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Gehanna
06-22-2005, 01:37 AM
Sassy, who is one of my dogs, is missing. Two of my Pigeons were killed and a third has been seriously injured. Three of my Roosters and several Hens have been killed.

This has happened over the last few days and my husband and I are trying desperately to do everything we can to keep our animals safe but we are failing desperately. Whatever it is keeps managing to get past all of the boarding up we've done, all of the fencing and etc.

I now keep all of my dogs in the house at night because I am afraid for them and the injured Pigeon is in the house under our care but we can't keep the rest of the animals safe and I don't know what to do. I don't even know what we are up against. There are no tracks that we can find, no animal hairs left behind or anything like that! Just the partial remains of the animals that were killed.

I am very upset and to be honest, I can't keep acting like this isn't bothering me because it is bothering me very much. I love all my animals. My husband is angry and we just don't know what to do.

We thought we had a secure environment for our animals and up until now, nothing like this has ever happened. Does anyone have any suggestions of what we should do?

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Cathy C
06-22-2005, 02:53 AM
:( I'm so sorry, Gehanna! I raise livestock, so I know how it feels to feel powerless. Have you found any tracks around your pens? You might consider wetting down the area around the pens until it's muddy so that tracks will show up in the mud from "visitors" during the night. For pigeons and chickens, watch for foxes, skunks (yep, they're not just vegetarians!), feral cats and stray dogs. It's possible that your dog chased after the intruder and got hurt, and I'm really sorry about that.

Don't know if it helps much, but at least you might be able to identify the problem. There are tracking books in the hunting section of bookstores to help you identify the animal once you have a good track. (I'm presuming it's an animal at this point, since humans don't often leave the dead critter. They just steal them.)

Good luck!

Gehanna
06-22-2005, 03:14 AM
Those are some good ideas. We will give them a try and we thank you for your suggestions and compassion.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

DreamWeaver
06-22-2005, 03:25 AM
I am so sorry for your losses and your animals' injuries.

If you are in the US, your local county extension service may be able to help you identify the predator, or at least should be able to tell you which predators are active in your area.

Coyotes were a big problem where I lived in Illinois, and are a growing problem here in Florida and in Georgia. I've heard they can be found in all 48 contiguous states, now.

Kris

Gehanna
06-22-2005, 03:57 AM
Thank You DreamWeaver. :)

Fern
06-22-2005, 05:13 AM
Have you tried calling your local game ranger to see if they might offer suggestions?

Charlotte M. Leslie
06-22-2005, 06:41 AM
Gehanna, I'm so sorry. How horrible for you and the animals. It sounds like the work of a mountain lion or puma to me. Coyote cannot scale walls, fences.The puma can,and does. I would suspect the big cat, before any other predator.The cat may have young ones and is coming in close for food. Hope this helps.

Rose
06-22-2005, 07:01 AM
Gehanna, I wish you all the speed and luck in solving this problem. I'm so very sorry to hear that it happened.

MacAllister
06-22-2005, 03:50 PM
I agree with Charlotte--big cats are very hard on dogs, and as their territory overlaps more and more with inhabited areas, attacks are an increasing problem.

Have you called Fish and Game, to see if there have been any reported encounters in your area?

Gehanna
06-22-2005, 05:27 PM
I had not considered utilizing the mentioned resources. I did not realize that they would assist the individual. I assumed that their focus was on farmers or land preserves or something like that.

Me and my assumptions. I am learning many lessons from all this that's for sure. I just wish it did not have to come at the expense of my animals.

Guilt is attacking me. I gotta remember that I am not God almighty and that I can't prevent everything.

awatkins
06-22-2005, 09:55 PM
Gehanna, I'm so sorry to hear about this! The others have offered some great advice. Hope some of it helps. Did you find your dog? :(

Tried to post this earlier this morning but the board wouldn't let me....

Gehanna
06-22-2005, 10:58 PM
No, my dog has not been found. There aren't any traces of her either. We looked all over our property.

The thing is, I am now beginning to realize one of the reasons why this is happening. It is causing me to have to face other issues that are surfacing for me as a result. Things like powerlessness, acceptance of the fact that some things can not be controlled and guilt among others.

