Bull snakes try to climb my log siding to get to the swallows nesting under the eves. At a previous place I watched a big bull snake climb into a 30 foot tree, ate the Robin's eggs and then caught the mamma. He turned loose the tree and fell, with the struggling bird, all the way to the ground where he ate the Robin. Some are docile enough to pick up and move, but some are extremely defensive. They 'blow' and flatten their necks and rattle the tail tip just like a Rattlesnake. Here, they're used to snake train dogs and do a good job of it.
As a kid in N. Florida and a love of snakes, I ran to every Blue Jay fuss.....with a gun. Most of the time it was a gray rat snake or Hognose and I'd catch him and take him home.
I hatched 21 blacksnakes in a bowl in my bedroom. The day of hatching I was in school but the dog was curious and turned over the bowl. I got a call on the intercom to come to the office. Mama was there to take me home and clean house. The whole bunch had scattered but bless her heart, she put pot lids and jars and pots and pans over them as she found them. I only lost three but I never told her there were more empty shells than recovered snakes.
Nothing makes me happier than to see a red-tailed hawk or prairie falcon dive down and pick up snake-any snake and climb high into the sky and drop them, then come down and pick them apart at their leisure.
I relocate a couple of these a month this time of year around here, pretty rare to see a nasty bullsnake unless some kids been messing with them. I use a snake grabber anyway because you never know and they all stink, looks more professional to handle them with a grabber.
Typical docile bull snake I flushed out from under a customer's front porch.
Wasn't sure whether to create a new thread or just add onto to this one.
It's been a bad week. I lost a Rhode Island Red (Little Red) back in March which caused me to get two new Production Reds to bring my small flock back up to five.
This is the only photo I have of all five together from April 4th.
From left to right "NOT Sophie", Big Red, Sophie, Honey and Scarlet.
I lost Honey some time in early May. Big red got taken about three weeks ago and Sophie, "Not Sophie", and Scarlet in the last four days. Sophie was the Matriarch and the hardest loss. She was part of my original flock of six.
A bit of a gut punch to say the least. All daytime attacks from what I can tell even though I have heard some Owls both early and late the last few weeks...but Barred Owls are not known to go after chickens. My guess is Bobcats because of lack of bodies. Coyotes are also a big possibility even though the closest I have ever seen has been 1/2 mile away.
It is HORRIBLY dry and I have left water out for wildlife. I have only caught Crows on my camera but not sure about my depth of field on a cheap camera. I fear that I let in the predators seeking out water.
Gonna get some Dog proof Traps and go on a Raccoon spree for a bit. My old Victor Leg Hold traps aren't up to the task I guess.
I'll get some new hens in October. Hopefully they won't be much more than the $12.00 that they have always been, but not holding my breath.
I have customer that's building a chicken coop and yard, they're new to country living and I'm afraid they just don't take me seriously enough about the requirements to protect a flock of chickens.
Bobcats are tough to keep out of an enclosure around here, seems like they can squeeze through the smallest gap in a gate or come through a gap in the overhead screen easily.
Always wondered if building a dog run around the outside of your chicken coop and yard might work, nothing like a rottweiler to discourage predators.
My coop (~8 X 50) is completely enclosed by cyclone fence. It is buried ~2" deep around a concrete slab with cyclone on top. I have plywood around one end and a plywood lean too on the other. Without using hardware cloth (mainly chicken wire where raccoons cannot get through) I cannot do much more. It is as secure as I can afford and am almost certain that any night-time guys are not getting in.
My problem of late has been daytime guys. I really think that the dry weather has made them more bold. I really don't know. Bobcats I know I have. Coyotes in the area, but never seen one here. Raptores are always a possibility.
My cameras has only been catching Crows, but I am not sure to trust it. I cannot get it closer. I'll boil my leg holds and set some dirt-hole sets that have worked with Bobcat back in the day.
