Thursday, May 27, 2010

four raccoons. no foxes.

44 Comments:

Blogger Teresa said...

That little guy looks so dejected. They'd be more cute if they weren't such a nuisance.

May 27, 2010 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

I raccoon will wipe out your chickens as fast as a fox will. This will be a part of country life. Think hard about your options when you trap these. If you "move" them, you are dropping them off to be a nuisance for someone else. They will also wipe out your garden.

I love having an outside dog. That took care of all of these problems.

May 27, 2010 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Holy cow! They're making themselves right at home, huh?

May 27, 2010 at 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The messy attack did sound more raccoon than fox. My cousins with chickens say the fox doesn't leave any mess, the chicken is just gone, and you tend not to get a massacre all at once like that. But they can pick off one a day if they have kits. Raccoons, though... they make warm hats.

May 27, 2010 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Je Pense said...

What are you doing with them?
It probably wouldn't be wise to keep those chicken thieves around... I'm sure i've read a recipe for baked raccoon...

May 27, 2010 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger мЇčĦë╚є said...

Hi Jenna,

I have been reading your blog for a while now I am all all caught up, finally. I find your story very inspiring, and the way you write is poetic nearly all of the time. Please keep writing, you are motivating me to work towards my goals, which are similar to yours.

I did have a question for you... What will you do with the fur from your meat rabbits? I know many people think any use of fur is a bad thing, but your animals will grow up living happy lives. When they are gone, it would seem like such a waste to just disregard their fur. Just a random question I was thinking about all day at work... :)

Take care!

May 27, 2010 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Poor little bandit...I mean, raccoon :) :) I live in a "small" city, but there's still lots of country and farms around here. When I used to work the early shift, I'd laeve the house while it was still dark. A couple of time there some racoons just a few feet from my door. Fortunately they would run off.
They liked to visit my neighbor who used to feed some of the neighborhood homeless cats. The racoons decided they liked being fed too. Neighbor stopped feeding the kitties and the raccoons stopped visiting :)

May 27, 2010 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I hates raccoons. I have a neighbor who feeds them. I can't keep them out of the yard. I fear for my corn. If I had chickens (which are in the plans), I would fear for my chickens.

I want a gun and said so aloud to my husband. He told me I can't fire a gun within city limits! I said okay, an airgun then. With rock salt. He said an air gun's different. I said I just want them to get the message.

What are you going to do with your raccoons?

May 27, 2010 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

on raccoons: I thought about shooting them, and I might. But right now I lte them go a couple miles away from the farm into a vacant 70 acres. One blog reader suggested seeing if they can swim in the pond, meaning drowning them might be an easy solution.

On rabbit skins: I have only slaughtered one rabbit, and didn't save the fur. I think I will tan some though, and why not? I feel it's a waste not too, just not sure how to do it. I did hear that mother earth news has an amazing how to on their website.

Rabbit harvest is in about a month....

May 27, 2010 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger ~ Janis said...

What are you using to bait your traps?

and...drowning is not a humane way of killing any animal. its been proven.

A bullet or blue juice is much faster and much more humane.

Transporting/relocating wildlife "may" not be legal in NY.

And raccoons will come right back to your place if you dropped them off less than 10 miles away.

I paint the tails of "transports" orange so i KNOW if i goofed.

5 miles for squirrels, chipmunks & possums, 10 for racoons and rattlesnakes....
Don't ask me how I know....

May 27, 2010 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

What you have described is racoon damage and now you've captured the culprits. A 22 shot to the head will solve the problems. Most states do not allow relocation of racoons because of Rabies. On Monday, I met a gal at the jct. of 22 and 29 to sell my Angora buns to her. On my way up 22 through Jackson I looked for your farm but didn't see anything that looked like the pics. I'm hoping that means your farm is well off Rt. 22

May 27, 2010 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Snyder's Homestead said...

Busted!!! So this is what was eating at your garden!!

