We've been lucky, in the past the coyotes haven't been a problem for us but they've been testing my boundaries recently. A few weeks ago I noticed a hole dug under our pastures perimeter fence and was confident it was one of our neighbors dogs. Since most our neighbors walk their dogs off leash up and down the road, the dogs like to get right up to my fence and smell the livestock. It really grinds my gears! Anyways, shortly after noticing the breech under the fence one of our chickens, Toast went missing. Again I made an assumption, since I saved one of our chickens (Tony) from the talons of a Coopers Hawk I was sure it came back for her. Shortly after she went missing, of course we found an additional hole dug under our pasture fence with toast feathers in it. Now it was confirmed, not a dogs work. There's more though, in fact a rather long but funny story if you use your imagination.
Late, too late one night I finally got in bed, I had just reached the border of not awake but not asleep. Out of a dead silence came a sharp cackling laugh. My eyes were open before I could think. My heart was racing, feeling like my fingers were crossed I was hoping it was just an owl on my roof being creepy. A few seconds went by before it started again, except there wasn't any denying it this time, coyote. Right at my front door. I know this because it took a bottle out of my recycle bucket and used it as a chew toy. Worried there was more than one, or that it called its friends I ran outside but didn't get a visual. Maybe I'm more paranoid than I used to be because a fellow Goater lost 3 of her kids this year to coyotes, in city limits of a different state.
When I checked on the goats they were more spooked than I've ever seen them. Confirming they were all there, and unharmed I started back to get my dog from inside, when I saw the eyes reflect from my headlamp. Maybe I had some sleep deprivation, I'm not sure but my first thought was, be fierce! So I ran at the coyote, arms stretched in front of me, and grunting/growling at the animal. By the time I got to my gate it was long gone, but I was angry so I kicked some rocks and stomped the ground. Alright, back up and use your imagination. I was wearing my fluffy maroon robe, running and growling like a zombie at approximately midnight. In a perfect world that would be enough to scare any thing away! I'm glad my neighbors were asleep...
After my dog and I did a perimeter sweep, gave the goats some love, and told the coyote, "calling his friends here was a death wish," we went inside and laid down. Not 5 minutes after I pulled the covers up I heard a slam against my goat fence, hard enough to keep it bouncing so I ran outside headlamp (I put it on upside down), gun, no robe, no shoes. When I reached the goats I realized they were all fine and it was a false alarm. Either some one got shocked real good, headbutted by someone else into the fence, or they spooked and tried to get out I won't ever know but it hasn't happened before which is curious. At this point I've been up from 11:40pm to 1:40am because of this single coyote outside my door. I go wandering around the yard, checking the perimeter, continued to make death threats to the coyote and his family before heading back inside to get some sleep.
Convinced its going to happen again I just sat in bed for 20 minutes before laying down, pulling the covers up felt like a dream come true I was so exhausted. One more time I was pulled out of bed, this time by more than one coyote singing their laughing howls. It was a get together, and it was too close for comfort. I ran outside and as soon as I slammed my door the "laughing" stopped. I stormed over to the goats, they were spooked and hiding. I grabbed my dog and we went walking up and down the road, all around my yard, again making death threats, I was pretty resentful at this point. I guess my thought was trying to make the coyotes aware of my presence. After this I slept with my window open so I could hear any sort of panic or alarm going on out there, at 3:45am I pulled the covers up and fell asleep shortly there after.
It isn't like we don't have quality fencing, but since I saw the devastation of another woman who loves her goats as deeply as I do, I have an increased fear about coyotes taking the lives of my goats and chickens. I found a promising product called Foxlights that I'm gonna try as a deterrent. Truth is for me, my goats are as loved as my dog. The give me the same connection as my dog and have showed they can be just as loyal. We will be looking into ways of enhancing our fencing to provide better protection against predators. I rather have the coyotes just go somewhere else or eat the bunnies but if they continue to see this property as fertile hunting grounds some more drastic measures will be taken.