You’ve done one heck of a good job with your bug-out plan. Your escape route avoided the crushing chaos of snarled traffic jams, road rages and looting that had begun to commence. Your family is safe in a well fortified, well stocked and well hidden “safe bug-out place.” Congratulations.
It’s been six months and the world is still, at best, unsettled and far too dangerous to risk exposing yourself. The unusual has become the norm, the bug-out shelter has become home, the survivalists in the next valley have become neighbors. It’s becoming clearer with each passing day, the “Temporary Mindset” may have to change to a “Permanent Mindset” which changes everything. Instead of relying on an ever dwindling food supply, you now are going to be forced grow your own food … adopting a self sufficient life style.
For a self sufficient life style you will need livestock to provide nourishment, such as eggs, milk (goat and/or cow) and other farm critters. As you progress in your education you will become more aware of how important your livestock is to your very survival. You have a responsibility to feed them and maintain their health as any good steward of the land would do, but possibly the most important matter you must attend to is keeping the animals safe from predators…. And the first step on that matter is recognizing and identifying the culprits, which may vary according to location. Let’s identify a few common enemies.
Hawks:1 Identifying Nine Dangerous Creatures
These birds of prey are deadly, persistent and skilled hunters that can literally wipe out a flock of chicken in mere days. Let’s pretend the rule of law still exist, in reality doubtful, but for our purpose it is. All states that I know of do not classify the birds as nuisance animals or predators, therefore killing them is illegal. If you can’t shoot them, what do you do? How do you discourage them from feasting on your chickens before you do?
Here’s one person’s story:
“My ducks and chickens free-range for days on end without a single problem. Then one day I walked outside with treats to entice them to return to their pen, when I realized I was short 4 birds, 2 chickens and 2 ducks, gone without a trace … work of a hawk. I was pissed! I wanted to shoot one of these so called majestic birds, but a hefty fine for doing so prevailed. I had to devise another plan, a method for teaching them a lesson in farm avoidance. Not an easy task.
Hiding in a comfortable camouflaged position with my 30-06, I waited for a hawk, crow or buzzard to fly overhead and squeezed off a shot in their direction. Surprisingly, my flock wasn’t fazed by the noise as I suppose they were accustomed to hearing rifle shots around the homestead. I was always careful to not aim near the bird, just in their vicinity, usually well low so the bullet would strike a hill. I repeated this action for the next 3 days, then scheduled the shooting exercise for 3 days every week for a month. I’m not saying there are no birds of prey around my place, but I haven’t seen any nor have I lost any more chickens or ducks.”
When I think of mink I envision a mink coat. I really didn’t even know what a mink looked like. They look like a killer by the way. They like to stay close to water, a creek, stream, pond or low areas where water pools. Letting your dogs and cats run free are a good deterrent for mink, but they are extremely stealthy and can avoid the most cagey barn cat.
Protecting against mink is no easy task and should be taken seriously and do not try to cut corners for expense. These nasty little rodents can get through a hole the size of a half-dollar, which means flexible chicken wire is no more than a slight delay before entering the chicken coop. Hardware cloth, the type of fencing used to build rabbit cages and floors must be used instead.
To demonstrate how cagey mink are, they have been known to burrow inside the bedding and nesting boxes and take a nap while waiting for the chickens to return to the coop at night to nest. That’s pretty calculating and cold blooded for any animal. Maintain a habit of taking your dog or grab a rake and check the coop or hut before allowing the birds to enter for the night.
It’s important to learn how to identify both the tracks and droppings of the types of predators that roam your area. For mink its wise to place snares, home made are fine, around the chicken coop and duck hut. If possible purchase an owl decoy, preferably motion-detector activated, as they are a mink’s worse nightmare. Motion activated lights will also work, but the owl decoy adds an extra element of terror.
