Friday, May 7, 2010

Livestock predators -- update

Last night I kept my ears peeled for the predator. I heard something outside our window, near the catfood. I alerted Lusa, and she ran after it, barking her head off. She chased it off into the woods. Lusa started barking again at 2am. Ed let her out, and she chased it around for awhile. Finally she didn't stop barking so Ed went out there with a flashlight. Just as I expected, it was a huge raccoon, and it found shelter underneath our deck. I wonder if it has been living there.

We found an inexpensive trap at one of Ed's favorite man-stores, Harbor Freight. We will try and trap it tonight. I called the county to find out what the requirements are in dealing with them. They referred me to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The person on the phone told me that there is an outbreak of distemper and rabies and the recommendation is to shoot it.

When I think about our sweet little ducks, I don't feel so bad about what we have to do.

The lady also told me that raccoons are native to Oregon, but for some reason their reproductive rates have exploded. She said years ago they used to run around with one or two babies, now she is getting calls with people witnessing momma raccoons with up to twelve babies. Something has changed in the environment to allow the babies to survive.

In the city, she said, raccoons are quite a bit more benign, as they have access to plenty of food source. But in the country they don't have nearly the access to food, and so they will go after livestock.