No sooner did I post about our beautiful geese than we had our first predator attack in the chicken house/yard in two years. Two of the American Blues were killed (leaving us the Lavender and one Blue).

Based on the total destruction of one of the geese in which it was clearly pulled piece by piece through chicken wire, I believe it was a raccoon. In the chicken yard, they have an unfortunate tendency to sit themselves right at the fenceline. They do sleep at night in the chicken house, but like the ducks, they go to bed later and get up earlier than the hens. I’m not sure if the attack was last night or early this morning as I’ve been allowing them to go back and forth on their own. It had been so long since we’d had an attack like that, I wasn’t expecting it.

Coincidentally, it was the two who had showed signs of angel wing. Was planning to work on taping them this weekend. Guess I can cross that off my list.

Would rather have it on my list…….

I immediately checked on the ducks in the pond yard and they’re all fine. I think we will move the two remaining geese to the pond this weekend (which I was contemplating doing this weekend anyway–was just waiting for them to mature enough). It’s hard, hard, hard to keep ducks and geese in this area and give them any kind of semi-natural life. Next time I should start with twenty…….


  1. KristiL says:

    Oh no! The poor geese!! I’m sorry you had to walk out and find that this morning.

  2. Hlhohnholz says:

    Oh, no Suzanne. I am so sorry to hear about the geese. I know it’s heartbreaking and frustrating and infuriating all at the same time. Hang in there, though. Part of having a “natural” life is the understanding that predators are part of nature, too. You can’t have the reward without the risk, unfortunately.

  3. Barbee says:

    We have four raccoon traps set out right now. They are nothing but trouble. You wouldn’t believe the mess they have created here. These are live traps, but if I didn’t live in town where it is against the law to shoot a gun, I would shoot any that we catch.

  4. sherlocklabs says:

    ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Oh, what a shame… sorry.

  5. Merino Mama says:

    That’s terrible. It actually attacked it through the fence?! Was Coco around? Surely she could have heard something? I know how you feel though. Our chickens are free range and I actually witnessed a coyote grab my little rooster that I had raised through the winter (Mama had him after the frost andthen abandoned him). He had only been free for about 3 weeks and then wham! out of the woods came the coyote, grabbed him and took off. I was heartbroken. He was a little pet. Which is probably what got him killed because he was used to dogs running around him. I would definitely try to position Coco next to the chicken house at night though because once a raccoon learns where he can get food, he’ll be back. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

  6. quietstorm says:

    oh Suzanne!… I’m so sorry {{{HUGGS}}}

  7. Zusiqu says:

    Oh, this is just horrible.

  8. whaledancer says:

    Oh, Suzanne, I’m sorry. It’s this sort of thing that makes me wonder if I’d ever be tough enough to be a farm woman. Darn racoons. They’re so smart and agile it’s hard to guard against them.

  9. CATRAY44 says:

    I am so sorry to read this. The hard part of having a farm. You might try re-enforcing your run with 1/2″ hardware cloth. It is really strong and too small for coon hands to get through. My run is chain link, but I wrapped it in hardware cloth,from the ground up, waste high,and put chicken wire across the top (my run is small enough that covering the top was fairly feasible.)

  10. Bev in CA says:

    So sorry Suzanne. We had a raccoon do the same thing to our young turkeys many years ago. They were in a pen and sleeping aainst the wire. Careful though, Raccoons think nothing of attacking a dog and can do some serious damage. Once learned the raccoon will be back again.

  11. joykenn says:

    So sorry for your loss, Suzanne. Unfortunately allowing your animals to live a more natural life does expose them to a lot more risk. It is so hard with you’ve hovered over them, watched them grow, only to lose them in such a horrible way. The closer we live to the wild the greater the risk we take–cougars, mountain lions as we venture closer to the mountains for that gorgous view. We always had to be careful of the woods edging our property when I was a kid in Texas cause there were wild hogs which are nothing to mess around with. Now they’ve spread all over the country causing a lot of trouble.

    You can easily round the corner walking in Maine and come onto a bear which are making a comeback as more people move away from rural areas. We’ve gotten so citified and civilized that we sometimes forget we share our wilder areas with predators and our dogs and animals and even ourselves are at risk. Part of life.

  12. Chicken Crossing says:

    I’m so sorry Suzanne. It is so hard to loose one of the little critters we try so hard to raise up. I’ve raised chickens for over 10 years and I still get sad when one dies. I just got goats this year. I’m sure I’ll need therapy if something happens to one of them!

