Turning the tables on Predators? ** don't read if you're squeamish

TexasTony

Chirping
10 Years
Jun 22, 2009
41
10
77
Lockhart
OK, FIRST BEFORE READING MORE, you've been warned that this isn't a pretty thread.

So here's my thoughts. I've been trapping coons & possums regularly for a while. I'm out on a ranch, so it seems like they're in endless supply. I'm not a catch & release guy, I don't want them coming back smarter nor do I want to ship them 10 miles out to make them somebody else's problem. So I drown them.

That's where the problem starts. No, drowning goes just fine. I have a barrel full of water & drop the live trap in there for a few hours. Don't drown them for just a couple of minutes, a friend tried that & they magically came back to life & boy was it a ticked off animal! No, I make sure they assume room temperature before I pull them up.

The problem has been what to do with the carcass. I've taken them to the far corners of the ranch, & vultures circle & neighbors call to ask what's died. I've dumped them closer to the house & you'd think that I died, or maybe a cow. I'm sorry, but 25 vultures hanging around for 3 day over a 5 lb possum just doesn't make sense to me. I tried burying them. I dug a nice 2'+ deep hole & dropped a coon in that first of this week. Two days later the vultures had dug up part of the body & working away at it.

Vultures are a problem in my area. Texas doesn't let me kill them unless I prove they are a serious problem. When my pond turned over on July 4th (it's a process where temperature changes cause the water to lose all it's oxygen), I had about 700 lbs of dead catfish & I had at least 100 vultures hanging around for weeks until it was all gone. Note, I appreciate them cleaning up the dead meat, it's better than if I had to bury it (& I'd have had to borrow my buddies backhoe to make a hole big enough to bury all of them). Vultures have their purpose and I'm OK with that.

But I don't want to start attracting other predators, like coyotes. So it got me thinking. I know chickens & ducks (I have both) are omnivores. What says I can't take these predators, and somehow turn them into feed for the fowl? I don't see why not. My only real question is what's the best way to do this. My first question is if there are issues doing this? Next, is it better cooked or raw (I figure cooking would kill any bacteria or diseases). After that is preparation (I'm thinking dress like other animals: skin it, gut it, & cut into pieces). I can't do anything with the skins, but the guts should be simple enough to cut into pieces, cook in a pot & serve straight up. The rest I can cook in a big stewpot (probably with the guts), and freeze until needed.

Any thoughts? I'm probably catching 10-20 lbs a week, so it's a fair amount of potential feed. And no, I won't be trying this with any skunks (haven't caught any yet, but occasionally I smell them & its just a matter of time).

Oh, one last comment. In my searching, I found some people who take the varmints & put them in some sort of hanging device to protect from the major predators. They let the flies & maggots decimate the meat, & as the maggots fall out the chickens catch & eat them. Sorry, I'm not interested in that. It'd still attract the vultures & other predators, and the smell is probably more than I want within 500 ft of the house. I don't mind doing some work, but I don't want thoughts that disgusting.

Thanks
Tony

PS: my wife reads these threads, I affectionately call her widow-zilla (no, that's not her login but should be!), and she doesn't necessarily even approve of dispatching the predators. So she's going to a bit mad a me for even starting this thread. With that in mind, let's not let this thread get more gruesome than it needs to be. I don't want to be inhumane or cruel.
 
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K8tieCat

Crowing
14 Years
Jan 15, 2007
590
38
266
Northern California
Wow, what a dilemma. Sounds like you may have free protein to feed your chickens. Lot of work tho. Do you have enough chickens to feed that much meat to? Perhaps you could dehydrate the meat and then grind it up, store it that way and use as needed.
 

halo

Got The Blues
14 Years
Nov 22, 2007
6,071
65
431
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
We have vultures around here, and I dont mind them at all. They will dispatch of a coon in a day, so I dont think that would be a problem. When I see vultures circling, I just figure something croaked and it will be taken care of. I consider them free clean up crews.
 

