You don't have to find very many dead lambs after a coyote attack before you start looking for solutions.
Going through the process of understanding the problem.
It's a painful journey, but that's what fuels our resolve. We want to help provide real solutions.
The slide show above gives a very broken overview of our story, but here are some of the things we have learned over the last several years of coping with a massive apex predator problem. Shooting and trapping the predators doesn't solve the problem. I am a lifelong hunter and trapper - and as you can see we do take some out - but it does not solve the problem. More will come and you need a ready defense. A good friend of ours uses a fantastic Caucasian female that lives with her sheep 24/7. I was really impressed with the dog, and the fact that it is big and strong enough to defend against wolves; which we have in large measure. Our farm is virtually on the Canadian border, and there are hundreds of elk that winter here, which in turn brings wolves. The wolves have become very common. We took in a pair of CO's, a young female, Thea, and a large male, Owa, who were needing a new home as their owners moved. Thea showed great potential with the sheep even though she hadn't been raised with them. Owa did not, and although he did not intend to harm them or eat them he did want to play with them like a puppy plays with a stuffed animal. He was a very good dog, and a wonderful CO, but in one moment of error on our part (none of us were watching) and he jumped into the lamb pen and began "playing" with my son's favorite lamb - a little triplet we had nursed along. He tore the hide from his back side and we had to put little Buddy down. I share this heart-breaking story to tell you that trying to use older rescued dogs is a risk. We knew that, and I take responsibility for that loss. We have found it much easier to train from adolescence and avoid some of these trials; HOWEVER - all LGD's will go through their teen stage where they want to rough house with lambs or adult sheep, chickens, etc. A person must be vigilant to supervise their contact through those training months. The second truth that we learned is that in the process of training dogs you can have injuries or casualties; which you have to be prepared to work through, and not give up.
When we had the U.S. Trapper come and look at our situation he first recommended the guard donkey, having used them himself with success. At the time we had a CO pair at the home place, but we needed help on remote pasture and we didn't have enough dogs to send with them, so we did end up buying a Guardian Donkey named Jenny. She is a real hoot. She had grown up guarding and has great instinct. She is a wonderful layer of defense, which we have witnessed, but it isn't enough. The first lamb that Jenny lost to a coyote she was in rough shape - she had struck so hard with her feet that gravel and clay was compacted into her hooves so tightly that she was lame, and in the process of the attack on a steep slope in the middle of the night she had rolled down the hill and was pretty beat up. She hung her head in total shame though, for over a day, because of the loss of that lamb. This girl knows her sheep and watches over them like a hawk. She knew she had failed, but she was learning. She has become very good at guarding her flock. When a coyote would ambush she would confront it and all the sheep would ball up behind her. She would run the coyote off biting at it (and if she ever catches one it will be dead) and then turn back to the sheep and herd them into the sheep shed where they are safe. Anything trying to follow will be stomped. I watched it happen. I can't ask for more from her but at the instant of the ambush a ewe lamb was killed in just a second. They never got to eat it, but it's a dead lamb all the same. A Guard Donkey isn't enough, they need the dogs to work with them. We purchased a Sharplaninatz female, Eos, to be the new team leader to work remote pastures with Jenny. They have a good working relationship. I have written all of this to share a synopsis of our experience. We are people who have a passion for our animals. Creating our Michels Mountain Sheep is a three stage breeding process that takes years of investment, but we love to do it! The most gut-wrenching feeling in the whole world is to see the success of your work laying in torn shreds of hide on the ground. We planned for that lamb two years ago. We helped deliver it, we watched it take it's first breath. We love our sheep, and that is why the pain of our losses have fueled us to search the world over looking for the best possible defense for our flock. The Caucasian and Sharplaninatz are a great team together and compliment each other very well. They are both proven against wolves and apex predators. We have some of the best blood lines in both breeds and we are truly excited to watch them work. It was really nice to see a black wolf running away from the sound of our CO male a few weeks ago. These dogs are able to provide a clear defense, and we intend to help others defend their flocks, herds, farms, and families as well. Farm-raised and bred.