Life and it's opportunities to put into practice those things we've learned before seems never ending and yet this Life as we know it does end.. or so it is said.

I don't fear Death. I just don't like how it looks sometimes from this side of consciousness but then again, who am I to pass judgment on appearances especially when I claim to abhor those who do.

SRHowen
06-27-2005, 01:18 AM
What state are you located in? How far out of the city or near a wild life area? Have you considered humans as the cause?

Several small animals can get in--even rats can do a lot of damage and get in through a hole the size of a quarter. Skunks and badgers as well, wolverines too.

A big cat would claw things up pretty good to get in, a wild dog as well would dig and tear stuff up, a fox tends to grab and run, might even be a small feral or non-domestic cat. Most of the big cats don't go into human areas unless they get pretty hungry.

If you want to let me know where you are at I might be able to come up with some ideas, as well as letting me know what sort of structures they are getting into.

I'll ask that you please don't set traps--I know that your animals getting hurt is hard to understand and take--but there are other means to protect your critters and bot hurt the wild life for doign what come natural to them.

PM me if you want.

Gehanna
06-27-2005, 01:54 AM
Hello again to all. :)

I discovered that I am not the only one in my area with this problem. The people who live on each side of me have more land than I do and they are having problems with something attacking their animals to.

One of the men told my husband that Raccoons are responsible. I have not seen any in the area but this would explain things very well. Raccoons are quite adept at getting what they want.

Doyle
06-27-2005, 02:21 AM
I love fresh eggs and have kept chickens for years. I have done in two skunks and two raccoons. But my biggest problem was several years ago. I was losing a chicken almost every day. One of the neighbors said he saw a fox. Then one day, I heard the chickens making a ruckus, and when I rounded the corner there was a bobcat (!!!!!) with one of my hens. I shooed the cat away and called Fish & Game, I figured they would catch the critter and take it far away (I live in California -- bobcats are kinda protected). That afternoon a ranger stopped by to look over my situation, saw that I was serious about my chicken operation. He told me that I could "take it" -- I didn't understand, I told him I didn't know how to catch it to take it anywhere. He said, "No, I mean you can shoot it!" Wow -- it took me a couple of days and two more loses until I finally trpped the cat in the chicken coop and popped it in the head with a borrowed 22. Then I skinned it for the pelt. Bobcats are very tough to hunt or trap. They do not eat carrion and must make a fresh kill every day or so. Their number one food is quail -- to a bobcat a chicken is just a really big quail. Are the quail gone in your area? Could be a sign.

Number two story -- even stranger. My parents lived inland from me about 70 miles and kept chickens too. My dad started losing a chicken every day or two. He predator proofed the pen. Still kept losing chickens. Could not figure it out. No tracks, no nothing. Finally he wired the whole yard to a whole bunch of lights, the whole thing ending up at a master switch by his rocker. Then he sat down with a Thermos of coffee and the old family shotgun. Sometime around midnight there was a ruckus in the yard, woke my dad up, he threw the master switch, and low and behold -- there on one of the fence posts was a Great Horned Owl blinded by the lights!!!!. So my dad leveled off with the shotgun and pulled the trigger. The way he used to tell it, "There were feathers everywhere!" Over 6 feet in wingspan, and the talons were larger than a mans palm. It was huge!

So, something is getting your animals. If you have covered all the basics, 'coons, skunks, and foxes -- then start thinking of something more exotic. I used trip wires to trap the bobcat. Maybe a trip wire with a camera will help you know what it it. It will be a lot easier to deal with the predator when you know what it is.

Best of luck, and be sure to let us know what happens. Also keep in mind that you have a good story going. One last odd chicken story, had a friend who actually saw a vulture drop down and pick a hen up out of his yard. Next time he saw them circling he let off with the shotgun, and they never came back.

