Tuesday, 8 October 2013


..is where I left  off on my last blog.

As I was mooching around and snapping the odd random photo on the ranch,
I looked up to see a coyote laying on a bale.
Nothing really unusual,
as  the coyotes lay on the bales watching what we do quite often.

What did rather surprise me is that this coyote was laying on a bale,
in the middle of the pasture where the sheep were grazing!

Now, just because we do not kill,  shoot, hunt, trap, snare any predators on our place,
it does not mean that we have to tolerate bad behaviour on the part of the predators.
I want to co-exist, but they do need to respect my sheep's personal space.
And, this  intrusion is a little too close for comfort.

Now, our ewes have pretty much the run of the back half of our place.
They are roaming around about 320 acres of heavy bush and some pastures  eating off the second cut alfalfa hay before winter sets in.
This area is thick with predators.

The ewes
 It is not that we don't have enough guardian dogs out there,
the problem is more of a  logistical nature.

We have 7 active sarplaninac guardian dogs,
however here is what I am dealing with:
Fena is out of action because of her pups.
Katcha and Shadow have been in with the ewes but that needs to change.. ( see below)
Katcha and Lucy dislike each other, they like to fight at times.
Vuk and Lucy are in with the lambs.
Mali is in with the rams.
Beli was not in with anyone,
 as he and Vuk cannot be close to each other.
They will make every attempt at killing each other if given the opportunity.
I generally like to have a pasture of two separating these two!
Shadow  and Mali are not yet mature enough for the big jobs,
and Mali is going through some "puberty"  issues that need working on.
To top it all off Katcha is in season and will need to be moved away from the boys.

So, in order to thwart any intentions of the coyotes making an easy meal of our ewes,
 I needed to add in some proverbial "BIG GUNS".
That means rearranging the dogs to be more effective.
So, Katcha moved out because of her impending heat, she is in with the rams.
( We want the boy's minds to stay on the job at hand).
Mali is in another group of rams, as she still needs a little supervision.
Vuk was moved to another alfalfa pasture with "his couple hundred lambs"
Fena was releived of her motherhood duties to come and join the team.
Lucy was taken from the partnership with Vuk, and moved to the ewes.
Beli was added in.
Shadow stayed where he was.

The A- Team is now Beli, Fena, Lucy and Shadow.
Let me introduce each of these dogs.
From left to right: Lucy, Fena, Beli and Shadow (keeping a respectful distance from Beli)

Beli is our BWD ( Big White Dog).

He is an active coyote chaser,
he is the oldest adult male here, he was been in some skirmishes and knows the drill.
He likes to patrol, checks in with the ewes and is  the "muscle" in this mix.
Fena, is the spotter, the sniper.

She is the most experienced female on this place.
She can spot a coyote a mile away, she knows exactly where the coyotes hang out,
 what their routes are and is constantly watching out for them.
Plotting and planninng.
Very intelligent, reliable, calm and intuitive.

She is  the one to warn of danger,
when she barks, the others pay attention!
She uses this sometimes as a distraction, when another dog has a nice bone and she wants it,
she will walk off, peer into the bush, growl and warn,
the others come running and she sneaks back to get the bone.
I regard her very much as the brains of this security department.

Then we have Lucy, the daughter of Fena and Beli.

Another outstanding dog, she is alert, willing, sharp, attentive.
She knows the drill, gets along with most of the other dogs (except for Katcha).
A great, reliable worker.
She is next in line for the top dog position here.
Finally, we have Shadow.
What must I say?

He is still a bit immature,
does not know the ways of Wile E Coyote yet.
This is his opportunity to wake up..

to learn, to shine..

Every night the all the sheep and lambs are night corralled,
this makes  the work for the dogs easier,
and gives me more peace of mind.
By night corralling,
the chance of being predated on is reduced
by 79-94% (according to scientiests in Europe)
add in some good dogs and  a few electric fences
and, the odds are stacked in favour of  the sheep.

Since, I have readjusted things on our place,
I have not seen a coyote on a bale for the last few days.
More dog power,
a management adjustment and things are back to being orderly.

A bit more of this..

And, it was time to move on for this coyote..


  1. What a wonderful post, thank you! I love your process here. You see a coyote, a bit too close for comfort, but instead of blowing it away you make decisions about how to rearrange your dogs so they protect the flock, without killing the coyote. I so admire your way of thinking and hope it will spread to more and more ranchers.

  2. I have found that even though we have a very small farm that is fully fenced, the local coyotes and foxes (we have poultry) seem to know exactly where and how our dogs are working. No surprise - it's kind of their job to know, and when defenses are down or areas are vulnerable, it doesn't take more than a day or two before the predators have changed their own tactics to match the new opportunities.


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