Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BorregoMike, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. BorregoMike

    BorregoMike Chirping

    Jun 30, 2018
    I pulled up to our house this afternoon and my chickens, I’ve got 30, were all loudly making a rhythmic cluck I’d not heard before. I looked over to their run, 24 x 16, and there was a bobcat slowly walking along the wire fence, about two feet from the fence. It did not look like it was trying to get at the chickens, it just walked by. As I walked back there the cat walked, but did not run, away, disappearing into the surrounding desert, which has some narrow arroyos in that area. The birds kept making the alarm sound until I went into the run and slowly, with a meal worm treat, calmed them down. Interestingly about half of the birds were in the coop while the others stayed outside within view of the cat.

    I have a 1/2 inch welded wire fence enclosing the run on all sides and top. This same wire is also buried out from the perimeter of the fence a couple of feet AND the entire run is surrounded by four strands of electric wire fence starting about six inches off the ground. The cat may have been zapped before I saw it, I don’t know.

    I assume the bobcat will come back. Coyotes are seen around here just about every day. They, along with hawks, are probably the main predators, although I have a friend who has lost hens to scorpions. Being chicks they peck and the scorpions sting back. The sting is painful not terribly harmful to people around here but I guess there’s enough venom to kill a bird.

    What was interesting in all of this was the rhythmic clucking sound. I am daily amazed by the instinctive knowledge and behavior that is packaged in chickens. In this case they all knew the sound to make and they all knew what it meant.

    Just a normal day for a desert flock keeper!
    Folly's place, aart, sourland and 2 others like this.
  2. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Songster

    Oct 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    Ah, cool! At least you know they can't easily get in. Maybe set up a trail cam and see if you can get some neat pics.
    townchicks likes this.
  3. BorregoMike

    BorregoMike Chirping

    Jun 30, 2018
    That’s a great idea. I’d love to get some shots of those critters getting zapped by the electric fence. I’ve zapped myself accidentally a few times and I compare it to getting hit with a watermelon, it doesn’t hurt you in a serious way but it gets your undivided attention.
    Hybridchucks, townchicks and BlueBaby like this.
  4. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Crossing the Road

    Mar 21, 2016
    Maricopa, AZ. (near Phoenix)
    Yes, those are the critter's that we get out here in the desert. Sometimes you can also smell a skunk passing through at night, or see them as a road kill.
  5. Hybridchucks

    Hybridchucks Queen Of The Coop

    Jul 13, 2016
    My Coop
    Ohh dear :lau
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Good thing you have the pen secured because bobcats tend to dig, I had one kill several of my birds some years ago. It killed and came back but did not leave the second time after killing a few more birds. This was before I put the electric wire up and was the reason I put the electric wire up.
    Backyard Bruce likes this.
  7. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Crowing

    Oct 27, 2016
    that is cool yet really scary.

    not sure what you can do with bob cats maybe trap it and kill it if you can. (desert cats can bring in a lot of money in the fur market)
  8. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Songster

    Oct 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    If it can't get at your birds and you don't have any other animals it threatens, I'd leave it alone. It'll keep the local population of rats and rabbits down some. If it is causing trouble, I know some companies make those cage traps big enough for bobcats, you could trap and humanely dispatch it. If you do wind up killing it, put it to use- maybe try skinning it for the hide, and leave the leftovers out where nature can take advantage of 'em. If you put it somewhere sheltered from large predators, you could get a cool skull and skeleton out of things.
  9. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Bobcats are smart. I'd bet it returns. My neighbor lost his flock to a bobcat; it managed to get in his run and couldn't get back out. What I learned from him is that a bobcat can squeeze through a much smaller opening than you'd imagine. Your set-up sounds secure, but it never hurts to take another look at it ;)
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

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