Sunday, October 10, 2010
Aside from the fact that they are killing my friends, what I hate most about raccoons is just how human they are.
Dexterous hands, intelligent hunting strategics that involve ambushing a smaller duck to kill it so they can kill and eat the larger drake who comes to defend it. Sure, they nibbled on the little ducky, but just enough to kill it.
And it's such a nasty death too.
It usually starts with pulling off a leg, then partially ripping off a wing... it's gets worse... finally, if the poor animal is not dead after being partially dismembered, they rip open the throat and begin eating the innards. And that, my friends is the mild, child friendly, description of what those monsters are doing to my ducks.
There is a pack of 6+ raccoons that live near by.
We've been working tirelessly to remove all hiding places and brush from our property that a masked bandit might hide in. Still, there is just not enough of us to clear it all fast enough. Not that it's working. Maybe I need to have a brush clearing party.
What else can I do?
I've tried live trapping them more than once - nothing. They are just too smart and I suspect they might be transplants from some soft hearted city dweller who thinks it would be 'kinder' for these monsters to come and kill my ducks. (okay, yep, that's not cricket. But why are they suddenly coming to my property when we have been raccoon free for a year and a half?) If they are transplants, then it is impossible to catch them a second time.
We've tried not sleeping - walking the yard every few hours to scare off any beasts...
...And they still managed to kill Keats (the most affectionate duck ever) tonight.
We don't have a gun (besides it's not legal to shoot one where we live). I'm not a big fan of firearms at the best of times, but 4 nights of no sleep and 9 dead ducks, 2 injured ducks, and an injured chicken later... it's no longer 'the best of times'.
Poison is not an option. I don't want a non-raccoon to get into it.
Even if dogs worked against raccoons (a pack of raccoons can easily take down a large dog), it's not an option for us.
It's a month away before I get my guard llama (yah!), but by then, I won't have any poultry left.
So, what else can I do?
There is nite eyes. (image 'borrowed' from their site)
This looks TOTALLY awesome. It is a solar powered, motion sensing device that scares away monsters! These blinking eyes look like predator eyes reflecting in the darkness and this product gets rave reviews in the farm magazines.
Drawback: they don't ship to Canada. Comparable products either don't ship, are too expensive, or have a warning against the site.
So I was thinking, why not make my own. This owl is cool:
Link here, image 'borrowed' from the Home Depot site.
The head swivels and if I added some LED lights and a solar panel so that I could put some in the fields.... only they they don't carry it any more so that idea is out.
As you can tell, I'm frustrated. I feel so useless. These ducks are such lovely, gentle giants. I've failed them.
Here is Keats as a duckling helping me sort fleece. I really loved that guy.