One of our Nigerian dwarf bucks was killed a few days ago. This came as quite a shock after we had settled into a happy complacency about goat safety. Gabe, head goatherd, was understandably very upset. We all were.
The does and kids were being housed in a small shed (The Milk Shed) at night. But in order to keep The Milk Shed smelling fresh and clean for milking, we built the bucks a cozy straw bale bungalow to snuggle in over the winter months.
It had snowed the night of the attack, covering any tracks. What we could discover from the remaining evidence was that Moon Pi was attacked in his little straw hut, dragged behind it, killed, dragged to the back corner of the fence, and partially eaten.
Our head researcher, Zach, got on the computer right away and started piecing together the evidence – manner of attack, parts eaten, etc. – and decided the predator was a cat. We were thinking something big – perhaps a mountain lion or a large lynx. Even though these are dwarf goats, the bucks are over a hundred pounds. And whatever it was had to jump a four foot fence.
Long story short, it turned out to be a bobcat. We saw him in broad daylight! We were relieved by this, in a sense, because it feels better to think of there being bobcats in the woods rather than cougars. (Although, I know more and more are sighted in the area.) The other goats, including the stinky Apollo, are all being housed indoors before night falls and on days when we’re going to be out for a good chunk of the day.