Predator near my animals?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jillis, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2005
    Northeast Kingdom of Vermont
    For the past several nights, we have been treated to a lot of noise in the woods right next to our animal pens and barn.

    I have 2 kittens in a rabbit cage all night, that is in a very large completely enclosed (with chicken wire) pen that they play in all day...except when we take them out to play with them in the yard or house. :) The reason they are in there is they were only 4 weeks old when we got them...I am waiting for them to get a bit older, wiser and stronger before they have free run of the place.

    Right next to that is our chicken coop---again the pens that lead to both chicken doors are completely enclosed in wire---although a determined predator could probabaly dig under the buried ends of the chicken wire...

    And then there is the little dwarf bunny in her cage/hutch. Fairly secure...but who knows?

    And the goats...all locked up for the night in their barns...but with open windows...

    So we hear this weird, nonstop chittering screechy sound of something fighting, under the loud chittering fighting sound you can hear a growling going on simultaneously. Everytime it happens we turn on the outside lights and go out and shoot a gun into the dirt.

    Last night, one of the kids left a garbage bag in front of the door. A skunk was at it, so again they were out shooting and yelling and etc. Moved the garbage. Later that night, we heard a very weird sound by the chicken coop/kitten pen area. Did the lights and gun morning, we found the viscera of a very small critter, probably a mouse, right in front of the kitten pen! The day before there was the scat of a small carnivorous or omnivorous mammal in front of the chicken pen!

    But if a skunk was chittering and fighting in the woods, wouldn't it have sprayed? Do skunks spray when fighting other skunks? Or are we possibly dealing with more than one type of nocturnal visitor? I am thinking whatever ate the mouse is attracted to the pens because of the mice...but might possibly grab a chicken or a kitten if it was able to...perhaps the skunks only bother the garbage?
  2. famer_manda

    famer_manda I Love CHICKENS!

    Apr 4, 2005
    im highly curious too.. i can't wait to find out what it is!

  3. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Jul 12, 2006
    Eastern North Carolina
    Sounds more like raccoons to me
  4. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2004
    I'd agree that it is probably raccoons. They are smart, evil nightstalking animals. Sooner or later they will get into your chicken pen if you do not lay down some wire on the ground...we use old chainlink fence bought really cheap at auctions. Second...if you don't have a solid place for the rabbit to stand in its cage...a coon will pull at the feet from the bottom wire...even the kittens in a cage are not safe if a coon can reach it's little "hands" through the wire. We have just trapped 9 racoons in live traps next to the pole of our Purple Martin Houses. They simply climb those poles and reach in each opening and eat the baby birds. They are dangerous predators to our songbird population. Buy yourself a live "Have a Heart" trap....bait it with 1/2 a Cherry Hostess Pie...I think you find a racoon in it the next morning!
  5. tillandsia

    tillandsia Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Gainesville Florida
    My county animal control will rent live traps, if you want to try them out before you buy you could check into renting a trap.
    Since you live near the woods, you will have a never ending supply of raccoons and other predators. You might want to reinforce your babies' pens with 1/2 inch hardware cloth. The raccoons can't reach through that.
    For a more long term solution, you might consider installing electric fence around the perimeter of your animal pens, or a livestock guardian dog.
    Good Luck!