What are your plans for natural disasters (hurricanes, etc.)...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kitkatbahr, May 11, 2010.

  1. kitkatbahr

    kitkatbahr Songster

    Apr 25, 2009
    Merritt Island, FL
    Hi all,

    Now that I have 11 ducks, my husband has asked me what are we going to do if we have to evacuate for hurricanes? We live on the East Coast of Florida, on Merritt Island, in a manufactured home. We have had to evacuate before when all those hurricanes came through, back to back. At that time, we had one dog, and lots of cats that went with us, as I was fostering, had my own, plus some ferals. Now, we have three dogs, much less cats, and eleven ducks.

    What do others do with their ducks and chickens if you have to evacuate? Do you take them with you, along with tons of cages (like we did with out cats. We went to my sister's house, on the mainland and set up 20+ cages in her front living room. That was fun. LOL). Do you just leave them and hope their coop will protect them? What on earth do you do?

    Florida is known for lots of hurricanes, and we are coming up on the season. June 1 - Nov. 30 (I think). So, that is a long time. But, we need to make plans NOW, to know what to do when / if the time comes.

    Just curious as to what others do, or if anyone has any ideas, etc.

    Merritt Island, FL

  2. Happycheese

    Happycheese In the Brooder

    Apr 8, 2010
    Carlisle, PA
    I'm not really in a hurricane area, but I do have plans if I ever have to move my animals. For my ducks I just have a large rabbit cage, but it has a solid floor. They are pretty easy to herd in the pen, then in a confined space, picked up and loaded.
  3. Jody

    Jody Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Epping, NH
    I'd take them with me and where ever I'd go, I'd close up the back of my pickup truck and let them stay in the bed. Of course I would have straw/bedding etc in there for them. A cap would do, but my truck has a rack, so I'd just tie down some tarps on the sides and top, or perhaps plywood, chicken wire, etc.. an 8ft x4ft PU bed should be enough room for the ducks on a temporary basis.... OR, maybe if you have enough warning to evacuate, rent a small enclosed Uhaul trailer and they can use the trailer as their temporary hurricane house.. Of course you don't want to drive around with them roaming free inside it though.. Put them in cage/carriers etc for the driving part.
    Last edited: May 11, 2010
  4. chickenlittle1980

    chickenlittle1980 Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    In the event I dont leave everybody is going in my garage! I have a friend who puts her horse in her garage. Ducks in ex pens chickens in dog crates But if I do have to leave I think i will put them in dog creates and take them with me! .........hurricane is a four letter word here in costal NC!!!!! Stop it!!!!!! I guess I would be camping in a family members yard with my pop up camper with 10 dogs 4 cats 8 chickens and some ducks!

    no more hurricane talk!!!! stop it
  5. OmaBird

    OmaBird Songster

    May 10, 2010
    CA High Desert
    When I first moved here it took two weeks to move all the animals in even with profesional movers. One week later Southern Ca started on fire. The fire was pretty close. I knew there was no way to get all the animals out in a short amount of time. Many of the animals where not even allowed at the evacuation stations. The best we could do if we had to leave is let them loose. We did get lucky and did not have to leave. I don't have as many animals as I use to but I still have more than I could move in a short time.
  6. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    I have read that some shelters are allowing people to bring animals when evacuations are recommended/mandated. The rationale is that people were staying in their homes because they refused to leave their animals behind. This often resulted in people requiring more resource intensive and dramatic rescues later on.

    If you are in an area such as Florida or other areas prone to natural disasters, there is probably some sort of emergency planning through your local government of emergency services or even Red Cross. You could contact them so see what their policies are in general. Of course, they might only be counting on folks bringing the family dog, not a flock of 20 ducks! But it certainly wouldn't hurt to know in advance what your general options are. Your local Humane Society might be able to give you some answers as well. The ASPCA and others have done a lot of work with animal victims of disasters. Perhaps you could work with any of those groups to advance options for those who view their animals as family rather than as just possessions.

    Thanks for posing this question! I hadn't really given it much thought before as I'm not in an area prone to those kinds of disasters. Big wind from hurricanes or tornados would be my biggest issue, so my basement would be my best bet. I figure my house has survived 150 years...But I can't say the same for my coop; I was thrilled my set-up survived the weight of all the snow this winter.

    Good luck to you and I hope that you never need to have to utilize your plans!
  7. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    We caught two of the five storms that hit Florida back in '04 so have had reason to think about this sort of thing. Taking your dog with you in a bug-out is one thing. Taking a flock of birds is quite another. I suppose a few would be doable but the larger the flock the more difficult it becomes.

    I use tractors so in the event of a really high wind situation I'll be tying them down. Three pieces of rebar (two on one side, one on the other) with rope thrown over the top, pulled down tight, then tied down tight to the rebar. If I can find them cheap I may even use ground anchors.


