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Abstract

Predators, principally coyotes, were the major cause of lamb and sheep losses in the western United States in 1974, according to surveyed farmers and ranchers. Rates of loss to coyotes varied considerably among individual farmers and ranchers; while many had no or minor predation problems, others reported very high losses. Overall in the western United States, losses attributed to coyotes in 1974 numbered 728,000 lambs (more than 8 percent of all lambs born) and 229,000 adult sheep (more than 2 percent of inventory), representing a third of the total lamb deaths to all causes and a fourth of the adult sheep deaths. These losses cost U.S. sheep producers some $27 million in lost returns in 1974, while consumers lost some $10 million in benefits because of higher prices for lamb and reduced quantities available.

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