Mojo Chick'n

Empress of Chickenville
11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
5,261
17
261
Republic of Chickenville
I love the vultures, myself
big_smile.png


But, what I do is burn the carcass. I've also tried burial - the dog digs it up, or other critters will.

I've never drowned a predator before, I usually shoot them, so I don't know how much trouble it would be to burn it after it is soaking wet. Maybe if it were in with a bunch of other stuff to be burned and had a lot of fuel poured onto it.

As for cooking and feeding to the poultry, I'd be worried about disease or worms, I guess, and I doubt I'd want to go to all that trouble
lau.gif

Maybe racoon (or possum, or coyote, etc...) diseases don't pass to chickens, but I wouldn't want to take that chance.

good idea though, if it'll work for you.

meri
 

mikeksfarmer

Songster
11 Years
Sep 16, 2008
613
5
141
Bonner springs KS
What is wrong with vultures? the clean up dead things. A most recent thread said a man saw one carry off a cat. They dont have tallons! Didnt happen. They have been the best method of cleaning up dead for millions of years. Get them trained to one spot and they will work quicker.
A really hot bon fire will reduce a 20 pound dead animal pretty well and remove all potential of disease, smell and scavengers. You could build a bon fire for each dead animal. that takes a little work.
I dont mind my vultures and when they are south for the winter I have bon fires.
And for the times I dont have either I dig deep holes and some times put things on top of it to keep scavengers from digging it up.
Killing chicken perditors is not an act of eutopia !
 

buglit

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jan 14, 2009
99
1
31
Hendersonville, NC
TexasTony - I think that you have a great idea there. people around here eat racoons, dress them like any other animal, I'd boil until the meat falls off the bone and package for the freezer. It would kill any diseases or parasites. Good food for any dogs or cats that you might have around as well as the chickens. IMHO, shooting would be more humane than drowning though
 

Boyd

Recipient of The Biff Twang
10 Years
Mar 14, 2009
9,163
12
271
MI
I sort of had the same problem for a while. Unfortunately I don't have as much land as you do, so immediate disposal is what I do. Usually 2-3 raccoon carcasses go into a trash bag and then I double it up again.
 

Le Canard de Barbarie

Songster
10 Years
Jul 19, 2009
445
9
111
I know people up here in the Michigan UP that feed their sled dogs animal carcasses.

I feed my LGD puppy leftovers from slaughter, such as duck heads and feet. Don't see why she wouldn't like a taste of oppossum or raccoon once in a while. Problem is, I haven't seen any around lately.
 

TexasTony

Chirping
10 Years
Jun 22, 2009
41
10
77
Lockhart
Wow, lots of discussion!

Thanks for the ideas.

OK, let me go into it a bit more. Widowzilla has show dogs (Belgian Sheepdogs), and when I mentioned feeding the critters to them... (note that the dogs recently switched from all quality-dog-food to 80% raw (chicken necks, emu, beef cheeks, etc) & 20% dog food. It's actually had a very positive impact on the dogs. Teeth are cleaner, less food and hence less poop (but the bugs take care of that), but also less cost (other than having to buy another freezer))

But when I mentioned it I got the 'not just no but hell no' answer! OK, that's fine. And it makes sense to cook the predators to kill any parasites in them for the birds. My question then becomes how to serve to the birds? Right now I have a half dozen chickens and another half dozen ducks (planning to double/triple their size over the next year). They couldn't eat a whole coon in a day.

But can I take a leg of coon (yum yum, doesn't that make your mouth water), & just give that to them & let them pull the meat off the bone. Or do I need to put it through a grinder for them first? I'd just as well let them do as much of the work as possible!

Writing this while eating lunch... my BBQ just isn't as appetizing as it usually is.
sad.png


Tony

PS: I've had to burn carcasses before. I have had calves still-born & burned them in a brush pile. But it seems a bit overkill & more work than necessary for just a coon!

PPS: And thanks to everyone for not getting squeamish. It's not a pretty topic but is useful.
 
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