Owls: 3 Identifying Nine Dangerous Creatures
Ironically, an owl decoy is your friend, but a live owl will decimate your flock within a short time. Again, you can’t shoot them and there’s no way to shoo them away, because they don’t hunt like other birds of prey, in the daylight. Owls, like most ambush predators, have extreme patience and will watch their intended prey for hours waiting until it is ultimately the safest time to attack before springing into action. Motion-detector lights, especially noise emitting types, will help deter an owl attack. If you have hawks around, you have owls although you may never see them.
Finally a varmint you are allowed to kill – in most states anyway, because they create a life threatening danger to your livestock. Unless you have no other weapon, or are not a very good shot, use a 22 caliber rifle to hunt coyote as anything bigger is overkill. Large sized dogs are a good deterrent as the coyote will not engage in a fight with a dog unless he’s cornered.
Here’s possibly a deterrent you never heard of for coyotes … donkeys, especially mini donkeys. For some reason mini-donkeys take great delight in chasing coyotes and treating them as if they were a soccer ball. They will chase them down and kick them repeatedly until they kill the coyote or it escapes. Keep a mini-donkey in the pasture with the cows, in the barn with the horses or in a fenced area near the chicken coop or duck hut, will discourage coyotes and other predators from violating your sanctity.
Fox are very sly and are extremely agile and silent killers. How many fox have you seen out hunting? Chances are not many if any as they are very cautious. In spite of their stealth a fox is easily startled and will immediately run away if startled. Motion detector lights are a good deterrent as the sudden burst of light will send the fox running, as will a dog or mini-donkey.
Weasel: 6 Identifying Nine Dangerous Creatures
The weasel family, which includes mink, badgers, ferrets and skunks would be classified as terrorist if human. Instead of making one kill to eat, these critters will make multiple kills although they may just eat one. This makes them extremely dangerous as a menace because they may wipe out an entire flock, yet only eat the head of one chicken. Carefully hidden snare traps and cage traps are the best way to capture these little killers. These are wily creatures and will not walk blindly into a trap. It must be hidden and well placed.
I believe opossums live everywhere, seem to anyway. They are normally nocturnal, lazy and don’t cross well traveled roads very well. They will always take the path of least resistance when hunting a meal, as eating a rotting carcass is just as good as a live or freshly killed animal. Building a reasonably secure chicken coop and run will normally protect against opossum attacks. However, opossums have been known to bite the legs of horses and cows which presents the danger of Equine Protozoal Meloencephalitis (EPM) infection which can be deadly. Possums normally begin eating the abdomen of its prey first, therefore if you discover such a carcass its a sure sign you have an opossum problem, as it was runoff before finishing the meal.
Unless you live in the Arctic snakes will always be a problem, and they don’t necessarily have to be poisonous, although that’s an added danger for humans. Checking and plugging any hole you may find in a chicken coop or duck hut will help keep snakes away from eggs. I might note: Never kill a black snake as they feed on other snakes. What’s that old saying “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
These critters use their sharp claws to shred chicken wire, rip open feed bags, and climb a lot higher than one would anticipate for a meal. Their most valuable asset is their brains. A raccoon will normally consider a one step lock child’s play to open. Don’t think putting feed in a metal trash can and placing a large boulder on the lid will prevent a raccoon from getting in.
Final Tips: Identifying Nine Dangerous Creatures
Scrap wire is typically hanging around somewhere on a homestead or survivalist retreat. Once you have determined what type of predator is lurking about, choose pieces of wire sturdy enough to hold them and bend it into a simple slip tightening loop and hang in an area the predator has left droppings, tracks, or tried to enter a pen or barn.
Motion detector lights on the exterior of barn can help deter possums from crawling into the stall. Typically, horses and large livestock are only hampered by possums if they get into their feed and spread disease. A trash can or plastic tub with a lid, or a barrel with a piece of wood and brick on top of it will not stop a hungry possum from getting inside. Keeping feed secure is just as important to livestock health and safety as building the perfect chicken coop is to prevent your egg-layers from getting slaughtered.