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Sunday, January 10, 2010

I caught a chicken thief

I've had a predator problem around here for a couple of weeks. It took out my ducks and a number of chickens that we let run loose. I keep my good egg layers in big cages to keep them safe and so I can find the eggs. One chicken was killed during the day when it stuck it's head through the mesh of the pen to peck at something outside. The predator grabbed it by the head and tried to pull it through the side of the cage hard enough that the 2"x4" wire mesh was bulged out in the shape of a chicken until the head came off.

I doubted it was a coyote because there were no attempts at digging under the pens.

I put out my large live-catch trap that looks like a have-a-heart trap and wired the remains of one of the dead chickens in as bait. I only had to wait two nights to catch something.

It was fairly small. About 25 inches from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and about 17 inches high at the top of the shoulders.

It is in the freezer right now awaiting a trip to the taxidermist.

I moved the trap and reset it figuring that the rate of loss of my birds was more than this one critter could account for. I guess I'll find out.

I've got videos of it growling and hissing in the cage when I get the chance to upload them but they are kind of large and I don't want to wait.

Moral of the story: traps are handy things to have around when it comes to eliminating pests of this sort.

Here are the videos.


Paladin said...

Sure beats sitting up all night in the cold with a shotgun ;)

That trap looks like the fold up kind we have for dogs that won't let us get close enough to catch them any other way. We never have had luck catching bobcats in them, the few times we've tried.

We'll catch every 'possum and raccoon in the neighborhood, but never the bobcat we were trying for. A pro-trapper that I know uses live pigeons or chickens in a safe wire cage to lure them in. That wouldn't fly for us to use, though. First citizen who saw it would have a fit, even though the pigeon is safe.

Bitmap said...

I think our dogs keep most of the raccoons and opossums away. I did have to take out an opossum a few months ago. It was raiding the dogs food bin. One of the dogs walked up and started to eat while the critter was in the bin. There was a sort of standoff between the two which lasted long enough for me to go get the kids and let them see the critter and then eliminate it.

I think that the fact that I used one of it's own kills as bait helped. It had become pretty confident as evidenced by it coming up and killing one of the chickens during the day.

I've reset the trap to see if there is anything else out there.

Wyn Boniface said...

You know I have never seen one of those in person.

Bitmap said...

That is the first one I've seen up that close. I've seen one in the wild from 15 or so yards away when waiting for a deer. I saw another about 60 yards away from the house when I stepped out the door just before sunrise. It was just sitting there and when it noticed I had stopped and was watching it it took off. I saw another one about 100 yards out in a field that had alfalfa sprouted about 1" high. The cat was about 30 or 40 yards from a flock of turkeys out in the field and trying to figure out how to get close enough to rush them.

They are beautiful animals. I'm planning on having the hide tanned and hung on the wall. A full mount is just a little expensive right now.

Did it MY way said...

Man, a full mount would be awsume,but I understand about funds. Hope that was the only one around. Need them birds. Glad you caught the chicken killer.

See Ya

Ron Russell said...

Thanks for the pics. Bobcats are extremely shy. In all my years of hunting I've only seen a handful of them in the day. Usually they see you before you see them. I did manage to kill a large male one day while deer hunting a few years back--he was so old that one of his fangs had rotted off. I had him mounted also and gave him to my sister. I would guess he weight about 30-40 lbs, but thats just a guess. Know you were glad to catch that guy and also the possums. They cook up quite well, but you should keep them caged for a while and fatten them up and clean them out as they eat all kinds of sh*t in the wild. I usually stuff them with sweet potatoes and bake at about 350 degrees depending on the age, which I can only guess at when skinning.


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