Hey so I talked to Zach about going out for MEN thing "near" Harrisburg. We were going to go until we realized its out by Somerset. About 4 1/2 hrs. So we decided we will save the long trips for coming to visit you!! It looks so awesome though (sigh). Anywho, enjoy you weekend :) muah
P.S. update me on our phone convo the other day!!

May 27, 2010 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

You may want to contact your local health dept. or wild life dept. on how to deal with the raccoons. I think their 3rd on the list of most cases of rabies in the state of N.Y, with bats and skunks being the top two. Both agencies were very helpful when I couldn't keep the little buggars off my deck and out of my bird food.

Good luck and be safe.

Blessings,
Debi

May 27, 2010 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

A little electric fencing will keep all your predators out. Several lines run really close together and low does the trick every time. Fencing is a cost effective and permanent way to keep your livestock safe from predators...I'm a bear biologist in MT and I promote and have used electric fencing to keep foxes, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, domestic dogs, skunks, grizzly bears and black bears away from chickens, rabbits, sheep, dogs kennels, garbage, ducks...the list goes on. Get some help from your local wildlife biologist or local ag dealer.

May 27, 2010 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger мЇčĦë╚є said...

Jenna,

I think that is really great that you are thinking about using the fur, I bet it would keep you really warm on those cold mornings. :)

Good luck with the raccoon situation, pesky little buggers.

May 27, 2010 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

I understand the frustration of chickens and predators but you have to remember that you moved in on their territory not the other way around (even if your house has been there a long time- racoons, foxes, etc. have been there longer) and I would encourage you to think about seriously reinforcing your hen house before you shoot the racoons. After all, how many are you going to have to shoot in your lifetime? One will always come back.

May 27, 2010 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Sense of Home said...

Oh, what a cute face. Of course, they do eat eggs.

May 28, 2010 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger Cassidy said...

I agree with Kira. It is difficult to see wildlife encroaching on your farm, but at the same time, your farm is encroaching on their habitat. I would definitely consider electric fencing before killing the raccoons. Better to keep them out of your farm than to kill them for trying to survive in their ever dwindling ecosystem.

May 28, 2010 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Montero said...

I'm with Kim. Electric fencing / netting seems the best solution to your problem, whether it's fox or raccoon. We use it here to great effect.

Don't forget when your sheep have lambs, both will be vulnerable to predation. If you can't lamb them in a protected barn, electric can help. A lamb is considerably more lost income than a chicken.

May 28, 2010 at 5:05 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Thanks all for the advice and opinions.

May 28, 2010 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger South Brunswick Public Library Blog said...

Can resist...you've been "outfoxed!"

May 28, 2010 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger sheila said...

2 miles, ahhh they will be back. They need to be relocated at least 20 to 30 miles away to ensure they don't return (which is actually illegal in NYS because of the risk of spreading rabies). All you have created are trap savvy coons. You won't be able to catch them a second time. Best to get some electric fencing going and maybe consider a LSG dog. I use mine to patrol my property at night and haven't lost anything more to raccoons since I got 2 Great Pyrenees pups last summer. My mistake was getting 2 pups together. It's been hard to train them not to harass poultry so they don't live with the birds, but patrol the perimeter of the chicken coop at night and keep the predators away. They are bonded to each other rather than to the chickens, ducks and geese. They are however really great with the goats. I think the dogs consider the goats as one of the pack. They poultry are just too enticing with their flapping wings and willingness to run. They don't kill the birds, rather the dogs lick them. A bit much when they birds end up with big bald patches.

May 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Floridagirl said...

My Aunts and Uncles used to eat raccoon, you could tan those skins, too.

He looks so pitiful (and I'm such a sucker).

May 28, 2010 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

One of those "cute" little f*ers decapitated a whole family of my banties one year.

No mercy from me.

