Kids

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The spring round of kidding seems to be over on White Flint Farm. There are a few mamas who haven’t kidded, but from the looks of them they weren’t bred. Everyone else has given birth.

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As I’ve mentioned before, kid mortality can be very high in Boers. We’ve had years when it was as high as 50%. In that regard this season was extraordinary.  We had 23 births and 22 of them were alive. Only one required post-natal intervention (she was hypothermic) and she quickly recovered.

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Unfortunately it wasn’t all smooth sailing. We lost five kids to coyotes. I’ve been worried about that happening ever since our Great Pyr guard dog died, but we’ve been reluctant to replace him. Over the next few years we had no trouble, so I quit worrying so much about it. The timing of their return causes me to believe that our horse Rowan (who died this winter) must have been keeping them away. Once we realized what was happening I’ve solved the problem (temporarily) by locking the kids in the barn at night. We’re working on other solutions too.

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The perpetrator. My enemy.

But, returning to the bright side, we now have 17 healthy happy and playful kids in our main pasture–always a joy to see.

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26 comments on “Kids

  1. shoreacres says:

    Those kids are delightful. Too bad about the coyotes, but interesting how changes in the environment can allow them to come back so quickly. I haven’t seen one in my neighborhood for quite some time now, but I haven’t seen any stray cats, either. Once the cats start reappearing, I suspect the coyotes will follow. Just because I don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t right there on the fringes, waiting.

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    • Bill says:

      They’re shy and cautious around humans, so tough to see. I saw one lurking around the coop a couple of days ago and it was the first one I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. We hear them yipping and howling at night so we know they’re out there. This time of year the mamas are looking for small game to carry back to their pups. I think that’s what’s happening with us. As long as the kids are locked up at night they’re safe. Long-term we need a better solution.

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  2. Ed says:

    Up here in Iowa, we have lots of coyotes. But we don’t have lots of goats or sheep so I never really hear about them being a problem. Mostly we have cattle and a calf is probably too big for most coyotes and hogs but they are in protected environments for the most part. I do notice our rabbit population has been on the decline as the coyote population increases.

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve never heard of coyotes bothering calves here either. We’ve never had them attack an adult goat. They prefer kids, fawns, and chickens. But I’ve heard that in packs they will attack and kill large animals, like cattle and adult deer. There are pictures/videos of that on the net. But clearly it’s smaller animals that are in the most danger.

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      • Pushed hard enough to find alternate food sources, coyotes will indeed come after your youngest ungulates. It was several years ago now, but our neighbour had calves taken right out of the barnyard… ):):

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  3. BeeHappee says:

    Wow you fed those coyotes well!! Breaks my heart thinking of those mama goats once their kid is suddenly gone. Coyotes howl here so loud every night. I almost miss their howls when I don’t hear them.
    Best of luck with the solution.

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    • Bill says:

      It varies with the personality of the mother. Some seem indifferent when they lose a kid. Others mourn pitifully for days. The latter are heartbreaking.

      The way I see it is that when we domesticate animals we’re entering into a social contract with them. Part of our responsibility is seeing that they are kept safe from predators. So this is on me and I feel very badly about it. I shouldn’t have waited for this to happen before doing something to prevent it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Joanna says:

    Oh boy, sorry to hear about the losses. Glad you have some happy, healthy kids though. I worry about the carnivores this year a bit, because we have a reduced wild boar (wild hogs) population due to disease and I wonder what they will be feeding on instead of little piglets.

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  5. Sorry to hear of the losses. We have big coyote problems here (now most of our coyotes are part wolf, calling them coy dogs, I think). We have a large mini donkey and we did have a guard llama. I was worried after the llama died, but I think the donkey really helps. Good luck!

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  6. Phuong says:

    I’ve heard of llamas being​ used as guard animals, it’s very interesting that your horse was doing the same for your herd. The kids are so cute and inquisitive, hopefully you can work something out soon.

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    • Bill says:

      I never thought of the horse as a guard animal, but looking back at it now I can see than no coyote would want to tangle with him. My guess is that he was keeping them away.

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  7. Time for another Guardian?

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  8. The coyotes came through here a while ago and played havoc on the wild turkeys. But they also ate the ground squirrels, which was a good thing. They use llamas around here to keep the coyotes out. –Curt

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    • Bill says:

      Some use llamas here, but donkeys and dogs are a better option in my opinion. Having said that, I wish we had a llama in our pasture last week.

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      • Donkeys… haven’t heard of that. And yes, I expect you would have liked having someone around to give the coyotes the boot when they went after your kids. –Curt

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  9. Scott says:

    Around here, there’s no bag limit, no season, no unlawful hunting methods for coyotes. Seems savage, but their numbers are huge and growing… Call em in, spotlight em, hit em with that .223.
    Cute kids, cute mamas there, you’re really making my wife want goats!

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    • Bill says:

      Open season year round here too. That’s part of the defense of course. I have a friend who’s a skilled trapper coming over tomorrow too.

      If you want some of these goats, I’d be happy to help you out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scott says:

        Good luck with the trapper.
        Oh Gracious. Don’t tempt her…
        Honestly, I thought of you whenever we are really in the market for goats, but it’s a lot of travel… I’m between Lou and Lex KY. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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