Bruce's Journal

Bruce

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Today started much as every other day. Woke up, DD2's cat sitting in the window above my head looking out at the wildlife. I looked out and saw a rabbit by the wood storage area. We seem to have a lot this year. Last evening there was an adult and 3 ages of juveniles in the front yard. There was another little one out by the pond behind the barn.

But Christofur wasn't looking at the rabbit I saw so I figured out which direction he was looking. At the birds? No. Another rabbit closer to the barn? No, didn't see another rabbit. Then I spotted something moving in the Havahart
DSCN2251.JPG

So now I've seen the adult skunk I've not seen before. Haven't seen any juveniles for a couple of days. I doubt the little one I chased out of the chicken brooder and the lower part of the barn went back and told the rest they better find somewhere else to live. In any case my plans for the start of the day changed. I took an old sheet out and put it over the trap then went to start the tractor. While it warmed up I let the chickens out, fed them and the alpacas. Then I drove the tractor to the trap, loaded up the trapped skunk in the bucket and drove it as far into the woods as I can get the tractor. The skunk left the trap without incident. No guarantee it won't find it's way back. Time to make the skunk repellent and hope it works.
 

Bruce

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I was closing up this evening. I have to slide both drive bay doors about 3' left in order to open the doors for the "tractor bay" to get the tractor out. Just as I was closing the left drive bay door I saw 2 dead juvenile skunks next to each other about 8' in on the left. Neither was the skunk I scooted out of the brooder the other day. No obvious damage so the only thing I can think of is they found some Ramik the rats moved up out of the lower part of the barn and stored somewhere up above in the drive bay or hay mow areas.
 

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I was closing up this evening. I have to slide both drive bay doors about 3' left in order to open the doors for the "tractor bay" to get the tractor out. Just as I was closing the left drive bay door I saw 2 dead juvenile skunks next to each other about 8' in on the left. Neither was the skunk I scooted out of the brooder the other day. No obvious damage so the only thing I can think of is they found some Ramik the rats moved up out of the lower part of the barn and stored somewhere up above in the drive bay or hay mow areas.
I don’t know to like that or not. I guess it does make it easier because now 2 are gone and won’t be after the eggs and chicks. I have nothing against skunks, but like you, I don’t want them around the barns or house!
 

Bruce

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I know. I felt bad for the little ones. Still haven't seen the other 2 but I have to assume they met the same demise somewhere else. I wonder if the adult came out after the littles had died. Maybe if she (assuming) knew she didn't have little ones to care for back at the barn she might stay out in the woods.

Given I never saw the adult until it was in the trap I wouldn't be surprised if it comes back and I never know it.
 

Bruce

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I kept finding Nuit and one or more babies on the wrong side of the separation chicken wire barrier at close up time. Plus I kept finding other hens on the "nursery" side. They either fly over or go around the barn and come in the north door. Then they go in the brooder area and eat all the chicks' starter feed.

Today I made a cardboard "adult excluder" for the door to the brooder area in the coop so the chicks could get in to eat and drink but the adults can't. Didn't close the separation barrier so everyone could meander the barn alley at their leisure.

Nuit took the girls out the south door, I wasn't sure she would this quickly. The girls are 2.5 weeks old. I guess they are going to die because the ambient temp has never been in the "required" range ;)
IMG_0332.jpeg
 

Bruce

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I know. I just keep looking at all the chicks I've raised after the first batch of 12 in 2012. They ALL went out to the barn at about 3 or 4 days old. NEVER did they have 95°F ambient, the house is usually 65°-70°. Heck they never had 80°F ambient other than maybe a hot day or two. I think it was 75° and a bit breezy when I took the picture. I've got pictures of 2-3 week old chicks running around in the barn in 50° weather.

Yet the "claim" is they NEED 95°F ambient for a week, dropping by 5° each week until they are fully feathered at about a month. What they NEED is a heat source like a hen or a Mama Heating Pad type setup that they can go to when they get cooled off.
 
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