"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Imperfect Promises of People

~The night of the ' Big Storm That Wasn't', I went to bed so very thankful and happy for the very nice snow fall that was unaccompanied by the fearful and ferocious winds the forecasters assured us were coming. I slept peacefully only to be awakened by the sound of coyote songs and yips coming from right under our bedroom window. I woke Hubby up , just to listen. I assured him he did not need to go outside and check up on things because all our animals were safely penned up. I heard no sounds of distress coming from any of our animals, and believe me, we can hear all our animals from our bedroom.
Look at my lovely ducks in the picture below. I had 12 ducks. I now have 2 ducks, and I am very upset with myself. I made a promise to my ducks to keep them safe. We made a pen for them we thought would do the trick. All I had to do was pen them up every night...and as I was feeding them I assured them they HAD to stay in the pen for their own good. The day after the storm we noticed something did not look right at the duck pen, but the snow made it hard for us to see the reason
~Look at these tracks in the snow. They are coyote tracks. The coyotes had jumped on top of the netting covering the duck pen and collapsed it, and then must have set about to capture and devour EVERY duck. The little duck footprints were everywhere, under our window, up our road, ON the ice, at our back gate....the poor little ducks had run for their lives, ducks don't fly in the dark, especially domestic ducks. Can you see the blood spot above? It has been a long time since I was so upset about the death of my ducks, I have grown a little hard and calloused about duck death since we lose so many every year...I can't be crying over them , but there is something so very , very sad about seeing the frantic waddling footprints and then a splash of red on the snow and no more footprints...and to see this drama several times over written in the snow ALL around our home, up our driveway and our private road.
~Look at the coyote footprints."The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion the horse, how he shall take his prey." William Blake
~This blood spot is where a duck was taken as he fled to the pond for safety, but alas, our pond is solid ice and the coyotes picked the ducks off with ease. "Even a wolf will not stay where sounds no bleat to offer hope of prey." Greek Proverb
~What I do not understand is why the ducks did not quack, or make a lot of noise. Usually the quacking of the ducks wakes us, in the past their quacking has alerted us to raccoons and coyotes, and dogs after them....and we have been able to save the ducks. But I was awake and heard only coyotes. The coyotes had chased the ducks right up against the house. They were so bold as to leave their scat everywhere, our driveway, our road, our yard! Our dogs did not make a peep, even our outside dogs who HAD to know what was going on. The Mama dog Sienna was with her pups in their snug shed with a heat lamp ( enclosed in a livestock panel fence) and had to have also heard the ducks we eventually found huddled right up against the shed. All around the ducks were coyote footprints, which means the coyotes could also have picked off a litter of puppies if Mama was not there. But why didn't Sienna bark ? Why didn't the big black dog on the back porch bark ? We are a bit concerned around here.The coyotes are TOO bold. My grandchildren saw them on our pond and our road just the other day, in full view. The coyotes had come back again after their big kill. Our friends, Lanny and Dirt have had some big losses too, and I will let Lanny tell their tale, and hopefully a success story in a little coyote control.But Dirt and Lanny's loss has us concerned about lambing time , and coyote watch will more diligent this year . ~The two surviving ducks are safe in a shed with some chickens. The flying duck (above ) is one of my 2 survivors. We have plans to raise another flock of ducks, and plans for a new and improved duck house, but I am still sad, and very mad at myself. I made a promise I found I could not keep. But that is the way of man,or woman, isn't it ? I am thankful there is ONE who can and does keep promises. I am sorry ducks.
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering , for He who promised is faithful;" Hebrews 10:28
NOTE: The coyotes are hunting in packs around here. We could tell there had been at least 4 coyotes here that night, and Dirt and Lanny had a yearling ram lamb ( and their Suffolk ram lambs are bigger than my full grown Jacobs)taken down and killed by a pack of coyotes.

14 comments:

LindaSueBuhl said...

For those of us who are keepers of animals this is a disturbing story - we rely on certain safeguards and trust in them. As you say - there is only ONE who is completely trustworthy. It seems we would be able to protect the creatures He has put in our care, but as you witness here we all have losses each year. Christmas Eve we were out in front saying goodbye to our guests and heard a pack of coyotes across the road and very vocal (as if they were in the kill or chase) DH fired off a gun hoping the noise would scare them off. (they were behind someone else's place so we didn't go over there) In our county, dogs and coyotes have produced offspring (I didn't think this possible but our Veterinarian assures us it is common here) so the coydogs are both bolder and more vicious than pure coyotes. I'm too wordy - sorry - this hits home because we are also about to begin the baby season. Again - I'm sorry for the sad and violent loss of your ducks - is this where I should say "to everything there is a season"? Seems some seasons are crueler than others.

