Safe Zone

I woke up Friday morning to find 2 more killed, one young chick was in a small cage and the raccoon was able to kill it but not get to it to eat, then he killed another duck to eat. At this point I was hopeless, I looked at all the area that I secured at the bottom, and couldn’t find any area that he could get in and out.

I went back to the back area where he normally killed and ate the ducks/chickens and saw his foot trail outside the fence. I looked at the bottom of the fence and it was secured.

I looked up and saw the bent fence, sure enough he got in through the top. When we put up the net, we zip tied the net to the fence but did it 6 to 12 inches apart and it looked tight and secured. I spent 4 hours yesterday zip tied the net to the fence, the top of the fence is now secured.

The photos were taken with the iPhone and it’s not as clear as my camera.  The camera is still on vacation.

I used all 800 cable ties, and this morning I was happy to see that he wasn’t able to get in. It’s such a relief to know that the ducks and chickens are safe at night.

Sitting Ducks

When we built the chicken and ducks run last year we were more concerned with protecting the top with the net to prevent the hawks and other wild animals from getting in but never thought that the small gap at the bottom of the fence would be a place that it got in.

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Bo borrowed a Wildgame camera from our neighbor last week and it was a raccoon that has been coming in every night. He set the camera out on Thursday night, and it came in around 2:07 am and finished eating by 2:46 am. These are the photos from the wildgame camera.

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The raccoons are extremely smart, especially this one that has been coming almost every night. I saw a trail of how it got out and secure that area with left over deck wood. I worked on it on July 4th, and the next morning another one got killed. This made me sick. It was a brooding hen that was sitting in the hen house, so sad to know that the raccoon went into the hen house and dragged it outside and ate it. All the eggs were gone also. I worked some more on securing the fence to make sure that it can’t get in yesterday evening, and closed the chicken coop last night. This morning another duck got killed, I saw a place where he pulled the fence and got out. It seems like I’m chasing my tail, I secured the area again this evening and pray that all will survive the night.

The previous home owner used to feed a raccoon and she called him Rocky. I’m almost positive that it’s the same one. This is a photo that she took of him before we moved in and apparently he never moved out. This picture was taken on her deck, which is now our deck. I set out a trap with cat food and a marshmallows trail leading to the trap, I feel like he is too smart to fall for it. The hens and roosters will be okay tonight since they are sleeping in the chicken coop but the ducks are outside and sadly they are sitting ducks.

Backyard Chickens and Ducks Run

The last time we visited the zoo Bo talked about raising exotic birds, and having it fenced with bird netting to keep the wild animals out. Obviously we couldn’t do it at our old house and at that time I thought it would be great living in the country and having a little petting zoo of our own. Once we moved here, I knew I wanted to raise chickens for eggs and had no idea that Bo was going to raise ducks. I don’t think it was part of the plan. Bo has a friend that wanted to get rid of his Muscovy ducks and Bo bought all 13 ducks back in December of last year. Then we had several ducklings hatched and we probably have close to 100 ducks now. They obviously need a bigger place, and it took a while to put this together, and mainly because of the lack of time. We finally had it done over the 3 days Memorial Day weekend. Bo and I did the fencing, and my dad and sister helped putting up the netting and the door.

The chickens and ducks run is about 30 ft wide x 80 ft long. It’s a 6 foot fence and the bird netting is pulled up by the cable that’s inspired by the zip line that I saw at the Xtreeme Challenge.

These are the 2nd generation Muscovy ducks and Bo got them when they were little ducklings back in February. He had 2 batches that hatched after this  Not all the ducks have moved to the new run yet, some are still at the old duckpins and he has the Indian runner ducks, and Mallards that need to be moved.

Bo didn’t buy all the ducks, some were given to him by stanger and co-worker. He picked up 4 ducklings at someone’s house because their kids don’t want them after Easter, they got his number from Tractor Supply that he visits on a regular basis. One of them is the white Pecking duck in the picture below. Last weekend his co-worker called and asked him to pickup her Grandma’s ducks, she had 5 that she couldn’t care for anymore. They arrived on Monday and seemed happy at their new home.

I have a few chickens that Bo purchased from the Statesville stock sales.

I was skepticle at first if chicken and ducks can live together in the same run and they seem happy together. They eat the same food, and share water so it works out great for Bo. We will have to move the remaining ducks in the next week or so.