Friday, July 6, 2007

Wild Animals

I've got 1 dead red, 1 wounded red (I hope she recovers.... bit in the ass), 1 white that is going in the fryer tonight (ripped the skin off the breast), and 1 white that may or may not survive (I had to amputate about 1/2 of her wing.... if she beats an infection, she will be fine, if not, into the stew pot.... minus the wing of course)

No, I won't be putting up pictures. Maybe I'll put up a picture of the bent cage and the blood on the 2x4, but I don't see a need to put up a picture of a bird's ripped up wing.

I'm pissed. This was either an interrupted attack or an investigation attack. Simply because no chickens were removed. The wire at the bottom of the cage is bent a little, I figure the attacker tried to pull the birds out through the wire. I also suspect there were 2 attackers.... 1 to chase the birds into 1 corner of the pen and the other to bite them when they piled up. This all points towards the coyotes that live behind us. I was cool with them till they decided to try to eat my chickens. So now 1 (or 2) of them is a dead coyote walking and I'm looking at getting a Komondore, Akabash, or a Maremma. Totally what we need, another dog. Sigh. Anyway, I guess I'm sleeping out in the field tonight with Grish and Athena and a 12 Gauge.

In the long run, Grish and Athena are unlikely to get the job done. They have been socialized to be pets. I have faith that if I got into a fight either of them would jump in a whoop some ass. Athena, being the bully she is, might actually be a pretty good bet to keep coyotes away. She is kinda small though (60-75lbs) and if there if it is pack of coy-dogs (or dogoytes) I'd rather not risk her by herself. Grish is simply too old and his knee is too bad to ask him to fight a wild animal. So its Athena to wake me up and me to do the killing.

I think a pair of Akabash's or even GSD that I run through Shutzhund training would be an outstanding long term solution. The problem with that is that its almost a year before I would be willing to risk even a pair of GSD's outside vs the coyotes alone. The other problem is that they need to socialized with their herd animals at 8 weeks old.... and I don't own any lambs yet. That was next years project. So what do I do now? I'm not worried about the reds, they will go into a mobile egg laying facility soon that will be surrounded by electric poultry fence. Coyotes are unlikely to jump this after it shocks them on the nose once, so the reds ought to be ok. I think for the broilers I will order my electric fence sooner than later. I was planning on getting electric fence that reels up like a fishing line. You can quickly move this around to make instant pasture divisions. The plan was to use this to force the sheep to graze the patch of land immediately in front of the chicken pens so that the chickens could then go on the short grass. (I can't drag a chicken pen on the 2-3 foot grass I've got) I guess I need it now.

Once a predator gets a taste of livestock, they come back, mostly because livestock is pretty stupid and easy to kill. I can catch a chicken..... I can barely SEE a jackrabbit before it is up to 30mph and into the tall grass and don't even get me started on the things I've seen the antelope in the backyard do. Its a shame that these coyotes have to die, but then again, its only a coyote. If it was a wolf, I'd be calling the State game warden to come trap it and take it away. Coyotes are like pigeons.... humans encroachment has only seemed to help them since they can tolerate us better than the things that used to beat them down (like lions and wolves)