Every day, I go to Tway to feed our little ponies. They whinny and run to the gate when they see me – but only Butch lets me hug his neck. Sunny’s way too skittish for that. Tuesday, I’m in Tway to feed the ponies as usual. I walk by the orchard and see that something has been all over the orchard – marking up the pristine, previously unmarked snow. This hasn’t happened all winter. I made note to take a look at it on my way back up the Indian Trail.
Got to Ponyville and the boys were there to greet me. Even Sunny came in close for a hug. I put their water out, then gave them their treat of sweetened oats. That’s when I noticed that the barb wire fencing had been pooched in two areas. I walked over to the first spot – near the orchard. Now it was making sense. Whatever had been in the orchard had jumped the fence and in the process, the fence got tangled together. I untangled the barbed wire, noting a good amount of fur on the snow and some drops of blood. Oh, now it was clear…the deer was being chased by coyotes.
Scanning the pen I could see three other points of entry made by the coyotes. I examined each and it looks like they had easy enough entry – even if they lost some fur in the process. Walking to the far end of the pen, I saw that the deer jumped the fence, pulling the wire down and completely loosening it from the posts. There were two points of exit – two deer. Two deer and a pack of coyotes all in the ponies’ pen. Not good!
Reddish-gray fur clung to the barb wire. At first I thought it was deer fur, but then I saw it belonged to Butch. He must have been frantically trying to escape. His neck was rubbed raw. At least he didn’t break the skin, but his nose was cut too. This breaks my heart. My poor babies must have been scared into frenzy.
Coyotes don’t usually eat foods they haven’t been brought up on. They will eat deer and rabbits and whatever else they were weaned onto, but larger, domesticated animals are usually safe. I’ve read that wild dogs are the worst enemies for miniature ponies, as they just kill for sport. I hope my babies are safe.
I followed the tracks and saw that the drops of blood and most of the tracks led back into the woods behind Ponyville. They would be gone, for now. Chances are they caught the deer and were feeding upon its corpse. All I could do was fix the fence and hug my pets before I left. We can’t get in there to add wood to the fence until spring or at least until the snow melts. I have to hope that they will be safe.
I returned yesterday and took a weapon. Too chicken to take the gun, I opted for a large machete. I figured if the coyotes were around and attacking me or the ponies, I could fend them off. Thankfully, I didn’t have to use it. The ponies were fine. Both ponies crowded me and moved in for hugs when I got there. They didn’t seem particularly skittish so I’m hoping all is well. While I was there I heard coyotes howling, but it came from miles away. I hope it was them and I hope they moved on.
So back at the orchard I surveyed the damage. The frantic deer used the apple trees as a block as they tried to escape the coyotes. Several larger limbs were broken off a few trees. It was heartbreaking to see. I hope we don’t lose the trees. It took so much work to plant them! Time will tell.
Today, machete in hand, I will go see Butch and Sunny at the usual time, hoping all is well in Ponyville.