  8. kitkatbahr

    kitkatbahr Songster

    Apr 25, 2009
    Merritt Island, FL
    Yeah, we were in all three of those bad hurricanes in 04. Lost half the roof on the house with the first one. Thankfully, DH knew how to fix it. We didn't wait for insurance. Just took lots of pics of the damage, kept receipts of materials and he fixed it ASAP, which is good, cause we had a huge shortage of tarps and shingles right after that. LOTS of people waited for insurance and it took months and months with just blue tarps on their roofs. Then they had to go through a couple more hurricanes, cause they all came back to back. My ex-husband did that. He went from a small part of his roof damaged and put a tarp on it, to losing the entire house, due to water damage because of the next hurricane. It was horrible. He was out of the house for over a year, cause once insurance finally approved everything, then he had to find contractors to do the work, completly redo the inside and outside and roof, etc. I am sooooo glad my husband was pro-active and fixed ours immediately. We didn't have the money, but ran to the bank and got a loan, thankfully. Insurance finally did approve it and paid us back. The guy said it looked like a professional roofing job. My DH is an engineer, but knows how to do all sorts of stuff. Once again, thankfully!

    Anyway, that was when we loaded up 24 cats plus 20 cages, plus 1 dog and stayed at my sister's. We had to stay for two weeks the first time. Couldn't even get back on the island for a few days. Then found out the damage to the house and had to fix it. Got home in time to turn around and evacuate AGAIN!! Stayed for a few days that time,. then what was it, like two weeks later, the third hurricane came through and we had to pack everything/everybody up again and evacuate again. Awful, awful, awful. The hazards of living in Florida and on an island! LOL

    Now I only have 3 housecats and 10 outside cats, so lots less cats, but as I said in my first post, I now have three dogs and 11 ducks. I would not want to leave them here. We did stay through a small hurricane about 2 years ago. Forget which one. I locked the ducks in their houses during the worst of it and just watched and made sure they didn't get too wet. I had tarps tied around the houses to try and keep the wind and rain out. That worked, but that was when I only had a few ducks! LOL This year, my numbers have increased.

    So, it is definitely something we need to think about. My sister still lives nearby and in her house. So, if she was willing to do it again, I guess we could go there again, to the mainland. Even then, it isn't the safest place, but at least it is inland and a house rathr than a mobliel home. The ducks would go with us, and maybe stay in her garage, in crates, as well as the cats and the three BIG dogs.

    My husband is talking about building a "Safe Room" so we don't even have to leave. During the 04 hurricanes, the power was out here for over 2 weeks! I guess we could handle that though. It would be like doing some hard core camping. And, we do have a generator, but gas would be a problem. Everyone ran out of gas for quite some time too in 04. We usually fill our many 5 gallon cans at the start of the season, and stack up 5 gallon jugs of water, lots of food (canned) etc. just in case. Stores are closed for days at a time.

    The shelters in the area don't let you take animals. Lots of people left theirs behind. I actually found some when we got back on the island and kept them til we could find the owners. I know the one or two that "might" take a dog or cat will not allow a flock of ducks. The animals that can go to shelters have to have health certificates, rabies shots, etc. Ducks don't get that stuff, so they would certainly not be allowed. I think they would consder them a health hazard. The SPCA did take in some animals (dogs and cats) for people that got there soon enough to get the very little available space they had. These past two years, the shelters are so full they are overlfowing, so I don't see them taking any in this year, cause they don't have anywhere to put them.

    Lots to think about. Thank you for the ideas, suggestions and experiences you all have had.

    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  9. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    Last year we left all the gates open, taped our name and number to the halters of the horses, taped our numbers to the chickens we could catch, hunkered down and waited. The girls ended up down the road with my neighbors horses. There were about 4 horses I had never seen before and I realized they were strays lost in the storm. I ended up saddling up Mama, having my girls follow me home and then turning around and catching all the loose horses. Mac, a stallion, was the hardest. He lives four miles down the road and I was ponying him on my mare. It was a total mess, but he did pretty good and only tried to act flirty once. The other two horses went back to their property and stood in a far corner until S.L. came to fix his fence. Angel, the horse from down the road just past the cemetery, didn't show back up for almost a month. With all this forestry god knows where she went off to.

    Long story short, it was a mess in my neck of the woods last year and there wasn't that much damage to speak of! A few downed trees, some damaged fencing, and no animals lost [aside from Angel].

    This year we are going to be packing up all the tame birds, locking up the house cats, the dogs, and tying everything loose down. We have much less trees to worry about as they lumber company cleared most of the pines. There are a few left, but I don't think I'll be leaving gates open for the girls to run free if a tree crashes through their fence. We're pretty far inland, but I used to live right off the coast.

    Hurricane Katrina was the worst. We had a stallion that year, no one was willing to take him in. We were living on 14 acres then, surrounded by ponds and lakes, and had a bayou running on the side of the property that didn't have full time water. We had almost 1000 chickens when Katrina touched down. They were all in tractors, every single one of them some in twos and threes. Between the tractors being blown away, chickens included, and the MASS flooding, we lost all but 300 birds. Baby [the stallion] was found wedged between two downed trees with his halter caught in the branches. His gentle nature is the only thing that kept him from breaking his neck trying to get away. It was during Katrina we decided to move furthur away from the bay, and ended up where we are now.

    So, thanks to Katrina and Ike we make plans at the start of every season picking our choice birds to take with us if we have to evacuate, etc. Cats, dogs, all of those included.

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