Thursday, May 6, 2010

Livestock predators

Warning, graphic details of animal killings.

We put our turkeys out so they could enjoy the great outdoors. The next morning Ed found them dead. GRRRR! What is eating our livestock?

Well, our last three animal attacks all have similar traits. At first I thought it was our neighbor dog, but now I don't.

When our ducks were killed, they had their necks wrung. And one of ducks had the breast ripped off and missing.

When our duckling was killed, it had been pulled through the chain link fencing, half of its breast and foot ripped off and missing.

And the turkeys: both necks wrung, breasts missing.

All of the killings were at night. I don't think it was during twilight, as the dogs are usually awake enough when the sun is out to bark their head off. But I don't know that for sure.

The fact that the duckling was pulled through the fence tells me it is probably something that hunts with its hands and possibly a thumb. Possibly a coyote snuck up on the duck and pulled it by its feathers with its mouth (I've witnessed my dogs attempting to do this).

And then we have the turkeys. Their fencing wasn't as high as we were going to make it in days to come. It was only about 3 feet tall. So something got in there but couldn't figure out how to take off with the whole animal.

Each time our animals were killed they were mutilated in place. If it were a coyote, or the cougar in the area, I would think the entire animal would be missing. But they weren't. So that tells me it is an animal that is small and possibly cannot carry its prey.

I'm thinking that I am dealing most likely with a raccoon. They are notorious in this area. I had dismissed the idea originally, as the raccoons in our old backyard were no problem. But there probably isn't enough food in this area to keep them so friendly so they have to hunt.

We brought our video cameras from the old house, so we've set up a trap with the old turkey bodies. Well, its not a trap really, but the turkeys are left out and we are recording what happens. Hopefully we will be able to see what is out there.

3 comments:

Amy Manning said...

http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/raccoons.htm

Amy Manning said...

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=18670

Laura said...

I hadn't thought of a cat. Possible, but I don't see them at your place.

It will be interesting to see what you see with the camera, if that works.