The Bobcat Battle Has Begun
I used to hate chickens. Now, I kind of like them. In fact, I find myself going to greater and greater lengths to keep my flock happy. They are funny, whimsical animals that provide me with entertainment and food!
Since spring we have been losing chickens. Not a decimation of the flock. Just one chicken missing every so often. It often happens when we are away for a long period of time, but not always. And it always happens during the day.
We went through the potential list of poultry poachers: fisher cats, racoon, fox, coyotes,
labrador retrievers and hawks. There are so many predators out to get my girls! We talked it up with everyone in the neighborhood. Essentially they have all been spotted in our area and almost everyone had a story to tell. Hawks are bad in the spring, fisher cats leave body parts behind, the coyotes are bad in our area, fox will snatch and run, and so on. But we were no closer to discovering the culprit.
Then last month Number 4 came running to tell me that she saw an animal in the woods that she has never seen before. We peeked into the bushes together and there was a very large cat looking right back at us. It turned and that is when I saw the bobbed tail.
Yesterday I was talking to another mother who had come by to pick up her son and as I looked over her shoulder, I saw a bobcat jump over the stone wall, grab one of our chickens and jump back. This is the first time I had met this mother, so she probably thought I was stark raving mad when I took off down the driveway screaming at the cat.
This morning the chickens started squawking like crazy right when I was bringing Numbers 3 and 4 to the bus stop. So I sent them out to the stop and ran down to the barn (a girl’s got to have priorities, right?). Lurking right by the barn was the bobcat. I chased it away and the birds (chickens, turkeys and ducks, oh did I forget to mention the other fowl?) all huddled together in a circle in the corral. Luckily we didn’t lose any chickens.
So that’s it you fancy feline! Now that I know what I am up against I can learn all about you and make you leave my girls alone!
Bobcat Facts I Have Found on the Internet
(so they may not necessarily be true)
- Bobcats very infrequently take poultry (someone should tell our chicken chaser this)
- They can swim – I guess the moat idea is out
- They are shy and elusive and people rarely see them – Aren’t I lucky?
- Bobcats are solitary except when breeding or raising young
- They range from southern Canada to northern Mexico
- Bobcats do present a threat to sheep and goats – AHHHHHHH!
- They don’t have a lot of predators
- Their population is estimated to be 1 million (!) in North America
- Bobcats mainly hunt rabbits and hares
- Hunting season for bobcats starts November 1