Some years we have lost young calves, too. No sign of them at all, just disappeared. A professor at a local farm college told me that he had seen coyotes carry off calves. Coyotes are a real problem around here. At a pasture we rented this year, coyotes are a great big problem! There has not been cows in that field in years, and it is very isolated. The coyotes are so bad there, that the two cows and donkeys we put in to test the fence, busted out, and ran off. Cows will get out, but they don't usually run off. We have a photo of our cows at the local downtown restaurant. They were out for about a week, and one cow turned crazy and had to be taken to the sale. Hope we never have that happen again.
UPDATE to this story: Husband said I forgot to tell you about the real Predator in this previous story. The animal control man. He was called by a neighbor when the cows were out, and began to chase them. He chased them for six hours, and never caught them. That is why the previously-good cow went crazy. Oh, what a day that was.
The last predator I am going to tell you about today is a hawk. They will fly over, pick up small animals, and carry them off. One day, I was in the yard. I love Silkie chickens. They are a "fancy" type of small chicken, and I think they are so pretty. We keep ours in a separate pin, because they are smaller than regular chickens, and kind of delicate. Well, I heard a ruckus in the silkie pin. I headed that way, and I see a bird has swooped inside the pen somehow, and has a hold of a silkie. The hawk is slinging my silkie around, banging it on the ground, and the silkie is screaming. I take off running toward the pen (I really don't run as much as this article makes me sound). In my head, I'm thinking, "I really need a gun". I yell, but all my children are inside and no one hears me, so it is me against the hawk. I pick up a stick and get to the cage. I beat on the pen and went to open the door. The hawk let go of the chicken and flew out a hole in the roof. I was so glad that he left, and my chicken was OK. She just got up, shook herself off, and clucked to herself for a while. This is the reason people cover their chicken yards with netting or screen, so the hawks don't pick up the chickens or their baby chicks. My husband said he would have paid a lot of money to see that event.