SRHowen
06-27-2005, 05:56 AM
I love fresh eggs and have kept chickens for years. I have done in two skunks and two raccoons. But my biggest problem was several years ago. I was losing a chicken almost every day. One of the neighbors said he saw a fox. Then one day, I heard the chickens making a ruckus, and when I rounded the corner there was a bobcat (!!!!!) with one of my hens. I shooed the cat away and called Fish & Game, I figured they would catch the critter and take it far away (I live in California -- bobcats are kinda protected). That afternoon a ranger stopped by to look over my situation, saw that I was serious about my chicken operation. He told me that I could "take it" -- I didn't understand, I told him I didn't know how to catch it to take it anywhere. He said, "No, I mean you can shoot it!" Wow -- it took me a couple of days and two more loses until I finally trpped the cat in the chicken coop and popped it in the head with a borrowed 22. Then I skinned it for the pelt. Bobcats are very tough to hunt or trap. They do not eat carrion and must make a fresh kill every day or so. Their number one food is quail -- to a bobcat a chicken is just a really big quail. Are the quail gone in your area? Could be a sign.

Number two story -- even stranger. My parents lived inland from me about 70 miles and kept chickens too. My dad started losing a chicken every day or two. He predator proofed the pen. Still kept losing chickens. Could not figure it out. No tracks, no nothing. Finally he wired the whole yard to a whole bunch of lights, the whole thing ending up at a master switch by his rocker. Then he sat down with a Thermos of coffee and the old family shotgun. Sometime around midnight there was a ruckus in the yard, woke my dad up, he threw the master switch, and low and behold -- there on one of the fence posts was a Great Horned Owl blinded by the lights!!!!. So my dad leveled off with the shotgun and pulled the trigger. The way he used to tell it, "There were feathers everywhere!" Over 6 feet in wingspan, and the talons were larger than a mans palm. It was huge!

So, something is getting your animals. If you have covered all the basics, 'coons, skunks, and foxes -- then start thinking of something more exotic. I used trip wires to trap the bobcat. Maybe a trip wire with a camera will help you know what it it. It will be a lot easier to deal with the predator when you know what it is.

Best of luck, and be sure to let us know what happens. Also keep in mind that you have a good story going. One last odd chicken story, had a friend who actually saw a vulture drop down and pick a hen up out of his yard. Next time he saw them circling he let off with the shotgun, and they never came back.

You make me sick.

There are so few wild cats left, yes even bobcats, and there are other choices to shooting them--

I've raised chickens for years and have never had a problem, I once had a fox getting in--but the fault was mine for not having a pen it couldn't get into.

<shaking head>

Most cats won't hunt by people unless starvation (too many people in their area) or they have kittens to care for. People like you are the reason people like me have to hand raise kittens, if they are lucky enough to be found.

SRHowen
06-27-2005, 06:01 AM
On top of that your info is wrong--they do eat carrion. They will even store food for later in the winter. And they will eat dry cat food put out for them, much easier than killing the chickens to eat out of a dish. You can bye dog urin or skunk urin that we can't even smell to keep them away--from a game warden.

If I knew what game warden told you to shoot that cat (if one did) I would be after his butt with every resource I have--which when it comes to non-domestic cats is large. And I deal with non-domestic cat sanctuaries in CA all the time--you could have called a non-domestic cat rescue place and they woudl have come and got the cat--yes we do know how to trap them and relocate them where they are welcome.

and they aren't that hard to catch--.

Same with that Owl--guess when you just have your chickens left and all the wild animals are gone you will be proud of yourself as well.

Gehanna
06-27-2005, 06:42 PM
Please, try not to take offense to one another. There are many variables to consider, as there are in every situation, that contribute to the way a person may choose to respond.

I love animals but I must admit that this situation has triggered my lower instincts in addition to my higher functions. My drive to protect and defend has created a desire to hunt down and destroy whatever animal killed my animals but in this situation, I won't act on this desire.

I can't say that if I were to go outside and witness the animal in the act of killing that I might not end up doing something to kill it because I would likely be acting on instinct at that moment...then again, I don't know that I would kill it either. I've never been in a similar situation on which to base my knowledge.

Regardless, my intent is to try to prevent this thread from turning into a heated debate which will do nothing to help resolve the problem.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

SRHowen
06-27-2005, 11:27 PM
There is a big difference between killing an animal to protect yours and enjoying it. I won't be coming back to this thread--and I do have some ideas for you, if you are interested.

