Any guesses at to what critter is lurking around my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Benelli, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Benelli

    Benelli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2009
    I have an old round bale of hay about 50 ft. from my coop and horses. It's in the fringe of my woods. My dog was down there yesterday sniffing around and I didn't give it much thought since I've been pulling the hay down and mixing it with horse and chicken manure to get a compost pile going. I figured he was eating the poo.

    This morning at 5:00 a.m. I'm out feeding and watering the critters. My horses are acting normal for feeding time, my wether goat is really quiet(I thought something was wrong with him) and my kitten is acting normal. I turn around and my 90lb American bulldog is running, tuck tailed from the round bale area looking over his shoulder the whole time and will not come back. He hides on the porch. Then as I'm looking over my shoulder finishing up my chores in semi-darkness, I notice my rooster has quit crowing and is looking in the same direction. I decided not to let the chooks free range today since I didn't know what was going on.

    Tonight when I got home and started chores again, I noticed my dog is back down there at the round bale. I go down and check it out. Something has pulled hay off the round bale and bedded down in an area about 4x2 right up against the bale. No marks/tracks, as it's heavily laden with pine straw and woodly stuff no animal poo beside the compost pile around the other side. So I kicked the area up and then took the compost manure and sprinkled it over the area in hopes whatever it was sleeps elsewhere.

    So, my neighbors and I are thinking either a coyote because I know they're pretty smart or a big cat that returns about every five to six months. I don't think a deer would pull hay out of a bale and if the dog saw it he'd chase it. That I know for sure. There was a coyote on the porch about a month ago with my dog in his kennel and he was going balistic trying to get at it. Fox burrow normally and this area was way too big a space for a bobcat to want and they normally don't sleep out in the open like that either. So I'm a little unnerved about not knowing what it is. I just went out to check on everyone and my big brave dog wouldn't come with me, he just kept looking into the woods and stayed in front of the house.

    I am impressed that it was smart enough to pull hay down and use it for bedding. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Julie_A

    Julie_A Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Brewton, Ala.
    Where do you live, Benelli?
     
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Sasquach?

    Imp
     
  4. cwhit590

    cwhit590 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SW Michigan
    hmmm....quite the mystery.....[​IMG]

    It would help knowing where you're located.

    Was the 'bed' on the side of the bale facing the coop/barn or facing the woods? and do your horses/goat have access to this area?


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  5. CedarRidgeChicks

    CedarRidgeChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    Adair Co.Ky
    Hmmm??..the coyotes here very seldom are alone and they don't lay/sit out in the "open". We had an old round bale at the edge of the pasture last year; one morning I looked out to see a fox sunning on top. My son went down later that day and found a den underneath the bale. My AmBs howl when the coyotes pass through on the hill behind and bark at skunks, deer & horses. Maybe a cat..bobcat? but would it pull down the hay? I'm curious as to what others say..

    Sandi
     
  6. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

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    Oberlin, OH
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Benelli

    Benelli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mid-western GA near the AL line. We have tons of coyotes here, big bobcats, and a few big cats that travel through about three times a year. It bedded down on the side facing the coop, goat and horses. All are with a 120 foot area. The horses freak out when deer are around. The coyotes don't seem to bother them. It was feeding time and the horses act like idiots. If something bothers them they usually start snorting and facing the threat at attention. None of which they did. Normally when the cat is around, they have their backs in a corner under my dusk to dawn light and they weren't sleeping like that last night.
     
  8. Julie_A

    Julie_A Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Brewton, Ala.
    I'm in South Alabama... I'll betcha it was a bobcat. Did you hear anything? I hate that cough/bark/scream they have. Makes the hair on the back of my neck tingle thinking about it.
     
  9. Julie_A

    Julie_A Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Brewton, Ala.
    Maybe the horses didn't smell whatever it was...
     
  10. Benelli

    Benelli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, the horses can't get to the old bale. The goat doesn't go down into the woods unless he's with me and he's in his pen at night. The chickens only go down in that area when free ranging and normally don't hang out in that area.
     

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