Saturday, February 27, 2016

Raccoon Problems

This post has information about how to trap and dispatch predators on your homestead. If you think all creatures can live in harmony, you should probably skip this one.

Everything is not perfect on any homestead. I found that out the hard way one night when a family of raccoon's decided they liked the taste of duck. I set out a trap and got one the first night. While they are cute, they are not to be taken lightly when you have poultry on your homestead. After I dispatched the first one, I had no other attacks for months. I got complacent and stopped locking the chicken coop door at night. Bad idea. I lost three chickens in one night. 

After that we started locking the door and letting them out in the morning. We forgot to lock the coop up one night and lost four more chickens for a total of seven dead. I constantly have the trap out and baited but these raccoon's are smart, I think they have been trapped before and let go. Please never do this. Once a raccoon learns what a trap is they will avoid them in the future.


It is illegal to trap and relocate raccoon's in the state of Ohio and many other states. If you want to keep poultry and you don't want to kill raccoon's and other threats to your flock, you have a problem. If you call animal control, they will come out and take them away to kill. And guess what, you get the bill. I know the price of .22 LR has gone up, but one round is much cheaper than a bill from animal control.
If you find yourself in a situation where the racoon you are trying to trap is avoiding your trap, try to camouflage your trap with just the front open. I am assuming you are using a Havahart trap or something similar. You can cover the trap with a cardboard box and cover that with leaves leaving only the entrance open. Use marshmallows as bait. This will stop you from catching cats with other baits like tuna or meat.

When you are faced with dispatching the animal you trap, you can read about many methods on the best way to do it. I researched them and came back to my initial thought, a single round of .22 LR. The animal is caged and it is easy to get a clean kill with one shot. Other methods are much worse. Some people throw the cage in water and drown the animal, I find this horribly cruel. Some people use car exhaust, basically suffocating the animal. This is unnecessarily cruel. One bullet is the fastest and most effective method in my opinion.

While we are on the topic of dispatching unwanted pests. Some people put out anti-freeze for cats and other unwanted animals to drink. Anti-freeze is sweet and animals will drink it thinking it is food. The main ingredient is ethylene glycol which is naturally sweet. The death these animals face is unbelievably horrible. The people who do this are some of the worse people. Please never do this.You can avoid accidental exposure by making sure the anti-freeze you buy has been treated with denatonium benzoate, a bittering agent added to make it unpalatable. Not all states require it to be added and most repair shops use professional grade coolant which is exempt. Please ask the question when buying anti-freeze or having your car serviced.

Friday, February 12, 2016

And We Are Back

Okay I know, it's been a year. I fell off of the blogging wagon. To be honest, I fell asleep at the reins, fell off and was run over but, I am back and ready to talk homesteading. This will be a quick catch up from our last adventures back in February. A lot has happened and changed in that time.

We were getting over a dozen eggs a day starting in the spring. We had so many we could not hope to eat them all so Dara started selling them at work. This was offsetting the feed cost for the most part, when Dara wasn't spending the egg money on snacks and coffee at work.

One of our chickens developed a limp and the other chickens started picking on her to the point that we had to separate her from the rest. Chickens can be real cloaca-holes. She was put up in her very own condo with her own food and water for about a week and half. She started walking fine again and was reintroduced to the flock with no further problems.

In other news, we have a duck that thinks she is a chicken and took over a nesting box in the chicken coop. Muscovy's are great mothers and when they go broody there is almost no stopping them from sitting eggs. The chickens didn't seem to mind and this was a good spot to get fresh duck eggs until I let her raise up some ducklings.

Here is the proud mama with her newly hatched ducklings. All total our two mature females raised up 18 ducks this year. They would have hatched more if I let them.We are down to 5 ducks now and a full freezer. More on that in the future.

Muscovy's love to play around in the water. When you have 20 + ducks on your property, you have to change this water everyday. The hardest part is making sure our border collie is no where around when I turn the hose on. He loves water in any form.

I put in a couple duck ponds around the yard. The only problem with a set up like this is changing the water every other day. If you have some elevated land and plumb the bottom of the pond with a drain hose, this would work very nice. I don't have any where to do that so I only dumped and filled this pond for a couple months. The baby ducks loved it.

I Know

I Am



So Many

Things Have


In The Last

12 Months...

Oh yeah, we got married in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. We needed witnesses so we each invited our only siblings to bear witness. It was a great day and beautiful scenery. We both love the gorge, so it was an easy decision to get married in the wilderness. We are standing next to a 100 ft cliff, you know, just in case she got cold feet. 

We got another puppy. His name is Darwin and we thought we were getting a catahoula cattle dog crossed with a shepherd. At least that's what the pound said he was. Turns out he is a great dane mix and is over 100 lbs at 13 months now. He is a gentle giant and we love him.

Higgs caught the bouquet and promptly ate part of it. I want to thank Aaron, Dara's brother and Sharon, my sister for being our witnesses and dog handlers. 





Let's see




What am I missing?...

Oh yeah, so we had a baby. His name is Oliver and he was born in September. I was lucky enough to deliver him, cut the cord and gave him his first bath. In fact, he never left our sight the whole time. We were not paranoid about something happening to him, well maybe a little, but it just felt like the right thing to do was to always be there for him. "They" say children change you and you can't know how much until you have one, "they" are right.

This is Oliver's second trip to the gorge, his first post uterus. The Ergobaby carrier is awesome. We are on top of natural bridge. Oliver did just fine being hiked all over the place.

We are looking forward to being the best parents we can be. Ours lives are changing more than just adding a baby. I am leaving my cubicle jungle to stay home and take care of Oliver. The thought of strangers raising our baby at a daycare didn't sit well with us. It will be hard with the drop in income, but I know we will pull through. He is totally worth it. 

More regular posts to come soon...