Barnyard Bandits

It’s been a hot and dry summer up here, and I think that’s why the predators have started to become more of a problem in our area.  Our vernal pools are low or empty, meaning that the peepers (what our forester calls “Nature’s little protein pills”) and other small prey animals are scarce.

Though we’ve seen a fox around the neighborhood, it hasn’t been a problem.  Our chief invaders right now are raccoons.  A week ago, one of our neighbors lost all but three of their layers when a raccoon broke into their coop.  They’ve since caught the bandit, but that doesn’t bring back their flock.  The next night, I shot another raccoon in our barn that was breaking into one of the feed bins.  Since then, I’ve killed three more.  Today, we found out that another neighbor lost a good portion of her flock to raccoons.

Then this morning, we discovered that one of our Barred Rocks, who chose the corner of an unused goat stall to set her nest, had five of her nine eggs stolen from right underneath her when a predator dug under the walls and grabbed them.  Fortunately, she was unhurt.

So, instead of getting some more wood put up, I had to do some modifications to the building to prevent further loss of either the chicken or her eggs. Here was my solution: hardware cloth attached to the base of the building and spread about 1′ outward.

In the pic above, you can see that this is the corner they dug under.  Hopefully this will help.

After securing all four sides, I buried the cloth in dirt (actually composted manure, because that’s one thing we have a ton of).

Finished project below… topped off with a live catch trap to hopefully snag the next bandit.

Hopefully, this keeps our future momma hen safe!

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