go after any dog that looks aggressive even if I'm on him. If I see a dog barking I better just hang on. Be sure you get donkeys that know sheep and goats or pen them separately, but near each other for some time. My neighbor got a donkey to guard his sheep once. It looked at the sheep and got so scared it jumped the cattle guard and went home.

 

So sorry for your loss. I always think about raising sheep for wool, but I don't trust the lions, coyotes and dogs here. My horses might or might not guard them. Everyone I know puts all their small stock in at night. This creates a whole new set of chores every day. I don't know how any of this goes with neighbors. I would get a video set up and figure out what is going on. You will see what did it if you put the small stock in the barn.

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My neighbor leaves his sheep out with the horses and 2 milk cows. He hasn't lost any lately. We do have coyotes and lions in our area. Seems to work for him. Our land is fenced and the sheep either sleep in the barn or near the house. We haven't yet lost any sheep or goats.

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Thank you everyone for the advise :).

 

We have figured out that the dog (dogs) got in by digging/crawling under my outermost fence which is a typical 6 foot chainlink fence, Its just that since it encloses my yard. Now my back 1 acre (where the critters are) is reenforced with cowpanels/no climb horse fence.

As best as we can tell after getting the yard the dog jumped the cattlepanel to get in with the Babies.

 

My Herding Instructor pretty well said that a LGD would create more problems then it would fix probably since I have any a "Measly" 1.3 acres. So suggested to really beef up the fence, put RR Ties along the bottom and Hotwire across the top.

I am also checking into a guard donkey now.

I am grateful to all of you for your suggestions!

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