A happy ending. So far.............or was it?

Solsken Farm

12 Years
I posted earlier in the summer about the 5 racoon babies and their mama who moved in to our barn. After much deliberation, we took the advice of our wildlife rehabber (a former trapper and hunter) who encouraged us to feed them until they left. He gave us dog food and we did this all summer.

I was nervous all summer, as those things got HUGE over time. HUGE!!!!!!!!!!

About a 6 weeks ago, I followed the plan of action and began moving the food outside towards the woods, a few feet at a time until it was a ways from the barn. Then one day, I just stopped. They went away.

The racoons are gone. I think. I hope. I am relieved.

We have a very secure coop, I think. i hope.

Turns out the chickens are pretty safe. Unlike our cats. Our 3 beloved cats, one of which we have had for 15 years, were snatched by a fisher, we believe. Within a week they all vanished.
We have never lost a cat, and it all happened so quickly we didn't realize at first what was going on. I'm so sad for our kitties to go that way. This predator stuff is brutal.................
According to my research, they can and do, but there would have been evidence of this. And our two barn cats are still out in the barn, alive. I worried as the summer progressed about the safety of the cats. Also, there would have been remains. Our cats literally vanished, and one of them never hunted in her life and was predominantly a house cat. She only went out to sit on our porch and go potty....

The consensus around these parts are that a fisher entered our door yard at night and took our cats.

Fishers eat chickens. I keep tightening up the coop wherever I can.
Congratulations on your "success." If the cats vanished without a trace, I think they got terrified of the huge raccoons and fled in search of safer grounds. Well let's hope that is all that happened.

Personally I would look for another option instead of turning loose well fed, pumped up super predators onto the land. Now they are ready to multiply and create a plague like infestation in your neck of the woods. They will probably multiply and come back ten times stronger. Within the next few years you will probably see your raccoon problem grow exponentially because due to your assisting the natural selection process unknowingly. Now they have a real leg up in the battle of the survival of the fittest.

Are there other humane options for dealing with predators more decisively and perhaps more favorably?
Debo's Chickens :

Debo's Chickens :

Please excuse my ignorance, but what is a fisher?

I think I already found it in another thread. A fishercat, North American Marten? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishercat

They are an amazing predator and many of us in this area dread them. They are super stealthlike and elusive. Cats are one of their favorite meals. We had a cat about 10 years ago come home with a serious bite out of his rump, and the vet was almost certain it was a fisher.

Our hearts are broken. We miss our kitties terribly.

I am thankful that our coop, so far, has kept our chicks safe.​
Solsken: You are a kinder person than I am! What a nice thing you did for those coons
At one point in my life, I would have done the same thing. But ... After the bat infestation in our home, where we did the "humane" thing and caught all 40+ bats and released them miles away from our home, we found out that it is now reccomeded that if you are even in the same room with a wild bat, you should get vaccinated for rabies
Our whole family had to get thousands of dollars worth of vaccines. It was AWFUL. So, if I ever manage to get the coon who is killing my chickens in my sights, I am killing it. Not just because it is feeding on my girls, but also because they are vectors of disease. Hope yours stay away!!
I certainly appreciate your concerns. We have 200 acres and alot of wildlife. Our nearest neighbor is about 1/4 to the north and south and about a mile to the east and west. We have fisher, coon, coyote, skunk, weasels, porcupine, hawks, rats, bobcat......I could go on. Going on a rampage trying to take out everything out there isn't my style, nor does it make sense. We have lived here pretty peacefully for 15 years, with the loss of our cats being the first incident. Had we known they were actually disappearing, we would have locked them inside, but it happened too quickly for us to realize.

There is no evidence of anything trying to enter the coop at this point. Our horses and goats seem to help act as a deterrent. If the day comes that I find scratch marks or broken or gnawed wood, I am making the coop 'hot' on the outside and will continue to try to tighten it up. I am honestly most worried about weasels and rats at this point as the coop has some doors that have small gaps at the bottom.

I appreciate your kind and civil response. I certainly do not think my way works for everyone, but it seems to have worked for us.

PS- Folks around here build bathouses to attract bats. They keep the mosquito population down.

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