I believe we now have a group of coyotes in need of psychiatric care because of an accidental involvement with Lee, 80 does, and three livestock guard dogs. Honest, Lee didnít mean to do it. It just happened.
It all started back in 2000 before it came to a boiling point last week. One day in 2000 we noticed that our herd of goats refused to go out to pasture to eat. They stood against the closest fence to the house and stayed there, refusing to go eat, drink, or even walk out the 100 yards to their barn. And, they stayed on alert.
That night they still were there, close to the house and the security light. Then, we heard it, coyotes howling. We had never heard coyotes in our area before, until that night. You would have thought you were out in the old West, all the yipping that was going on.
We started having to go out with the herd during the day so they could eat and then we had to dash out at night to fire a gun to keep the coyotes back from our cowering herd. The rumor going around was that a government agency had brought coyotes into Ohio to help control the deer population and they then swam the Ohio River to get to WV. Whatever happened, coyotes were here. And, they were smart. They stayed just out of range of the gun.
Desperate, we went and bought two six month old Anatolian/Maremma cross pups for goat protection. Sometimes our young livestock guard dogs showed unbelievable giftedness with our goats in protecting them, and sometimes they acted like pure dumb-dumbs and you had to monitor them. Whatever, it worked, the coyotes backed off and howled on the hills above the farm, but didnít get near the livestock guard dogs and their goats. And, by the time the LGDs (livestock guard dogs) turned two, they were treasures of pure gold in protecting the goats. They had finally grown out of some puppy behaviors (with a little help from us teaching them the word ďNo!Ē) and they took excellent care of their goats.
Now, that brings us to last week. Lee decided to take the goats to the back of our farm to let them eat some lush brush. Normally the goats arenít allowed back there after we saw a bear and itís fenced off from them. Lee picked up his chain saw to cut down a few small trees in that area for them to also munch on.
So, there they went, that brave little band of 80 does, Lee, and three livestock guard dogs. We had added a new dog a year ago since our original ones were getting close to nine. Sheís a year old now and a very gifted and sometimes dumb-dumb LGD that is learning from the older dogs.
When they got to the back of the place, Lee and the dogs and goats were slowly working their way up a hill when Lee heard a bunch of coyotes yelping close at hand. Looking up he saw four or five coyote pups, around five to six months old, having a barking fit because he was invading their territory.
Suddenly, our male livestock guard dog took off after a mature coyote that had appeared to the far side of the pups. Our dog ignored the pups and went after the brains of the coyote outfit, probably the mom. The pups retreated quickly and more coyote barking joined in up above the hill.
The part of the hill that our male dog had run up was at least thirty feet of very steep hill climbing. The two female livestock guard dogs stayed back with the goats, protecting them. Lee got worried over our male, that a bunch of coyotes would take him down, so he dropped his chain saw he was carrying, and charged up the hill after our male dog.
Well, the goats werenít going to have that. They always followed Lee when he went out cutting and no way was he going to get out of their sight. All eighty does charged after Lee, with the two dogs doing their best to go along and protect at the same time.
So, with a great deal of racket, Lee, eighty does, and two livestock guard dogs roared up that steep hill and as they came over the top, those coyote pups saw them and thought the world had indeed come to an end. They took off again with Lee, eighty does, and two big dogs hot on their trail.
Lee stopped, concerned he was taking the goats into even more serious trouble, plus if it had been me Iíd have to stop and catch my breath before I passed out after that climb. Looking around, Lee finally spotted our big male livestock guard dog coming back, looking very pleased with himself for chasing a menace away from his goats, and probably wondering why on earth the goats were this far up the hill in coyote territory.
The coyote pups were still yelping as they continued running away. I wonder if they will ever be able to chase goats now after having such a scare.. I can see them explaining to other coyotes why they simply canít chase goats. All because that one day a giant appeared with at least a thousand head of goats and 100 livestock guard dogs, and one particular hound from Hades that chased their mother out of the county.
But, the horrible thundering sound the hooves of the goats made, and their eyes of fire, chasing them away from their beloved coyote home, no, they could never again look a goat in the eye again. Things had changed. The worm had turned. The goats now hunted coyotes.