Saturday, June 7, 2014

It had to happen eventually

Five years I've been in Idaho. Four of them here on the homestead. Four years we've managed to avoid losing any livestock to anything other than a dog or two that were brought out by friends that snagged a chicken before we knew they were loose.

Connie had to go to Utah to make arrangements for her mother's estate and I was sitting her feathered kids. The two ducklings, two goslings, and the turkey. Day two after she left, I'm outside to feed the farm in the morning, and I can't find one of her ducklings. The other four of the little flock are in their pen where they are supposed to be. What the crap?! I fed everyone, brought the horses up from the pasture, don't see the little duckling anywhere. Normally they are underfoot, following you everywhere when you are outside and they aren't penned up.

Everyone is still there when I get home from work, and I started wondering in an owl got one. The next morning I go out to more missing birds. The turkey and a gosling are squawking madly at me from under the rabbit hutch and come running to me as soon as they see me. The second duckling is dead in the back of the pen and the second gosling is nothing but feet left behind.

Now I'm pissed. Nothing gets to kill the little critters Connie brought home. Except something did, but I'm going to fix that Right now. I put the two survivors in the garage in the brooder and went to work. I schemed all day at work. I had Scotty get out the 22 for me when I got home.

 I looked all around the pen but only saw a small hole dug under the hog panels. Too small to be a dog. A cat would have just jumped over. A coyote would have made a bigger hole, or just jumped. Same with a stray neighbor dog. We don't have possums round here. What ever this something was, it also shit in the back corner of the shelter in the pen. Was it cleaning out it's guts to make room for more? It wasn't buried like a cat, it wasn't in turds like a dog. It looked like it had been eating a bit of everything, how a coyote scat looks.  I still wasn't convinced it was a yote though.

My plan was to set a chicken in a small cage and put that in the pen where Connie's birds had been. It came back two nights in a row, it was going to come back a third for an easy meal. I planned on sleeping with the window open which is less than 25 yards from them pen. I was planning on that chicken squawking and making a ruckus and waking me up if the what ever it was was came back. I'm a very light sleeper.

Only I couldn't find a cage around here big enough for one of the hens. I have a small rabbit cage, but I couldn't find the bottom. One of the chicks at Heather's next door on the new property would have been small enough, but they're still peeping and I didn't think it'd make enough noise to wake me. So I ended up setting my alarm to go off every hour through the night. Turns out, I didn't even have to use it.

I left the red heat lamp on in the pen so I could see in there, and I made a check around the back with the 22 around 10:30. Sure enough there was a humped over something in the back corner under the shed in the pen. So I shot it. It whipped it's butt around towards me and it's tail shot up in the air, and I knew. It was a damned skunk. Now it was a dead skunk cause as soon as it starting spinning around I was shooting again. The sights on the scope were off and I missed the first shot, but got it the second.

We don't normally have any problem with skunks. They eat the corn in my garden but they won't walk up the ramp to the chicken condo. Scott and I took the guns out the other day and sighted the scope in for the 22. It's fixed and I'm back to being able to walk a op can across the ground, so I won't miss the next time a skunk wanders through. 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Try these other posts