Your Worst Nightmare – Missing Stock (OP: 3/2014)

Everyone pet and stock owner’s worst nightmare. Coming home and finding some of your beloved animals gone.

Did they run away? Were they stolen? Did predators get to them? All valid questions that sometimes never go answered.

So what do you do when you discover your stock is missing? I’ll share what I did when I had the same thing happen, although in my case, I knew that mine had run away, and were not stolen nor killed.

I brought home two new does, put them in the quarantine pen, and made a vital mistake – the housing was entirely too close to the fencing. Over it the does went, and frightened and lost, disappeared. I was terribly disappointed in myself, but set about looking for them. I searched nearby properties, both on foot and horseback. I shook a feed pail and called them, but these goats were unfamiliar with me and did not respond.

I called the local feed stores and let them know I was missing goats. I put up signs at the Post Office and on street corners. I contacted all of my neighbors who owned stock and let them know. We continued to look for days and finally we got a call from a neighbor a mile away – one doe was found and captured after being trapped in a shed by their dog.

We didn’t hear anything about the other for two weeks, and I gave her up for lost. Imagine my surprise when a sweet old farmer called and let me know he had my second doe. She had been found over *ten* miles away, two weeks after she went missing.

My story turned out well, but so often it does not. Do not underestimate humans – goats are often prime targets for thieves. They are easy to run through an auction and make a little money off of, or slaughtered for consumption or black market sale of the meat.

Predators too, take their toll. However in this case, there is almost always evidence of the predator, unless by chance it was a large cat like a Mountain Lion, which is more than capable of dragging away a goat after killing it and leaving very little trace.

If your stock goes missing, don’t waste any time. Go looking. Call – shake a feed pail. Call your local feed stores, veterinarians, and anyone else you think would possibly hear about a goat (or other animal) being found.

Print out and put up flyers in places people will easily see them. Don’t ignore the internet community either – find your local Facebook and Craigslist groups and post. Offer a reward, no questions asked. The more people that see your flyers and posts, the better.

Don’t forget to take a second look at your fencing, your gates, your barn. Think about investing in intruder deterrents. Livestock Guardian Dogs, motion-activated lighting, locks for your gates if needed.

Even if your stock is not registered, consider micro-chipping or tattooing as a permanent way to identify an animal as belonging to you, in the case that you find it and have to prove ownership.

Watch your local ads as well – you never know when your animal might come up for sale by someone else who has procured it one way or another.

And try not to give up hope.

The goats pictured at the top of this blog went missing not too long ago in South Texas. If you see either of them or know of their location, please contact me using my email or phone number on my website.