SRHowen
06-28-2005, 05:09 AM
One last thing, I made some calls today--

I also know CA and TX law pretty well as far as wildlife goes. I deal with sanctuaries in both states and thus game wardens in both states--they have to inspect any cages or facilities used to house the animals. In CA here in Texas laws are a bit easier.
Just to make sure I was right I called one of the people I have contact with in CA, Sacramento dept of Wildlife and game.

It is illegal in CA to shoot a bobcat or a cougar, and if you shot a great horned owl and bragged about it the way this guys grandpa or father did---you'd do jail time.
Mark even told me about a recent case where a man was attacked by a cougar and he shot it in self defense. Saw it was female with nursing kits, so reported it. They jailed the guy until they checked the dead cat and the scene to make sure the guy was telling the truth.

He also told me that in no uncertain terms would a warden or other game mangt person tell someone they could "take" the cat. If it were determined that the cat was a danger to humans (and livestock that was a lively hood) (not just I like fresh eggs) then they would first try to remove said animal, or educate the person on how to keep the animal out of their pens, then see what the results were.

Only as a last case scenario would they (the warden) (or a rescue person) kill the animal. They would not allow a private citizen to do so--and anyone found with a bobcat or other animal skin would be fined and face jail time.

Fern
06-28-2005, 08:48 PM
I'm not interested in getting in the middle of a fray, but from what I understand from folks in my area, (OK) permission is sometimes given by authorities to "take" animals (protected species or not) when they become a nuisance. I guess it depends on the state one lives in and perhaps even different areas within a state.

Like Gehanna said, there are many variables to consider.

CaoPaux
06-29-2005, 03:06 AM
Raccoons would be more interested in eggs and feed than in killing birds. And while they'd swipe at a dog if cornered, they wouldn't kill it or carry it away. I'll bet the dog chased after a big cat. My sympathies.

reph
06-29-2005, 08:13 AM
Raccoons are vicious fighters. They can kill a cat or a small dog, but I agree, they wouldn't carry it away. They'll attack cats or dogs in a fight but not for food, I think. Birds are a different story. My former neighbor stopped keeping chickens because raccoons went after them. He said he saw a raccoon one night leaving with a chicken slung over its shoulder.

Gehanna, you have my sympathies too.

Doyle
06-29-2005, 08:59 AM
I hand raise my hen from cicks. I built a fine home for them. I share the eggs out with neighbors. The eggs were excellent and I went five years without a sickness. I do not intend to create a controversery, but not everyone shops at a store for their food. I would raise more and eat more if I had the time. It is odd isn't it, how far we have gotten from the basics of raising (and protecting) our own food? When wild cats in our area get this close to human populations it usually indicates an oversupply of cats. I do not live in an "encroachment area" but an area that has been acriculture for over 60 years with very little development. Last year we had several sightings of cougars -- they eat people.

Enuff about that, I am interested in hearing if you have been able to determine your predator.

Doyle
06-29-2005, 09:13 AM
In defense of the warden. He looked over my chicken operation, it isn't a "ranch" but it was a money maker. And he counted my remaining chickens, 10 or 12, at the time. And he looked me over. I think he considered that the cat would clean me out way before I would ever get the cat -- and then the cat would go away. Bobcats are very tough to get a hold off. He was very surprised when I called him to report the weight, sex, and health of the cat. I almost live in the woods, I have running water out my front door, I can see the ocean from my bedroom window. I live on the very boundary of "civilization" and nature. I keep no animals in my house.

Gehanna
06-29-2005, 09:10 PM
My Thanks to All.

My problem went away with my chickens. My Dog has not come home and I doubt she ever will. I know I've got some kind of predator around here but I guess it is just the way of Nature.

My husband and I have decided not to purchase any more chickens or any more animals period until we can afford some heavy duty fencing and other things that will help reinforce their safety.

