Murphy The Weasel and Other Jerks
So what to do?
Well the first thing I am doing is setting up some havahart traps around the barn, where I am fairly certain the culprit of Mr. Raccoon or Mr. Fisher Cat will appear. All the chicks in the brooder have been removed to greener pastures (literally) and are now outside in chicken tractors away from the scene of the crime. I set a baited trap inside the brooder as well, hoping that a repeat performance will occur and I'll find my critters.
Besides that, there isn't much else to be done. I find that once a year a wave like this happens. As a rule I always purchase a third more poultry than I need, expecting to lose some to the inevitable ariel and woodland predators that come with an entirely free range life. Some birds end up feeding the wildlife, but not many. These chicks and this hen are the first of this year. I had lost birds in that same brooder before but that was inside the house with a rat who came from under the porch and chewed into another (patched) spot in the wood and dragged the chicks out so in the morning there was no evidence of the crime in the form of body count. Just a handful of chicks where forty had been the night before.
Farming in the forest is a lot like playing chess. My move now.
This has been going around, at least around here. Friends with farms have lost as many as a dozen birds in a night (raccoons). A gal I sold a half dozen birds to last spring lost four in one rough night because they flew over the four-foot electric fencing and roosted in low branches instead of the coop. At the feed store the other day I bought the last large havahart trap in stock, the clerk told me they were also almost out of poison as well. Yikes…. we are under attack!
So, those of you also raising chickens, chicks, geese, ducks, and rabbits. All of you with small livestock out there. Do you expect to lose a few animals to predators? Have you lost any this year?