  13. leneskate says:

    Sorry for your loss, and I agree Racoons are little stinkers!
    I hope the move will be a safe place for them.

  14. Ms.Becky says:

    oh, this makes me sad. but you know, it’s the natural order of things. every living thing needs to eat. farmers have been in competition with wildlife for years and it will most likely continue to be an on-going battle. I can’t think of any solution other than acceptance or a wide-eyed-awake-24-hours guard dog. is there such a thing? hmmmm. if not, well, someone ought to breed it and become a millionaire. oh, that’s small change in today’s world. excuse me….billionaire. I grieve with you Suzanne. Death on the farm is sad and there is simply no way around that one. but your farm is a happy place and tomorrow is a whole ‘nuther day. :hug: :hug: :yes:

  15. beforethedawn says:

    This makes me think of your hen that just wanted to be a momma. ๐Ÿ™ Poor geese. ๐Ÿ™

  16. farmershae says:

    Ug,so sorry Suzanne! I just hate loosing animals, even if it is the ‘cirlce of life’. Predators are so hard to deal with becuase they are so darned sneaky. We have coyotes visiting once a week for dinner. Never see them, just know another chicken is gone. I hope you can trap or otherwise dispose of the culprit.

  17. bonita says:

    Suzanne, sorry to hear this, all the geese looked so cute. Pardon this question, but how/why will the geese be safer if they’re with the ducks in the duck pond? Is it fenced differently? Is there something peculiar about it that makes it raccoon resistant? Also, to the same end, you mentioned moving the meaties to the hen house, and moving the hens out (to the goat yard?) for the duration. same question. I get that free living has risks, and I see that you take care to lower risk…just asking ’cause I don’t understand. BYW it’s not just rural areas…I’m in the hearts of the city and I’ve had raccoons in my garbage, there was a cougar in a very crowded neighborhood and, currently, there is a deer and 2 fawns living in the back yard in an extremely dense neighborhood! (Animal control plans to move them, secretly)

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      bonita, they may not be safer in the pond yard, who knows. They are less likely to fenceline sit out there, though. (The ducks don’t do it out there and they did do it in the chicken yard. Have no idea why.) The free ranging chickens usually roost with the animals in the goat pen or goat house. I think the larger animals among them helps.

  18. Mandys says:

    Aw I’m so sorry for your loss ๐Ÿ™

  19. Busy Solitude Farm says:

    I know exactly how you are feeling. Exactly, because I lost my beloved female duck, Ari Duckass, either last night or this morning.

    I keep thinking of your wonderful photo of the lone, muddy duck from behind. Leaves me so sad.


  20. CasieD says:

    So sorry…

    We lost a Muscovy hen a month ago to a weasel we think. She had puncture wounds in her neck. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    We have a lot of predators here so free ranging is out of the question. We have two chicken coops with runs built out of chain-link dog kennels and another large one for the ducks. All three have the 1/2″ hardware cloth up around 2 feet to keep out as much as possible. Our other Muscovy hen is sitting on a nest of 6 eggs, so that will keep the ducklings in too.

  21. Liz Pike says:

    Awww, sooo sorry!! Been there, done that, and yep, once the ‘coons learn they will be back (probably started with the banty). Only solution now is bullets or trap!

  22. Sheila Z says:

    Good to hear you are going to get rid of the devils. Racoons and poultry don’t mix,I’ve lost way to many animals to raccons.

  23. KarenAnne says:

    By fenceline sit, do you mean they’re grabbed through the fence? If so, how about two fences, one inside the other a safe distance?

  24. hawkswench says:

    Sorry about the geese, you might want to try and tie hardware cloth to the fences starting at about 6 inches about the geese head when they are standing. After a neighbor had to put down their dog due to a rabid coon they are shot around here as soon as someone sees them.

  25. hawkswench says:

    Sorry about the geese, you might want to try and tie hardware cloth to the fences starting at about 6 inches above the geese head when they are standing. After a neighbor had to put down their dog due to a rabid coon, they are shot around here as soon as someone sees them.

  26. TinaBell says:

    So sorry, Suzanne. I just can’t imagine the scene you must have faced; I don’t think I could cope. Hang in there, girlie. I know you’ll persevere.

  27. Augustlace says:

    So Sorry You lost 2 of Your Blues! Predators always come when one least expects!! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Wondering if a Dog close by would help!! :snoopy: Take Care and Thanks for “Chickens in The Road” :happyfeet: I sure love coming in here and reading and takes me back home! :happyfeet:

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