Will it ever end?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Paganbird, May 6, 2009.

  1. Paganbird

    Paganbird CrescentWood Farm

    Apr 25, 2009
    Western Pa
    After catching 5 racoons, a possum, and a neighbor's cat, I thought that maybe we had the predator problem under control. I had the traps set for 3 nights with nothing touching the bait. Last night, I only set one trap - and I didn't even put new bait in it. It just had a half of a 3 day old peanut butter sandwich in it. Went out to let the chickens out this morning and there's ANOTHER racoon in the trap.
    We haven't had any losses in weeks due to a coop renovation. I have just been setting these traps for my own peace-of-mind.
    Does anyone else set traps every night? Should I just keep setting them until I don't get anything for a few weeks? Or do you think I'm encouraging them to come around by putting out food (in traps) every night? I'd like to hear some opinions on this. We've now caught 6 raccoons and a possum. (We took the neighbor's cat back to its home & haven't seen it since.) I knew about the possum. I guessed there might be a racoon or two... but this is getting crazy! Will it ever end?
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
    No. However, continued retirement of chicken eating vermin will decrease the overall frequency of predation. This is particularly true if you free range at all (supervised or not).

    We averaged 30 raccoons a year from `97-`06. A mid-April freeze in `07 nearly wiped out that year's raccoon contingent. Opossums have come back strong, but only twelve raccoons (May `07 - May `09) since the freeze. Of course, I'm sure, with the corn going into rotation again, this year, we'll spike again sometime in Jan/Feb `10 (breeding season).
     
  3. Paganbird

    Paganbird CrescentWood Farm

    Apr 25, 2009
    Western Pa
    Wow... that really puts it into perspective.
    So, do you keep a trap set every night? I'm going to keep setting it every night for now, but it can be a hassle sometimes.
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    We started out with one. We now use three standards. Legholds and snares for foxes and coyotes (only employed when there is sign), though we've shot more foxes than we've trapped.

    I don't have time to waste with these predators so I make it as simple as possible: Keep the havaharts off of the ground with 2"x2"s (prevents digging/scat buildup) and 40lb. pavers on top (keeps the smart ones from tipping them over). I can pith the offender, rebait/reset the trap without having to clean it, and be done in ten minutes.

    Depends on your predator load. We are in a funnel created by the geography and human population spread that pretty much concentrates all comers in this area.

    They are always set.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  5. Paganbird

    Paganbird CrescentWood Farm

    Apr 25, 2009
    Western Pa
    Well, for a year, we had absolutely NO predators at all bothering our chickens. Then we had a possum show up in the coop one day - it had been stealing eggs - and it killed my favorite hen while she was sitting on the nest.
    Once that chicken had been killed, that's when the racoons started to show up. I've seen fox in the area, but none have bothered our chickens... yet.
    The racoons were the biggest problem because they'd crawl up on the roof & pry an opening to get into the coop. We took care of it and reinforced around the top of our coop. We haven't lost chickens since, but I'm concerned that if a predator is scouting the area, they'll find a way in sooner or later.
    We live down a dirt road in rural western Pa that leads to state gamelands. I have seen possum, racoons, fox, bobcats, and hawks. Neighbors have reported seeing bears and coyotes.
    When we set the claw traps, all we got was the possum, so I don't think the foxes are interested yet. I like the idea of raising the other trap so I don't have to scrub it and WD-40 it every day.
    Thanks for the advice.
     
  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    If there are chickens, they will come...

    We, too, went nearly a year without a problem (coons/opossums were already being dealt with), then the foxes showed up. They killed one. Another was grabbed up while we were standing within ten yds. of the chook and twenty yd.s from the wood line (fox didn't make it but the chook did - four stitches).

    The reason we went to three traps was owing to the night we had one raccoon in the trap and two on the top of the coop pulling off the shingles (growling chooks over the baby monitor can be most useful...).

    It is only a peaceable kingdom when the rifle remains handy and the bait is fresh.

    Take care and good luck!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  7. bayside chick

    bayside chick Out Of The Brooder

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    I wondered the same thing after catching about 12 - 15 coons , and an opposum or two ,not to mention many several times of having the trap tripped with nothing in it [​IMG]

    Now I seem to have thinned out the heard , and only set the trap when there are signs of "problems" [​IMG]
     
  8. Paganbird

    Paganbird CrescentWood Farm

    Apr 25, 2009
    Western Pa
    Yeah, I think I finally got the main offenders. I had a couple days with no activity at all - bait still there and everything.
    Yesterday morning I went out and found we had caught a crow!
    If a crow is the worst around right now - then I'm doing okay.
     
  9. mmtillman

    mmtillman Chillin' With My Peeps

    We set our trap each night and seldom catch anything...hope that means our predator problem is a small one??
     

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