NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Whats killing my sheep?  (Read 18920 times)

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Whats killing my sheep?
« on: September 24, 2015, 10:46:03 pm »
Rightio ;

An odd one for me at least, 2 dead sheep in one day, situation as follows;

All 50 animals due to be in this 15ac field present and find around 5pm, Around 9pm Text from sister tending her horse stating one ewelamb is stuck in the fence (head through netting horns catching).

Go release said lamb and double check all ok as this is the first time any of this lot of sheep had ever been stuck. All appears fine.

Check again about 10:30 am today, all fine, in fact a wonderfully easy check as the whole lot were sunbathing under the hedge so could count them and walk past.

Quick look in at 3pm, nothing untowards all sheep grazing away.
5:15 Same ewe lamb as yesterday head stuck in fence, whole flock 400 yards away, lamb bleating madly, go release and check her, and walk along the fence to what looks like a resting ewe - turns out to be a recently killed (still warm, eyes in etc) wether, neck broken, still fresh, So I now assume something has been in the field and killed this lamb, others ran away and the daft ewe got stuck in the fence again, wonder if something similar happened yesterday.

Look around and notice another black lump on the ground not with the rest of the animals or moving - go check, An its another wether, this time its been stripped to the bone from jaw to middle of the rib cage - just sekeletal remains, top of head still on an eyes still in (I use eyes as a good indicate of age as the crows have them out double quick round here - in both these cases they were taken by 6pm).

This wether was known well to me as it had unusual twinned horns (horns growing so close they merge) and was a friendly one and came hoping for food this morning.

They were killed and stripped down double fast - am I right to assume dogs? Or a dog kill and foxes scavenging the kill?

They could not of been dead for more than 2 hours, the un-eaten one less than an hour IMO due to being warm and no rigor mortis.

Otherwise I cant think of anything else? THe Kill is abit like a badger kill, but I'm not aware of badgers ever taking such mature animals?
Voss Electric Fence

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 10:55:21 pm »
Shocking sorry to hear it.

Porterlauren

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 10:56:08 pm »
What state was the killed and uneaten one in? Other than neck broken? I.e any wounds etc etc. also any wool pulled out, wool around field etc.

Any marks on bones of eaten one, and any bones displaced, moved, carried away etc, or skeleton just stripped of flesh?

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 10:57:10 pm »
So did you move them or preparing to move them?

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 11:24:19 pm »
Un-eaten one a few scratches on head and neck, neck broken, no obivous puncture wounds on neck, 4 horned and had blood on horn;

Am I ok to upload pictures of this on here? obivously one is rather graffic;

Bazzais - animals all moved to next field now, but they were due in this one for another 2 months.

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2015, 12:49:37 am »
These are both of them - about 30 mins after first found when I came back with barrow / sacks to remove them. In that time the mostly intact one had an eye pinched by the crows who had arrived.

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2015, 12:50:02 am »
and the second

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2015, 09:20:40 am »
That's tragic. We have a goat who traps her head in the fence quite regular and I so worry it will attract predators as she's a sitting target.
Not sure what kills yours but they ate a lot quickly.
When wev had dead sheep, crows have gone for the intestines rather than neck.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 09:38:02 am by shygirl »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2015, 09:35:32 am »
Badgers generally strip the skin - when you find inside-out skin, it's a good indication it was badgers.

The rib bones have been picked clean, not crunched - doesn't look like a dog has eaten it to me.  Looks more like a bird has been eating it.

What condition are they in?  Skinny or nicely plump? 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2015, 09:42:11 am »
No idea but very, very sorry to hear this. :hug:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2015, 09:46:44 am »
I meant to say that too - horrible thing to happen.   :bouquet:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2015, 10:03:09 am »
Very sorry for you, that is very upsetting. There is the possibility that neither died because of an attack but natural causes and that carrion just picked your first lamb clean so I would give the rest of the flock a good check.




Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2015, 10:28:12 am »
If the neck is broken then that would indicate not natural causes.  I would be thinking dog, especially as it's during the day; and birds have stripped it after the kill.

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2015, 10:37:07 am »
That's awful, sorry to hear  :-\ .   I would think it unusual for a badger or fox to take on a well grown sheep, they are more usually scavengers.  If the first dead lamb was still warm with a broken neck it might implicate dogs?  It would be my first thought.


I know that there is flystrike around at the mo (four of mine have been struck very quickly) but doesn't sound from your description that's the case  :-[
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Whats killing my sheep?
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2015, 11:14:15 am »
 I'm so sorry  :hug: :hug: it could be a wild massive cat, I would alert the local authorities about how they have been killed. For a carcase to be stripped that quickly it could have been killed by a pack of dogs, not foxes, but most likely a panther or two.Have you seen any panthers of big wild cats about?  Could you move them to another field? Have you got a gun? Maybe conceal yourself in bushes and watch the flock and  watch to see for anything suspicious.
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

 

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