Monday, July 15, 2013

Dead Raccoon Walking

Early last summer, we lost a bunch of our chickens to raccoons. Almost our entire flock, which was smaller at the time, was decimated. After Ghon eliminated a few raccoons, he purchased about 30 chickens from a young boy who had raised chickens for his 4-H project. After the fair, he decided he was changing livestock and moving on to raise pigs.
With this flock came two roosters. A bad-ass rooster called Dr. Cox (named by the boy) and a one winged rooster. He had lost a wing in a fight with an opossum when he was young. In honor of his favorite Disney movie, Ghon called this new rooster Nemo -as both rooster and fish had one big wing/fin.

For a long time, we had a no-name rooster in the same run as Nemo. No-name rooster  quickly became Jackass. He was so mean to Nemo. Nemo ended up living in the coop, as every time he ventured out, Jackass would attack him. We started leaving food for Nemo in the coop. We would often have to search for him, and would find him huddled in a corner  or under a shelf. Eventually Ghon moved him to a smaller run and coop with our cochins, and he was MUCH happier. He crowed. He strutted. He was a rooster.

More predators, a stray dog, and hawks have had a huge impact on our flock at different points. Last week, we once again experienced sadness at the farm.

Ghon headed to the farm Wednesday to feed the chickens before work. The cochins have been broody lately. Although I have no reason why, Ghon's been letting them stay that way. Ghon arrived at the farm and found two baby chicks. And all three cochins were gone. All that remained in the run was Nemo and two babies. There were no signs of the chickens. Just a big hole in the wire around their run. I took the chicks home, and worried about Nemo, even though he is twice the size of the cochins and already a fighter.

I ran a few errands on Friday morning then stopped by to check on the chickens. Oh, not a pretty sight. No more chicks. Eggs, gone. We have a dedicated run for meat chickens we are raising - one had it's head missing - and was still stuck in the corner of the run. Innards on the ground behind it.  Whatever tried to get the chicken couldn't rip through the thicker and double layer of wire Ghon used to build this run. You could tell something tried to get in, but couldn't make it. Worst of all, Nemo was gone.

In Ghon's world, that meant war.

About 10:30 Friday night, he headed to the farm with his 22 magnum. With a flashlight taped to barrel, it was time to go raccoon hunting. My Dad kept an ear out for the kids so I could go too for about an hour. I had to take a second car, as Ghon planned to stay all night and put an end to the 'coons free smorgasbord.

So I went hunting for the first time.

And it was pretty boring.

We sat in the truck, in the dark, and well, did nothing. We listened.

After about 50 minutes of nothing, I heard a noise. Then, we both heard a louder noise. I was informed by the hunter that it was the bark of a raccoon.

So I got excited.

For nothing to happen. Except for Ghon starting to fall asleep and snore. I grabbed my stuff, came home, and went to bed.

Sometime between 3:45 and 4am, Ghon came to bed and didn't say anything. I had no idea if he was successful or not.
Saturday was planned to be a full day at the farm, work, work, working. Ghon needed to head out first to handle the remains of the chicken I found dead and check for raccoon remains. Once arrived, he realized the chicken was gone. I don't know if it's coop mates became cannibals, or if something else ate it, but it was ALL gone.

After some searching, Ghon found the coon. He only took one shot last night and thought it was successful but wasn't sure. Today, evidence! Goodbye massive raccoon. While I may thing raccoons in general are kind of cute, this guy was destroying our farm. He had to go. Thankfully my husband has a good shot even in the dark, at 3:30 am, after being waken by the sound of terrified chickens.
Dead raccoon. Full of our chickens.

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