Thursday, June 4, 2015

raccoon

we've had a raccoon hanging about the last few nights.  zane has been on night duty (in the house patrolling the windows and doors) and has gotten me up a few times to go and check things out.  one night i got up and turned on the light out to the kitchen garden and got a good look at the critter.  it stood up on its hind legs and gave me an annoyed look over its shoulder before plodding off to whatever marauding it had planned for the night.  it's been in the compost and the trash can and pulled some cat food cans out of the recycling bin but hasn't been anything more than a mild nuisance.  until lastnight.
i was reading in bed around 9:45pm and i heard a couple of thumps and some screaming coming from the chicken tractor (chickens do not squawk when being attacked in the dark, they wail.  it's a sound i heard once in the middle of the night in catheys valley---i went out and found a raccoon hauling a dead chicken up a post and into an overhanging oak tree).   i stumbled into pants on my way out the door as staal was handing me a flashlight and following me out with a shillelagh in hand (i made zane stay inside).  it was quiet by the time we got out and i took that as a bad sign. 
i shone the light around the chicken tractor and i did a head count---two on the roost and one on the ground.  thankfully, standing and mostly unharmed.  the larger of the two australorps had been pulled off the roost, spooked into a corner as she tried to flee, and then had hunks of feathers pulled out through the wire as the raccoon tried to get hold of her.  she's a big, strong bird with lots of feathers and fluff.  being so well-feathered is probably what saved her.
i looked around with the flashlight a little more and then shone it up the slope, northward and somewhat towards the creek bed.  i immediately caught on two glowing dots in the low crotch of an oak tree.  it stared for a few seconds and then took off.  staal and i walked up the slope a ways and made sure it had gone.
i figured it would be back later so i rounded up the fiberglass panels for the sides of the chicken tractor and staal brought out a lantern and helped hold the panels as i screwed them into place.
i went out early this morning and took the panels off so the birds wouldn't get too hot as the sun came up.  i gave them breakfast and they all seemed well.

fully-armored tractor

zane was upset about not being allowed out to join us lastnight (i don't want him tangling with raccoons).  he did some thorough sniffing about this morning when i went out to remove the panels, checking around the tractor and out in the woods near the oak tree where we saw the glowing eyes.



hefty hunk of feathers

she lost a lot of feathers but you can't tell by looking at her.




lucky chicky


raccoon has forfeit his safety.