Originally Posted by CanuckBock
We live in an area where both lynx and bobcat overlap--one clue as to which is which is that Lynx got the black tail tip, Bobcat got the black with white tip.
Snowshoe hares have taken up residence here on our patch of dirt coupla years back (left my veg garden alone...pondered if they would help themselves but didn't)...
Love the transition the hares go thru - we had two here...
Jan 27 2014
Apr 4 2014
Apr 20 2014
And this year...family of five grouse (mom, four not so babes and a male that was drumming up a storm) came calling and are hanging about...rabbits and grouse are all great small natural cat fodder.
Nov 16, 2015 - I am getting the "get lost already" gooky stink eye...
One cannot ponder why predators come hanging around when their wild prey resides here. That would be ludicrous to think, only wild prey and nothing to keep them down to a healthy population, eh. Prey brings in the predators and that meant we would need to be over the top diligent if we wanted our domestics and wild contained species to live into old age for us. I would hate hate to go out and find carnage here. Ruin the hobby for me and Rick.
I never cease to adore how camo these prey species can be.
Blending...ever so well into the backgrounds - lookin like wallpaper for a spruce tree, eh!
Mountain lion or cougars are a fall item for us...following the elk that migrate and the young cubs are being left to sort things out on their own, so wander thru the valley looking for their own stake out. You can hear them screaming at night...pretty unnerving noise and when you realize it belongs to a big cat that is learning its skills, even more so scary. I usually call our neighbours and give them a heads up because they have a Rotti that is out and about and big cats adore domestic dog (and house cats) on the menu--easy meals compared to wild more wary prey.
Not saying stucco won't work for some, as some may never have a bird like a pheasant that does the burst and then hurles into their pen wire. I suspect the female (she was a Jumbo White pheasant) being she was new here, hurled herself into the stucco wire and that's how she busted an eye. Major gross and a risky infection to survive.
We went with hardware cloth because it was applicable to all the species we keep and to think you are only EVER going to keep one type of bird in one building furever and ever means you never alter things. I have had ducks in one pen that was then followed by landfowl like turks or chooks and reverse. Rather build for the most sensitive ones and then I can shuffle whatever whenever the mood hits me without thinking..."Oh yeh, the wire in that area is not nice to ducks, etc." Allows me to be bimboee and make plans to follow thru without the facilities being my limiting factor. Drifting from one place to the other, mostly have idiot funs.
First chook coop we built here - the Coop fur Sure mimics a prairie grain elevator (another dying out landmark), tenplast on the outdoor run (roof and sides in winter) allowed alot of light in...so much so it was almost like a greenhouse. But this plastic product will eventually become brittle, sunlight harming it and once brittle...the hail we get can and have received since 1998 has punched holes in tenplast roofs...we redid my greenhouse roof to coloured metal too. Every building material has its good and bads...wading thru the choices on what works in yer own backyard is just part of the challenging fun to be had.
I have raised chickens in horrid conditions...WEsT Coast, seiner netted outdoor run and it was wretched. You had no control over the moisture and found my chickens residing in putrid mud with me unable to change it feasibly. Kinda a pet peeve of mine that I would never endure those conditions to raise birds and we have ensured all runs have metal (last tenplast one was metalled this summer) roofs and river sand in the runs seems to be alot more enjoyable all round.
Off with tenplast...
Luxurious but sure makes the hobby much more enjoyable being able to keep snow, rain, ice outta the outdoor area.
No more roof worries...sun shining or baseball sized hail? Bring it on, eh!
Waz to sweat about...we knew we were gonna hafta step up or feed our beloveds to all that live here. All sorts of winged prey (herons, cranes, eagles, owls, hawks, members of the crow family), four footed furred ones from grizzlies, black bear, cougar, the lynx/bobcats, wolves, coyotes, fishers/marten, to skunks, weasels, foxes, even reptiles like garter snakes...I do agree tho the house cats and the dogs running loose were more the reason we triple fenced and diligently do head counts and tucky tuck the yard birds away before dark if they have not put themselves away. The friendly lap pets are the most likely to kill for sheer pleasure of indulging their wild ancestral tendencies.