If you live in Texas, there's a coyote close by. I've seen road kill coyotes well into Austin. If you can't fence the place with some sort of hardware cloth around the perimeter, you will never keep 'yotes off of the property. Good luck with your trapping. I've caught raccoons in leghold traps, and in a big box trap I've caught one raccoon, both cats, and several of the chickens.... fortunately, not all at once What the chickens were doing in the box trap, I don't have the slightest idea....
Saw two foxes in broad daylight the other day, but they're hardly bigger than a housecat where I live.
I'm surprised you don't hear a commotion when one is taken or a pile of feathers nearby. As a kid, it was my job to go out and shoot the possum that woke up the chickens.
Get a few guinea hens.
That'll endear you to the neighbors!!
I am an experienced trapper although not for a number of years. I may pick up a couple of dog proof traps for Raccoons as I hate them too. I've trapped many a Bobcat, Yote and Fox with the old stand-by Victor #3's although a night shoot when calling is funner. I'm not as inclined to later nights these days but will have to see if I can stay up past my bedtime. I have some electronic calls and may try to go that route.
My coop is as buttoned up as can be and I have NEVER felt that anything could get into in but was worried about reach throughs on the chain link although that has proven not to be an issue.
My Matriarch got chased into the coop sometime past mid-day last Thursday and murdered inside and carted off. The last two outside the coop but within 50 yds. or so. No bodies and all daytime attacks. It's too hot to try and break in a new flock even though my coop is very well ventilated. I'll wait until October to replace. My neighbors are going to miss getting free eggs though. Five/Six is a good number.
Breed is also a concern. RIR and Production Reds tend to not be as savy as other breeds. I would love to get some Brown Leghorns but think I might have to raise them from chicks which I don't want to do. Snakes will gobble them up like popcorn. I have a buddy who has raised a bunch of chickens in East Texas and he has given me some additional advice. Guinea's are not a bad alarm to have for predators, but do well in larger flocks. They also tend to like roosting in trees which brings back Owl concerns. My neighbors are far enough away to not be bothered, but other household members might not be as favorable towards them.
Just regrouping for the time being. If you Free Range in the Country, stuff like this is going to happen from time to time.
I live trap bobcats and relocate them, around chicken coops it's pretty easy.
Have several customers who have guineas, there's no way I could put up with the constant noise. You'll never have a moments peace with a flock of them.
When I was a small boy, several big Rattlesnakes had gotten close to the house. Daddy brought home half dozen guinea chicks. In about a month, we ate 'em. 'Fractious Women' comes to mind. Jabber, scream, chatter, squeal and holler. Targets.
when i was 11yo, my family moved into a farm house that was empty for about 3 or 4 years. nobody did any grass cutting. after one week or so, Dad had shot a 7 1/2' eastern ratsnake from the eave of the front door. he told my mom that he knew the snake was there because he'd seen it in the top cellar wall and joists the day before. the snake was in our house's walls and it could go from the attic, down into bedrooms, into our kitchen, living room dining room and cellar. it had to go.
i've seen the black snake (eastern ratsnake) go up our trees and kill birds and eat the eggs. i've seen them out in the woods and crossing the roads. i am a live and let live kinda guy. when the snake is around my house, its time to leave this earth. i don't care if it is black snake, garter, brown, northern racer......its time to go.
i've seen copperheads, eastern milksnakes, watersnakes, northern ringnecks, red bellies, ribbon snakes, queensnakes and even one eastern hog-nosed.
i even seen and stepped on it accidentally, a timber rattlesnake. i was fishing at a creek (with my hip boots) near camp(centre county) for trout. i was going along a bank of rocks when i felt my right knee and heard the rattling. i looked down and i put my foot on the rattler's head on accident. well i wanted to run out of there, but i'd stay there until he quits struggling against me. it seemed like a hour or three until the battle ends (it was a minute or two), but as soon he quits struggling, i was off to races!!! for a twenty-something year old, i was impressed with myself with the speed i got. when i far enuff away and my heart quit beating like it owned me, i thought why and how did i step on the rattler? my best guesstimate is that i was off in somewhere else and the snake was sleeping when i accidentally stepped on him....case closed. i don't who was more scared? me (most likely) or the rattler?
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