May 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

my thoughts, if wildlife are killing your livestock, you aren't doing enough to protect them.

its your responsibility to prevent these issues, not kill each and every predator in the area.

are you still free ranging your chickens/ducks? how are they kept at night?

what measures are currently being taken to keep them safe?

this organization will provide great information for you

http://www.predatorfriendly.org/

i agree with the others a LGD would be your best bet. on a property as small as yours one dog would be able to patrol and keep coons, fox, coyotes etc. at bay.

May 28, 2010 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Meredith, I am curious, do you raise any livestock?

May 28, 2010 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Dom said...

Looks like some nice hats you got there, Jenna!

Don't forget to bury the chicken-fed bodies or cook them up, if you're brave: the fat is good for projects too, and there is a lot of it.

May 28, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Golly. I sure am sorry you lost livestock. OTOH, I raised an orphaned raccoon a few years ago and she was SUCH a sweetheart. I named her MissBehaving. Kept her 'til she was weaned then gave her to the wildlife rehab folks who taught her to be a raccoon & released her on a wildlife preserve, hopefully FAR from anyone's chickens. Good luck. I know you'll figure this one out as many other problems as you've successfully surmounted.

May 28, 2010 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger mary said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 28, 2010 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger mary said...

Racoons! We've had foxes, and we've had racoons. The racoons nearly wiped out our first flock of 26 chickens just for the fun of it. They left them lying all over the yard. The foxes have taken some of our geese but never left the mess or slaughter that the racoons left. I'm glad you caught one, but I'm sure there are more...

A friend of ours would move them to a big park about 20 miles away, where they wouldn't be anywhere near other people's farms. Personally, I think we have way too many racoons, partly because people feed them, so if they are seen around here... it will be the shotgun.

May 28, 2010 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Jeff_in_Pawlet said...

Funny story: My father traps at least 20 a year and we got sick of digging holes so we started relocating them (illegal in NY). A few years later my mom met someone who lived near where we dumped them and she mentioned that they had an awful lot of coons lately!Back to the 3 S's: shoot, shovel, shut up.

May 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

i've seen mismanagement of livestock on properties i've lived and worked on due to lack of preventive measures. i've also seen those who have lost minimal livestock due to excellent management practices, those being predator friendly having the least amount of issues.

i'm currently living on a property with a family of denning fox and have not started my chickens this year for that reason. even if i kept them alive they'd be stressed beyond belief.

i've disposed of lamb carcasses and chicken carcasses because the property manager did not believe in properly containing the animals and protecting them against predators. it took one property going from 30+ chickens to 3 and having mauled and killed lambs, and having all their ducks and geese killed before they took a different approach.

i asked questions about how you contain your livestock to better understand why they are being killed. i encourage you to check out the predator friendly website for suggestions/advice from very experienced farmers and ranchers who have similar issues and have found ways to keep their animals safe and wildlife out.

May 28, 2010 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

the only chickens on my property are the remains of my neighbors free ranging flocks the family of fox kill on a nightly basis :(

i really really wish they would coop them up and out of harms way for the chickens sake, and for mine as i'm out there cleaning up the mess so my dogs don't eat what the fox leave (usually just the legs).

May 28, 2010 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

reread my inital comment and i didn't mean to sound snotty!

i have an education in environmental studies and can get too interested and passionate about such issues!

May 28, 2010 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Some of you may remember, but Jenna already has -three-dogs! Predator deterrents they may not be, but that's three mouths to feed too! Another dog, even if it is a livestock guardian, may be too much to handle.

Right now I'm only taking care of two (and other animals might I add)! Such are the "joys" of puppy ownership. :)

May 28, 2010 at 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not dealt with predators (yet, knock on wood) so I'm curious about some of the points people have raised. First, shooting the raccoon/fox doesn't seem like much of a solution. Others will just move in, won't they? I mean, unless you are willing to shoot every raccoon within a 30 mile radius I am not sure how this is going to help you. Second, the traps do select for trap-smart predators, so eventually aren't you going to end up with wily critters you can't catch to shoot? Seems to me the solution is to predator-proof your stock as much as you can, but so far the only experience I have with electric fencing is for the pigs, so not sure if this is actually doable. Good luck!