Here since 1998 and lost only one critter to predator. Old retired yard hen, bantam Dark Brahma harvest by one of the many owls we really happily have here keeping the mice populations down for us. After years of head counts I got complacent and when this hen stayed out instead of going inside the Coop fur Sure...found a pile of feathers and her beak under a spruce tree the next morn. Eaten by an owl during the night. My fault for not staying dutiful and why I count heads before locking the run door every night they are out and about for the day time when the season and weather is nice. No ruminants or poultry taken otherwise and we live in the thick of the wilds of the wilderness. Beauty place to be but not without costs.
Ah yes, I remember rats making tunnels on the inside of what my father made for our second coop when we moved. He never bothered to finish the inside, pink insulation with plastic on the walls...spent many a horror with the corn broom handle, chasing the ratz that built connective tunnels in the walls around. Ack...having a half full water bucket also became a rat trap of sorts, which I find mystifying because there was no shortage of supplies of water on the Coast where it rained for 90 days straight in the winter. Oh well...floating dead rats, live ones weaving thru the walls <<shudder>>, me no miss that. Mice are nice...ratz, not so much...
We have some five types of owls when we showed up here in residence--brought home our first poultry and found an owl sitting attop our temporary pens...we knew right off we were gonna be in for a testing. Course with the perfect conditions we set up by providing fluid water, feed and deep oat straw bedding...tons of mice including new genetics brought in when we trailer in a load of squares of straw or hay.
MMMM...alfalfa leaves galore...what could that attract eh?
Use to find it totally hilarious how when I let the dogs out to join us stowing away the bedding and hay, how them dogs would sniff out the mice and see them baling off fast like and running to the outbuildings to join the others that plague us.
Not jest a load of square oat straw...new rodents too!
Here come the inspection crew.
Hmm...no vermin in this square...how about the next one...??? <<snork snork>>
Since we have now brought in both rounds in straw and hay (got tractor, got freedom to get either squares or big rounds)...there are far less hidy places for new mice genetics to be transferred on in...will that mean a more inbred and less thriving mouse gene pool...one may only hope, eh but I bet falsely hoping.
On Van Isle...never had coyotes...that was a new predator but we have had no issues with our population and a healthy one it is (OK, in numbers perhaps...some of the 'yotes here are infected with Parvo and Mange...icrumba...poor beasts! Just means if you vac yer dogs, you are not wasting the efforts!). In fact, we brought in the new millennium listening to the pack of coyotes howling it up right before the midnight fireworks started up. I prefer the wild song celebrations far over the human boom bang rackette kinds.
Possum is one I know not much about...'coons are in Calgary (city) so even tho we figured that frozen water would keep them at bay (like to wash their eats), I guess in that southern city, they are making a home of it. Like the ravens, super adaptable and thriving in our human made environments. Our fault if we get plagued by them using us to succeed.
Setty Red Golden hen gettin' puffy at my close proximity to her and her eggers!
Pheasants are beau...
Two plus year old male Red Goldens
Trick with pheasants is to have a very secure well contained area for them...live long, prosper, eat very little, crap little too, pen of all boys gets on well but if you mix genders, can be rather aggressive (sorta like chickens in that aspect), there are huge kinds of pheasants some difficult to rear and others much easier...many of the pheasant species don't need supplemental heat in our severe winters...if you like or think you'd like some, read my article on my website on "Keeping Pheasants" (published front cover of the Feather Fancier back in March 2009) for pros and cons and tips on which species to start with.
Tales from Rat World, article 4
I think the best SIRPRIZE I got in the predator department was when Rick and I were building on the perimeter around the Taj...I needed him to do the posts around the perimeter so I could continue to put down gravel topped with limerock.
Taj Mahal for Mandarin Ducks was completed in 2010
happy sassy duck ducks
We drug our feets on the perimeter completion tho
Perimeter done like dinner now
Not a long job but long enough we stopped for a break to have coffees and goodies. He is sitting thar, I come round the corner and there I see a weasel in half and half coat (not pure white and not in summer coat) and I stop dead. If one does have a weasel, well I can profess you don't or won't know it unless they go rouge and start harvesting yer birds for you. Thankfully we have a plentiful replenishable resource for them...MICE...lotsa free loading vermin. Only time I have heard weasels going to poultry is when the snow is so deep they cannot get mice. At least that is the rule so far...rules keep altering.
I made a vested effort to click some pics of some of the sorts of wire we have here and will post that here for Deb to peruse.
Doggone & Chicken UP!
Tara Lee Higgins
Higgins Rat Ranch Conservation Farm, Alberta, Canada
Edit - forgot pics of Taj build...