Our 5-acre homestead is situated perfect for isolation. To our left is a another 5-acre field that’s empty – and beyond that our neighbors have 10 beautiful acres. Behind us is a 40 acre preserve – sort of like a rat’s nest of thick prickly pokey Florida bush, palm trees, oak trees with overgrown moss that hang from tall branches all the way to the ground. We call that the “Freaky Forest” – you can’t navigate through unless there’s a made path.
To the right, there’s a dirt road that dead ends in the Freaky Forest.
This makes gardening in my holey bathrobe less embarrassing.
But it also makes keeping our animals safe much harder. In addition to the occassional grazing deer, we have opossum, raccoons, skunks, eagles, hawks, gators as co-habitators of our land. This winter has been particularly bad. We’ve lost all of our ducks (even the babies) except for one — and most of our chicken. It’s devastating to wake up in the morning and finding feathers scattered.
I’m torn. I believe that animals on our homestead deserve the best life possible – which means
1) being free to roam, forage, peck, hunt, explore and do whatever animals like to do
2) kept safe from predators
The chickens go into their Palace Coop at night and Scott had built a separate coop for the ducks.
It’s a tough balance. The predators are sneaky and smart. They dig under the fence, jump over the fence, tear wire and stalk nonstop. Basically, they do what they are supposed to do to survive themselves. As ugly and nasty as these guys are, I get it. balance. nature. survival. But there’s only so much fencing and protective measures we can do before it starts looking like Ft. Knox here. I don’t like electric fences (dogs/kids).
In addition to losing our ducks and chickens, the predators were also getting into our poultry feed bins (even secured with bungee cords) and my compost bin. Every morning, we’d find the lid of the compost bin upturned and scraps scattered everywhere. It began happening so regularly that Scott began calling it the “Lunch Box.”
Last week, we finally set up an infrared motion-activated camera to see if we could catch glimpse of the mystery killer.
Hmmm….what is that??
Nothing for the next couple of nights. Then a little action, but the killer managed to steer clear of the camera.
We kept the camera going on during the day.
WAIT!! What’s that?????
Oh. That’s husband setting up a trap. We put crispy bacon inside the trap (following specific instructions from the trap manufacturer — “CRISPY” bacon, not soggy bacon. Apparently, predators are very picky about their bacon.
Next day – NOTHING. Drats! Foiled again by the mystery killer!
The Lunch Box was still open, chicken feed bin upturned.
Why wasn’t the killer tempted by the CRISPY BACON??? Why go after boring plain chicken feed and rotting compost and not the bacon?
Well, we finally found out why: