"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Night Time Snackers Around Cedar Pond

~Isn't the raccoon a cute animal ? I don't think my poultry would agree.~Raccoons have killed and eaten more of our ducks, chickens, and turkeys than I can count. Every year we lose a LOT of our poultry to these smart and savage bandits. We no longer allow our animals to free-range. The ducks are released from their pen in the morning and then we place their food in the pen in the evening and , being greedy , hungry ducks, they walk in for dinner and to spend the night until released again the next day. I almost quit keeping ducks altogether because for many years the ducks were wiped out every winter. We need the ducks to keep our pond aerated and slime and slug free...which they do .
~One year I was completely creeped out when I went to collect the chicken eggs. I thought I was living an X-Files episode. I am not exaggerating , horror was the word here. Two headless chickens were partially ripped through the chicken wire and their bodies were completely picked free of flesh ! The next day I found pieces of a dead chicken and this chicken was completely ripped through the wire. Some research helped me determine there was no other-worldly monster at work here, but your every day, cute little raccoon with his / her siblings and maybe parents too. ~The solution was for me to make sure there was no place for the chickens to perch for the night close enough for a coon to get his very evil and agile little paws on them. This has worked, thankfully. It did not save my almost ready for Thanksgiving turkeys who were killed by raccoons and the very slinky and vicious animal shown below. ~The weasel ! Weasels are aggressive , fearless, and deadly. They can get into places you wouldn't believe. They are guilty of great destruction in the poultry world. They are known as 'killing machines'. "It has been said that if the weasel were the size of a collie , it would be the most vicious animal on earth." and "A golden eagle was found dead upon the shore. Close examination revealed a weasel embedded in its neck. Apparently the eagle , which was considerably larger, underestimated the ferocity and persistence of its foe." fr CHARACTER SKETCHES Inst. Of Basic Youth Conflict ~Now here is another animal we contend with on an almost daily ( nightly) basis around here. I have to say I admire the coyote. They are smart, and adaptable. I just don't like them practicing those characteristics around our place. In the past few months we hear them EVERY night, around our place. In our yard, after our poultry and probably the cats too. One night all our big dogs were making a muffled "woof" sound on the back porch. We went to investigate and upon opening the back door all the dogs fell in on each other onto the kitchen floor. They were all huddled in fear up against the back door. I have BIG dogs, what was going on ? Hubby went out with a flashlight and shone it , oh my goodness! Everywhere he shone the light around our place there were coyote eyes looking at us ! That is one of the creepiest nights ever . No wonder the dogs were frightened. None of our critters were killed that night, all Hubby had to do was click the trigger of his shotgun and they were gone. ~Last night ( O.K., early this morning) after I was done posting my blog entry I got into bed and snuggled down for a good sleep. Then I heard the high, singing yelp of coyotes very, very close. I found the coyote song surprisingly beautiful. I nudged Hubby awake.."listen', coyotes. Hubby sprang out of bed saying "that one is in the front yard!' He was going for his flash light and shot gun and I told him not to worry. All our animals were penned up and safe. We were warm and safe. "Come back to bed and just listen, isn't the song pretty ?" I think coyote heard Hubby from outside, because there was no more singing. I was a little disappointed, because I WAS warm and snug and safe. My animals were warm and snug and safe ! Come lambing time though, it will be a different story. But lambing time is a month away, so for now I hope to appreciate the strange wild songs. "When you lie down , you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence." Proverbs 3:24,25


Anonymous said...

Oh, never a dull moment! I giggled when I saw your picture of the weasel. In the 4th grade, we were watching an informative film about weasels and my classmates decided that would be a good nickname for me! Years later on my first job, I made the mistake of telling my boss this story and till this day, he calls me Weasel!!!

Pamela said...

I especially enjoyed your blog today. I worry about the raccoons around the chickens. Thankfully, I've not lost any to date.

Coyotes are amazing creatures, aren't they? Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night (around 1:00 am) and can hear them gathering for the hunt. Then, about the time my husband gets up (5:00 am) I can hear them coming back. I agree, it's a very nice feeling when you hear them and know everything is all locked up safe and secure.

Thank you for yet another great blog entry. Your thoughts always seem to get me on the right track in the mornings.

noble pig said...

Bandits is definitely the perfect word for them. We used to have a house in mountains with a jacuzzi. They were able to lift the cover and would wash their food in the water. They also ripped off the roof shingles to get in and live up there. Whatever.

LindaSueBuhl said...

Possums are vicious also - they don't eat the poulty - just bite their heads off! feral dogs do a lot of harm here also. Glad the coyotes have super hearing - we had a pack across the highway last night - so eerie sounding. They are very clever animals and I don't want to wipe them out - just keep them away from my baby goats and cats.

KathyB. said...

Mildred,At least weasels are pretty and sleek !A nickname can be pretty bad.

Pamela, I am amazed at how well coyotes have adapted to urban life. I have seen them in neighborhoods walking down the street as comfortably as they walk through fields and forests!

Noble Pig....I have heard a lot of incredible things attributed to raccoons. But wow, uncovering a jacuzzi to wash their food, are you sure they weren't having hot tub parties when you were away ?

Linda Sue, I forgot to mention the possums. Yes, we get a LOT of possums. According to old encyclopedias possums are not supposed to be able to survive this side of the Mason / Dixon line, possums don't read though and the Pacific Northwest has a thriving possum population. Yup, we get a lot of them here too.

Country Girl said...

I enjoyed this really informative post. Saw your comment over at Kacey's this morning and came over to check you out. Your wool is beautiful!
I had no idea about the racoons and was shocked to hear that your chickens had been slaughtered in that manner. How horrific.
Have a blessed Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Kathy. Your post was frankly a bit frightening to a city girl like me. I had no idea that raccoons even ate chickens. I thought only foxes did that. I can't imagine the horror of that scen and I'm sorry you had to see such a dreadful sight. I would have been terrified if I had looked outside and seen coyotes surrounding my house. Thank God your husband was home! Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. Have a blessed Thanksgiving week!

Daisy said...

Oh my goodness! I think I'm glad I live in town after reading this. I would have been scared to death to have coyotes all around the house. We do see raccoons in this area, but I've never seen any coyotes or weasels except in a zoo.