Cougar, botcat and chickens!greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Hi all, I recently found this site and resubscribed to Countryside after a 4 year hiatus. I can't believe I let it go that long. My two new issues that arrived 4 days apart have me reading nonstop. My question and problem is a cougar-bobcat that is killing my chickens. I live on 7 acs near the foothills of the Cascades in W.Wash. about 30 miles NE of Seattle. I've always had a dozen or two chickens and other than the occaisional raid by the coyotes or eagles when they have been out free ranging I've not had much problem losing chickens the past 10 years. I figured what was out roaming free was free game to the predators. This past year I've lost 40 chickens to predators. I'm down to 2 hens, 3 geese and 3 ducks. I believe it's a bobcat or even a cougar...I've seen both....jumping the fence and grabbing a meal. I now have 8ft of wire with the top 2 ft. facing outward around 3 sides of my pond-chicken enclosure. I came home yesterday morn and both hens were all wet and one was ripped open on it's side. I think they must have flown into the pond to get away. Short of locking them up in a chicken coop full time is there any suggestions?....I've thought maybe a hot wire on the top of the fence?...The enclosure looks like a prison right now and would be too exspensive to cover completely. I've seen a cougar in my front yard early last summer and the bobcat was chasing a hen while I was pulling a garden hose this summer only 30 ft. away, so I know they are both in the area. I called the Game Dept. and they just take a report and tell you to shoot it if you see it. A note to all you anti hunters.....our state passed a law 5 years ago on banning cougar hunting with dogs...now there is a exsplosion of cougar related problems. Hmmmm, wonder why that is! My 6 and 8 year old daughters are afraid to go outside and I'm thinking I may declare war soon. I have one dog, a blue heeler, that doesn't seem to scare anything away. Any suggestions there?....Sorry this is so long and my lapse of non Countryside involvement.....divorce and all put a damper on my homesteading ideals. I'm happy to be back reading now. Thank you all for your inspiration.
PS...here are pics of my place on Zing http://www.zing.com/album/pictures.html?id=4293703179
-- Kent O'Sell (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 14, 2001
Kent, it's time to get yourself a few more dogs, preferrably ones that would see the cats as sport.
The theory that I grew up with, and seems to at least proven true in my life, is that a dog is a dog and a cat is a cat, no matter how big it is. Cats are naturally afraid of dogs and are not so bold when there are barking dogs around. Of course, it has always helped that the local houndsmen kept the cats afraid of dogs.
Teach your daughters to not make "cat food" noises when playing outside. No crying, squealing, whining, shrieking. Little kid noises are similar to dying rabbit and other food noises. Make sure the have a guard dog with them at all times. Does your blue heeler consider the kids his herd and watch and protect them?
Then again, if the Game Department said "shoot 'em" that may be the quickest way to solve the problem. Stake your injured hen in a clear area, set your chair and picnic food in a place giving you a good clear shot where the chicken is and just camp out for a few days.
-- Laura (email@example.com), February 15, 2001.
Yep, we have the same Cougar problem here in Oregon, (they banned hunting with dogs too). I think the cougars have cleared out of my valley, I have 3 dogs, tho none are very brave, they rush at things and bark a lot. 4 Days ago I set a live-trap for a skunk and the next morning I had a Gray fox, I let him go and made another set, another fox got caught and a third was in the box yesterday, I have no been out to check yet this morning. Now I know what has been happening to all the, (wild) baby ducks and geese every spring. Cougars took 10 of my neighbors sheep & goats a month or more ago.
-- Hendo (OR) (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 15, 2001.
I think you've got the right idea with the hot wire around the top where they would HAVE to contact it. That's what they do at our local zoo, to retain the tigers, etc. The other thought to factor in with that concept is proper feeding for their tigers... Otherwise they might decide that the electric fence ain't so bad after all.
-- Action Dude (email@example.com), February 15, 2001.
Kent, how about Cougar, Bobcat, chickens and add guardian/farm dogs, and you will have it licked! Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh TX (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 15, 2001.
Cougars around here eat cats and farm dogs!
-- Hendo (OR) (email@example.com), February 17, 2001.
Just an interesting story to go with your post. Before moving to Texas, I lived in Chattanooga, Tenn. I had and older persian cat. One day I was at my picnic table in the back yard and was petting the cat. Across the street a man approached with his muscular doberman at his side. He had his shirt off and was acting beligeren & rough. Suddenly, my cat (who was blind in one eye),jumped up and rushed across the street at the dog. The dog yelped and ran like crazy with my old cat right behind him. The man took off trying to catch his dog. I went into the house and shut the door. I never saw either man or dog again. After a while, my cat came back just as calm and unconcerned as nothing had happen. The cat didn't have kittens or anything. I guess she just didn't like the man & dog walking around like they owned the world. Strange story Huh? Eagle just like nothing had happened
-- eagle (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2001.
Years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a child in Northern California (actually 1958), my father knew some folks who were farmers and I recall the men talking about cougars (Pumas, mountain lions). The men who had large livestock guardian dogs had no problem at all..the others did. Yet, I also recall my Father telling me of a cougar hunt he went on where they tracked a cougar all day (with dogs), only to discover that the cougar had circled around and was tracking THEM. My Father said he had not realized how smart these cats were. Most of the CSide folks who live around these big cats have pretty much advised others to leave them be if they are not after your livestock, but in cases such as yours, get your gun. I would recommend that you not only get your gun, but involve your friends and neighbors as well. You are absolutely correct that your kids are not safe, and they sure need to be. You can get yourself some really neat dogs for free from the Kuvasz Rescue Organization. They are huge dogs which do not need to be trained to guard and protect, the oldest natural breed of dog in the world. We have one we rescued and she is outstanding!!!! e-mail me if you would care to know more about them. God bless.
-- Lesley (email@example.com), February 19, 2001.
Hi all, thanks for all the great comments. Sorry it took so long to get back. Here's a update. The last of my chickens went over the 8ft fence last week, so I got busy and redid the fencing with new posts and wire on the pond side and added a hot wire along the top about 6 inches above the fence. It's been running all week and so far nothing has been in there....but since I don't have chickens now I don't really know if it's working. I did seriously think about tying up a chicken and seeing if I could shoot whatever it was...still don't know foresure if it's the bobcat or a cougar. I had 3ft of 2x4 nailed at a 45 degree angle with chicken wire attached on top of the 6 ft of fence and it was bent over flat, so it must have been a cougar. We had about 6 inches of snow 2 weeks ago and there were so many coyote tracks around my fence that morning I couldn't tell what was what. Hmmmm, maybe we have a new variety of flying coyotes! Could a coyote jump a fence that high????? Not sure a dog would do much good around here. Cougar killed several of my neighbors dogs 2-3 yrs ago. Sharpei that was about 100 lbs and a big brown lab. My blue heeler is out all day and now that my chickens are gone she might be next. I talked to a neighbor last week and he's lost several peacocks and a couple goats. I'm going to get a new batch of chicks next week, so hopefully the hot wire will do the trick. If not I'm going to be camped out with my rifle ready to shoot, shovel and shut-up!
-- Kent in WA (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 2001.