Predator and Nonpredator Death Loss Report Published
October 9, 2015

The National Animal Health Monitoring System has published the report Sheep and Lamb Predator and Nonpredator Death Loss in the United States, 2015. This report is published every 5-years and provides a breakdown of sheep and lamb death losses by producer-attributed causes in 2014.

“It is no surprise that this report again confirms that the number one single cause of sheep and lamb loss in the United States is from coyote kills,” said American Sheep Industry Association Executive Director Peter Orwick. “There was not one nonpredator loss that came even close to the number of animals lost to coyotes.”

The report indicates that in 2014, 585,000 sheep and lambs dies of all causes, costing the industry nearly $102 million. As a percentage of inventory, death loss remained steady from 2009 to 2014 at 6.5 percent.

Coyotes were by far responsible for the highest number of predator losses on all operations followed by dogs and other unknown predator causes for sheep and lambs. In fact, coyotes were credited with 54 percent of predator losses in adult sheep and 64 percent of predator losses in lambs in 2014 – equating to 33,498 and 84,534, respectively, for a total of 118,032.

Overall, 58 percent of all operations used one or more nonlethal methods for predator control in 2014, up from 31.9 percent in 2004. For operations that used nonlethal predator control methods, fencing (54.8%), guard dogs (40.5%), lamb shed (34.4%) and night penning (33.7%) were most frequently used. In fact, 66.6 percent of all operations that used nonlethal control methods used more than one method to deter predators.

When examining lamb death loss, it is essential to remember that Western states (Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., N.M., Nev., Ore., Texas, Utah, Wash. and Wyo.) report lamb losses only after marking, docking or branding, which significantly underestimates the actual number of lambs that died.

No predator study was done in 2009, making the 2004 report the most current data the industry had on predator losses. This report takes the place of the National Agricultural Statistics Service Sheep and Goat Death Loss report for 2015.

The report is available at