I just need to make sure I keep away from animal shelters, the city pound and places like that for a while. I'll be in trouble if any more animals happen to show up at my house in need of care because I won't turn them away.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

SRHowen
06-30-2005, 03:42 AM
Just to let you know, I am not some city dwelling person who has never raised a farm animal. Quite the opposite. I know how to propagate seeds, have lived off the land and only the land several times. I can, can, process, or dehydrate just about anything --without electricity. I've chopped more fire wood than I want to think about and huddled near a wood fire stove in 30 below zero temps as it was the only source of heat in the house. I've hauled water from a well into the house with no running water--

I make my own medicinal herbs, grow them as well.

I've raised every manner of livestock there is--goats, chickens, pigs, cattle, dairy cows, dairy goats, sheep, guinea hens, ducks and geese, pheasant and so on. I am a dead shot with a bow.

I work with wildlife rescue.

I also have enough smarts to be able to say--you know it's very rare that a big cat attacks a person--to tell myth from truth. Bobcats -- unheard of unless the person tried to corner them or approach them. Most pumas, cougars etc only go after people when they come between them and their cubs.

Why is it when an animal does what an animal does--hunt, people decide they should all be killed.

Do we advocate the death of the human race because of serial killers? After all we have minds to choose to kill or not. The big cat or the wolf are only doing what instinct tells them to do--hunt for food. And to them we are food.

If you choose not to have companion animals live in your house, that doesn't make you more right than someone who does.

I have hand raised a great number of non-domestic animals, many have been returned to the wild, and others have gone to sanctuary shelters.

I do not believe in killing any animals that I am not going to eat. Period. It doesn't mean I haven't done it because I had too. You feel you had to, fine--it is the story you present with it--one of enjoyment--feathers everywhere and how hard it was to skin the cat.

First off, bobcats have very very loose skin--not hard to skin at all. And as to getting hold of them, it can be done and I have done it many times over. That warden should have educated you, and taken care of the problem. But then very few who have a narrow view of wild cats as killers only will listen to anything about them other than their own ideals.

Right now I live with two bobcats and Ocelot--we also have a Flemish giant rabbit in the house--she sleeps with one of the bobcats.

On racoons, I tried to post last night. They will attack a dog, esp if the dog corners them. We lost one dog to a racoon--a largish dog at that. The coon got under the boards in the granary, the dog (Snuggles) stuck her snout in there and the coon tore her lower jaw off. (sorry graphic)

There are ways to keep the cats away and other predators--one, go to a decent warden, ask for skunk oil or dehydrated dog or skunk urine--you can't smell it they can and it will keep them away. Household vinegar works in some cases--brush it on boards and fences-the cats hate the smell of it.

A scarecrow will often work, given that you dress it in smelly (human sweat smelly) clothes. Often it will break the cycle of the animal getting into the coop.

You may have had to kill the cat--but don't expect me to be happy about your joy in doing so.

Tiaga
06-30-2005, 08:07 AM
Raccoons are vicious fighters. They can kill a cat or a small dog, but I agree, they wouldn't carry it away. They'll attack cats or dogs in a fight but not for food, I think. Birds are a different story. My former neighbor stopped keeping chickens because raccoons went after them. He said he saw a raccoon one night leaving with a chicken slung over its shoulder.

Gehanna, you have my sympathies too.


My brother a neighbor and myself saw two racoons tackle a German Shepard, roll it in the ditch filled with water and drown it before we could get down the hill to save it. Do not underestimate racoons.

Tiaga
06-30-2005, 08:16 AM
Another thing that can work on big cats is to buy some wolf scent. We put it on cotton balls and then place them in old film bottles (the little black ones) punch holes in the bottles and hang them around your property.

SRHowen
07-01-2005, 12:00 AM
And racoons and other small animals that may get into a coop or garden can be kept out with dried blood--available at any nursery. Also in a garden plant geraniums <sp> at the start of each garden row--most small critters (plant eaters) hate the smell of them and will avoid the garden.

I do hope you will go back to having animals--it is a hard and sad thing to lose them--any of them. But the good they give your life, and the rewards are far above the loss.

Try some of the things we have sugested here. Big cats or small cats getting into livestock are very very rare--but many of the above work. Shutting them in their coop at night with a sturdy door and a good coop is their best protection.