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Last night something killed three of our hens, and partially ate one. It did not carry them away. It removed a leg and a wing so cleanly that she must have been dead when it was done - no bleeding, and so clean you would think it was cut with a knife. I guess it was pulled off.

Prints in the snow look like bobcat perhaps. Four round toes and a foot pad. Like a housecat only much bigger. No visible claws. But the leap it makes is tremendous. Four to six feet in a leap, then almost a three point landing - two front feet together, and what looks like one hind foot - we were taking pictures of these same prints down in the ravine yesterday, and I jokingly said it looked like a giant mutant rabbit. But it's no rabbit. It was on its way up to eat our hens.

We'll lock them in at night from now on, but I wonder ... could it have been a cougar?
:(
 

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The cougar prints I've seen were bigger than a man's fist. If your prints are smaller, I would guess a bobcat. It's seems odd that the cat didn't carry it away before eating.. Whatever it is, hope you catch it soon! :D
 

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I did some research on cat tracks a couple of years ago because of the many we find at our place on the road leading to a spring. As I recall, bobcat tracks are usually 3.5" or less, and cougars are usually around 4" or more. Cats won't leave nail marks. We've had both at our place.
 

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Depending on far north you are , it could also be a lynx. But, I think the Bobcat is present in almost all the lower 48. .......fordy :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There are two sets of prints, on closer examination. The bigger ones are about 3" diameter. Then a smaller size, but still much bigger than a normal house cat.

A neighbor came up to see, and thinks it was two bobcats. Says a bobcat has been causing trouble around here.

Our chickens are shut in tonight, but I am most worried now about our sheep - we have three due any day, and I know these hungry guys would eat a newborn lamb.

:no:
 

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Sounds like a bobcat but I always heard that they hunted alone exept with there young. This could be wrong tho.... I dont think they would still be together
this time of year. Hmmmmm.
I do know they are hard to catch in the act! Maybe get a live trap. Some places the Game warden will do it for you or lone it to you. Some rental places may even have them.

Best of luck with the problem,
Cody
 

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QuietMtnFarmer, here's a site you should check out. It's all about bobcat behavior, feeding habits and tracks.
http://texnat.tamu.edu/ranchref/predator/bobcats/t-bobcat.htm

Those lambs would be on their list of menu items so you probably should have the ewes inside for lambing till you get these predators under control.
I have bobcats, they silently took my chickens while I was outside and not more than 150' from where they hunted! I never heard a thing!!

Good Luck and be careful,

Kathy
 

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Ok, what I'm going to tell you is exactly what the Fish & Wildlife folks told me. We moved to KY 5 yrs ago from WI. I wasn't familiar with bobcats-we never had any problems up north with them. So when I found a 55# bobcat on my wrap around front porch I called F&W. The guy there told me, if a bobcat is out during the day it's probably sick and WILL attack anything it perceives as a threat or prey. This particular bobcat was taking my chickens in the daytime while they were out in the yard and so was I!! :eek:
I've seen one other bobcat here in the daytime, one is larger & darker and one is much smaller & lighter in color so I'm not sure if he was correct about them only being out at night since I've seen them during the day. :confused:

So that's what I meant about being careful; if he/she comes out during the day I guess you could be in some danger if it took it into it's head that you were a threat. I don't know if the 'experts' were right or if they were just passing on an old wives tale but I do keep alert & aware now whenever I'm outside. ;)

Kathy
 

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I don't know if the wild life films I have seen on PBS, and Animal Planet are completely accurate, but all the ones I have seen on these wild cats had day time footage of them hunting in winter.
 

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Bobcats will hunt night or day.. Whoever said only a sick one shows itself in day time doesnt know what he was talking about.
Also if you have two it may be a young pair from last yrs litter.. Sometimes they will stay together for comfort and better hunting until they get older and start making their own territory.
There was a young bobcat that lived at the back of our property when we were building, But A young coyote took up residence and since then the bobcat hasnt been seen... The coyote is a small female that for whatever reason doesnt hang out with the resident pack... When we disced up the back pastures she was happily following the tractor catching the field mice...
Best thing you can do is make sure your chickens are in at night as most times during the day there is not enough cover for them to successfully sneak up without humans or dogs seeing them. If your house is pretty remote with no day time activity while your at work, Id suggest leaving the chickens in the pen til you get home....
Also a bobcat can do some serious damage to a dog, so try not to let your dogs go after it if you happen to see it..(If you have dogs)
 
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A couple of years ago, my DH had let our pair of pet geese out of their pen (located near the driveway) to clean it. His pickup was parked in the driveway and the geese walked around the other side of it - 10 ft. at most. Within minutes he heard the female squawking, but didn't pay much attention as they tend to be noisy anyway, but then he heard thrashing and the male had begun hissing. DH walked around the truck to find a bobcat with the goose's neck in his mouth (he'd broken it's neck). When my husband hollered, the cat dropped the goose and casually!! trotted across the road and into the tall weeds. This happened at 3:00 in the afternoon.
We'd been keeping the geese penned after having lost another one to coyotes a couple years prior to this incident. Needless to say, we only let them out now when someone can sit nearby with a loaded .22 at the ready.
 

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I had a bobcat get in one of the sheep paddocks - it was early in the AM, & I was putting out some hay, when the 2 flockguard dogs went tearing past me. There was a horrible racket, & when I went running over, one of the dogs had him. Very pretty animal, but glad to get rid of him before lambing started. Here is a pic of Sim, my lamb protector :)
 

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Shahbazin said:
I had a bobcat get in one of the sheep paddocks - it was early in the AM, & I was putting out some hay, when the 2 flockguard dogs went tearing past me. There was a horrible racket, & when I went running over, one of the dogs had him. Very pretty animal, but glad to get rid of him before lambing started. Here is a pic of Sim, my lamb protector :)
Pyrnese are awesome! I love mine, and they are the best protectors.
Mine even brings the stray bunnies to us when they get out of the pen!!!
If you dont have guard dogs, get them!
 
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