Mildred said...

So very sorry for your heartache Kathy.

Toni said...

Sorry, Kathy, considered yourself hugged

Wilson Clan said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your ducks, Kathy. :(

noble pig said...

I am so sorry, I would be devastated as well. Time for eight foot fences, no? I remember when the coyotes carried off my cat and the blood stains left behind...it killed me and i could not get over thinking she suffered. I'm really sorry.

Kathleen from Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Oh,Kathy, my heart goes out to you. I know how you feel when you lose these lovely birds to predators especially when you work hard at protecting them. I am so sorry, blessings, Kathleen

Lanny said...

I had a lot to say but as it is Kathy's blog I will refrain from saying what I had to say because I recognize that what I have to say may be rather incendiary for some folks. I have spoken strongly in past posts of mine about the situtation we have found ourselves in in our lovely state of Washington and I may find myself restating all of it and more again, soon. (or one of my girls will). For now I am trying to find Dirt a night vision scope for his rifle as the coyotes here have learned his current stake out routine.

Daisy said...

Oh, Kathy, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your ducks. This is very sad, and I can feel your heartbreak from here. I would be frightened to live where such predators are so close and so bold. I can't do anything to make the coyotes disappear, but am sending you a hug. I wish there were more I could do to comfort you. You can't blame yourself for what happened. You thought the ducks were safe in the pen. Why the ducks made no noise is a puzzle, but even had you heard them, you may not have been able to reach them in time to save them. The coyotes are just acting the way coyotes act. The way of nature can be very cruel sometimes, it seems.

Pamela said...

Oh Kathy, I am so very sorry. Your words and especially the pictures were so heartbreaking. To be able to trace out what happened from the tracks and bloodstains must have been sheer torment for you. But Why Oh Why didn't your precious ducks call out?

What a horrid morning you must have had. Please know you are in my thoughts.

Megan said...

So sad! Thanks for the pictures of the tracks though--now I am pretty sure it was a coyote lurking our OUR backyard last week, rather than a fox or a neighbor's dog (who are usually well contained anyway). Makes me glad the only thing to hunt around here are the other wild animals! I didn't see any blood though, so I'm assuming the rabbits that live under our deck are all safe. Darn. ;-)

kenleighacres said...

Oh Kathy, I am so sorry to hear about your ducks. That is so distressing, especially when you feel like you have taken every precaution and that all of your creatures are safe and sound. I take losses so personally.

Sandra said...

Oh my goodness. I am SO sorry; it's always terribly hard to lose one placed in our stewardship. I just bought a rifle and have every intention of using it to protect my animals from predators.

KathyB. said...

I almost did not post this because I am still so angry about the loss of my ducks this way!

Linda Sue, yes ! The boldness is what is a bit scary..and we have to see them and HAVE a gun at hand to take care of them. The loss of Dirt and Lanny's ram ( BIG ) lamb is disturbing...they live just across the hi-way from us. We can easily walk to their home.And this is lambing season and apparently coyote season! I think the cougars can't be far behind.

Toni, Mildred, Wilson Clan, Kathleen,Pamela,thank-you for your sympathy and 'hugs'. I really thought I was beyond tears for my poultry, but the desperate flight for life written graphically in the snow just broke my heart.

Noble Pig...oh, to see the evidence of your cat's death...that is so sad, and makes you mad doesn't it? I put my cats in for the night. I used to think they were safe on the porch, but after seeing the coyote footprints so close, I know the cats are NOT safe there either!

Lanny, chances are that if Dirt gets the coyotes at your place, he has taken care of our problem too !You know if the coyotes are this bold, the cougars are going to be a problem too.....and then there are the eagles that scope out yours and our lambs and poultry....

Daisy, thank-you! We have been puzzling over the silence of the dogs and we think it can only be because they too were frightened. And that scares me !

Megan, I actually admire coyotes, but I prefer to do it from a distance. As Linda Sue said, they have and still are, interbreeding with dogs and that makes them more bold and fearless and quite cunning in surviving is urban areas....and you know, we were over run with rabbits all summer and fall. There are few rabbits now, so the homes provide cats, poultry, small dogs and livestock for the coyotes to feast on!

Kenleigh Acres...you must be on predator watch too ! You have a lot of wild country around and a lot of tempting lambs...any lambs yet ?

Sandra, my Hubby has the flashlight and his rifle handy...and has run out several times in the wee hours to no avail, just a backward glance from the fleeing coyotes. But he'll keep on trying. Hope you have no losses this year!

Miss Linda said...

Oh Kathy, I am so very, very sorry. What a sad story. I know you worked so hard to protect them. I'm truly sorry.