May 28, 2010 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Hi Jena, I agree with the elec fence and having an outdoor dog. I also agree with raising livestock responsibly with predators in close proximity. My animals are all secure and I have two outdoor dogs that keep everything at bay. I have bear, fox,coon,possum and who knows what all living here on our wisconsin property. I occasionally lose a chicken to a hawk or eagle but not very often the dogs sound the alert when they are flying over as well and everybody runs for cover.
If you are going to kill the coon, please do it humanely with a shot to the head, drowning is a terrbile inhumane thing to do and shame on whom ever suggested it to you.
Best wishes Jena

May 28, 2010 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

For some predators, coyotes, foxes and hawks, yes we moved into their habitat and need to protect our livestock. I had a Goshawk take 4 hens last winter and I recognized the why of the killing. Raccoons are opportunistic scavengers. They are just as at home in the city, town or country. The only way to truly be rid of their predation is to eliminate them. Jenna moved in with her chickens and they followed. Who fed them last year?

May 28, 2010 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Livestock guardian dogs are a wonderful predation deterrent and I'm all for them when it comes to coyotes, fox and bears however,a dog tangling with a raccoon creates a huge problem. Usually the dogs receive some damage from the coon before they kill it often requiring vet attention. Because of the high incidence of Rabies in coons, even vaccinated dogs are supposed to be quarantined for a period of time. It just isn't worth the risk. I like the 3S method of coon control.

May 28, 2010 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Ohiofarmgirl said...

We just had a fox in our turkey yard in broad daylight. I talked to a game warden and he said that most likely you will NOT catch a fox with a box trap. He suggested a snare (not an option with all these barncats) or to contact your local game/wildlife office and ask for a trapper to come and take care of it. He said the trapper would come with a call to lure it then would um.. that is.. efficiently dispatch it with a rifle. Good Luck!

May 28, 2010 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

I am so sorry you are having fox issues and raccoon issues, but you have to take the bad with the good in farm life. :)

May 28, 2010 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger kakimbr said...

Jenna, Rabbit fur is an extremely warm lining for hats, gloves and anything you wear in the winter. I have several items that are lined with rabbit fur...also, my grandfather used to kill any raccoons he caught and they were added to the cook pot. They really aren't bad to eat. Keep up the great blog.

May 28, 2010 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

Some interesting reading on ecosystems and predators (or the lack thereof).

http://www.cof.orst.edu/leopold/papers/2009%20Beschta%20&%20Ripple,%20Large%20Predators%20and%20Trophic%20Cascades.pdf

http://onda.org/protecting-wildlife-and-clean-water/imperiled-species/wolf/more-info-on-gray-wolves-1/04,Wolves,elkandwillows,Gallatin,Ripple-Beschta.pdf

May 29, 2010 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Cindi said...

We've got predators in our area, and in the last couple of months we have lost a duck to a fox and two hens to a weasel.
For now we've penned the birds in some secure fencing (MANY housing/pen suggestions are available on the BackYard Chickens site), and will be installing some electrical fencing, solar powered, which should keep those nimble, prying raccoon hands out of the birds' vicinity, as we definitely have those guys in the area too.
Things to keep in mind - raccoons are purported to be able to chew through chicken wire. They also can, and will, pull chickens through 1"x2" wire, piece by piece. A horrific thought to be sure.
We're planning on relocating to some real acreage in Nova Scotia next year, and look forward to it for the sheep we will be able to finally get. Our thought is that the area the chickens range in during the day could then be somewhat less fortified, as we'll be getting two guardian dogs for the sheep, who will be in the same, electrically-fenced in area as the chickens.
Far better, more responsible, easier and more effective to practice good protective measures for your livestock than to try and kill every predator. Even if you managed to pull it off, their spot would then be filled by another, then another, then another... :-/ It's the natural way, I guess, but we feel some of the blame in this area can be placed on the ever-expanding suburbs. :-p

June 7, 2010 at 12:26 PM  

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