Do you ever have one of those times when all at once everything is off and one off thing leads to another? Well, this morning it happened to me. We had yet another snowstorm yesterday and got 4" more of heavy snow. Before I feed the dogs I always go out to feed the birds outside the kitchen window. While doing that I noticed the fencing around the yard was beaten down, one fence post broken. We use electronet fencing, not electrified (although I may change that!), just to keep the dogs from running out in the road. Upon a closer look, bear prints in the snow!
So I tracked him/her and it must have gotten hung up in the fence, unable to get our feeders and so backtracked around the back yard, over to the cottage, right between the two buildings, across the front yard, over a stone wall, down the bank and then down the road away from the farm. One picture shows Sidney inspecting the prints and the bear tracks going down over the bank. The sheep barn is just across the road from those tracks. We have low tensile 7 strand electric fencing all around them, hopefully that will be enough deterrent.
I stepped into the road to ponder the bear presence and there was a big whoosh! and all the snow slid off the metal roof of the garage which is right next to the sheep barn. It was loud! Of course all the sheep blew out of their barn and into the pasture, but it appeared they were alright, most in sight, so I went in to feed the dogs and eat breakfast. A half hour later I headed to the barn to do chores and when I arrived one sheep was on her back in the barn door, not moving. Sheep become completely immobile when on their backs and it will be deadly if they can't right themselves. Do you start to feel my "Oh God" feeling? I ran in and immediately turned her on to her side and helped her up, it was Ashley, our oldest (12) ewe. She stood up, I brushed her face off and rubbed her all over, she started shivering, which can be a good sign actually. I quickly cleaned up the main area and then put out the grain for everyone. Then I slipped Ashley in the barn and grained her separately, boy that did the trick. She must have gotten caught in the stampede when the snow came off the roof and got tipped over. Her sheep coat actually is wet on the back flank from laying down, not from the event. She is none the worse for wear but it was a close call as even another half hour unnoticed could have been her demise.
I stepped out of the barn to get some bedding and a neighbor came up the road on foot asking if we'd had a bear visit. He'd been tracking it all the way from his house about 2 miles away. Apparently it had travelled the road (smart!) and hit every feeder between his place and ours! So Jim took off down the road to continue the track. I'll have to call later and see what he learned. The paw print was 5" across and 6" long; big bear!
When I was all done chores, I took the dogs around the barnyard and saw blood in the snow, coming from Sidney...soooo, I checked his feet and he had torn one of his toenails away. Yikes! Nothing to do on that front, it will heal up. I am trusting the odd events are done for today!
Pictures, top to bottom: Bear prints, Sidney and the bear's path away, Ashley after her grain kicked in!