Barnyard Bandits


It’s been a hot and dry summer up here, and I think that’s why the predators have started to become more of a problem in our area.  Our vernal pools are low or empty, meaning that the peepers (what our forester calls “Nature’s little protein pills”) and other small prey animals are scarce.

Though we’ve seen a fox around the neighborhood, it hasn’t been a problem.  Our chief invaders right now are raccoons.  A week ago, one of our neighbors lost all but three of their layers when a raccoon broke into their coop.  They’ve since caught the bandit, but that doesn’t bring back their flock.  The next night, I shot another raccoon in our barn that was breaking into one of the feed bins.  Since then, I’ve killed three more.  Today, we found out that another neighbor lost a good portion of her flock to raccoons.

Then this morning, we discovered that one of our Barred Rocks, who chose the corner of an unused goat stall to set her nest, had five of her nine eggs stolen from right underneath her when a predator dug under the walls and grabbed them.  Fortunately, she was unhurt.

So, instead of getting some more wood put up, I had to do some modifications to the building to prevent further loss of either the chicken or her eggs. Here was my solution: hardware cloth attached to the base of the building and spread about 1′ outward.

In the pic above, you can see that this is the corner they dug under.  Hopefully this will help.

After securing all four sides, I buried the cloth in dirt (actually composted manure, because that’s one thing we have a ton of).

Finished project below… topped off with a live catch trap to hopefully snag the next bandit.

Hopefully, this keeps our future momma hen safe!

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tammy on July 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Wow! Good luck! I hope it does the trick and you haven’t worked so hard for naught.
    Good job watching out for your flock!

    Reply

  2. Well, the trap worked, and it wasn’t a raccoon this time. It was a skunk… who also slimed the stall. Ugh, but at least it’s no longer stealing eggs.

    Reply

    • Posted by Dave on July 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Need smaller trap for skunks so they can’t raise to spray. At least that’s the theory.

      Reply

      • Good idea – I will put out my smaller trap later. However, he didn’t spray in defense – I think it was involuntary release as he expired from an overdose of lead.

      • The smaller trap definitely worked last night. I was able to walk up to him and cover the whole trap with an old blanket, then walk him out to the pasture without getting sprayed.

  3. Posted by Anisah on February 21, 2014 at 9:51 am

    A technique I used to help protect my coops is four step approach.

    (Step 1) glass under-ground mote – made of broken shards of glass — buried in a 10″ ditch at the base of the building. This is designed to reduce digging (wildlife dept ppl say the coons front feet are sensitive to being poked & don’t like such items when digging). Then after filling the ditch with broken glass — I buried it with dirt.

    (Step 2) drive 8″ to 12″ rods of rebar into the soil at base of buildings that have no deep foundation. Spacing the rebar about every 4″ inches apart in a vertical orientation. This makes diggers find that they spend a night of digging, only to find their work gets them NO where. Each day, I rebury their work 😀 This may take place for a few days — but after nights of work with no reward… they give up and go elsewhere to find food. ( it was another basic approach the Wildlife Dept recommended I create barriers and so I came up with this approach since we had plenty of rebar).

    (Step 3) Placing thistle stocks & Stinging Nettle Stalks onto the paths I found where being used by the predator critters…. from the tree rows & tall grass to my poultry areas. (once again thinking of what the Wildlife Dept said about tender front feet).

    (Step 4) A serious Lab-chow dog & a coon-dog who both feel its their job to protect the property from predators.

    Since adopting these approaches, I have not had problems from Coons, Skunks or feral cats. (mind you I also take the dog doo and collect it around the yard, then dump it along the parameter of the poultry yard. Giving all predators a scent of very LARGE Dog lives here scent-signage. 😀

    Reply

Please feel free to comment or respond - we may take a bit to get back to you (between feeding animals, mucking stalls, mending fences, and chasing the goats out of the chicken coop again!)

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