- Sep 26, 2010
(if I made the link work right) Here is a photo of the duck I lost last night. He was a duckling when the photo was taken, helping me sort out some wool - but full grown when the raccoons got him. I'm super-sad because it was the most affectionate bird. It's the 9th dead Muscovy duck this week! Add 2 injured ducks and one seriously injured chicken to the mix and we can thank those nasty raccoons for choosing our farm for their dinner reservations.
Aside from the dwindling Muscovy duck population, I have two flocks of chickens. The 40+ leghorn hens (plus 4 bantam cocks to guard them) have been extremely jumpy since the day before the first raccoon attack. If one of them moves their head too fast, the rest of the flock spooks and scatters in all directions. They are most jumpy late afternoon through bedtime. They also start crowing at 4:30am which is new for them. I think that the raccoons are going near the hen house at these times.
With all these hurt and dead birds around, I'm beginning to despair. I don't know what else I can do to keep them safe. Death by raccoons is so horrid.
Live traps don't work. (I'm suspicious that these are urban transplants which are almost immune to traps - apparently it's kinder to have the raccoons kill farm animals than rummaging around city garbage cans) Poison and guard dogs are not an option for us. I've been clearing away all the brush but that makes no difference. [edit - I forgot to say: even if it was legal to fire a gun where we live, we don't have one.] We've stayed awake the last 4 nights with flash lights, patrolling the yard every hour or so to scare off the monsters - no luck. They still got poor Keats.
There are two lone raccoons and a gang of at least 6 raccoons that have suddenly found our yard - attacking the chickens during the day and the ducks at night. We had absolutely no problems with these predators for over a year. Why are they suddenly invading our yard? What more can I do to stop them? Should I just give up on poultry all together?