and that means that their mothers are hunting more and more..
Bet you thought I was going to talk about cute spring babies, and here you go.. my wee buns are growing like weeds while they are eating what folks consider weeds 🙂
but I wanted to talk about the other spring mother that can be quite the issues on the farm. I am grateful that most of these are examples are in fact my friends this spring but they are points to consider..
About 40 min from me, a Facebook fellow women farmer and sheep raiser, stood in her field and with her waving sticks and barking farm dogs at the side, watched in horror while a pack of coy-wolves killed lambs and ewe’s in front of her.. (now, if there was ever a reason to say that you need at least a min of one rifle on the farm, that was a good case, she finally moved them off with her truck, however many new generation farmers do not have their paperwork in order or own a firearm)
In her case, she called in help in regards to hunters to deal with the issue.. This pack had moved well into the “danger” zone that’s for sure.
Down the road and over the river I have a different girlfriend who is battling coons, they are stealing her eggs, killing chickens and rabbits and there are missing cats and kittens to boot.. O my..
Clever they are, but they can leave a wave of death behind them in the search for spring food..
Which leads to me.. I tend to have a fox issue at least once a year.. the geese really help on keeping things under control, as much as I would like to not have to battle my guard geese, the truth is they get the job done and well 98 percent of the time,,
Something pulled off the wire on a corner of my big rabbit hutch and used the opening to get my big male buck rabbit.. it took off with it heading out of the yard and into the pasture.. it eat and or took the head only, before the geese I am assuming arrived and it left the rest of the body.. what a waste in so many ways..
I adored that buck.. he was everything a good buck should be.. and he was easy to handle and pick up and he was an excellent example of his breed, a gentle boy and a great breeder.. sigh.. a loss within my rabbit breeding program for sure..
The only good thing I can say is that I have two litters from him currently on the ground and he had just breed a doe last week..
now given that this happening between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, I must assume that it was a coon as well.. that wire is nailed down tight and it has a thick stripe of wood that it needs to be pulled out of and that’s strength and nibble fingers indeed.
There is a part of me that in my head knows that this “wild” moms are feeding babies and that they need to hunt and provide.. but I live next to the woods, and I have creaks and wildness very close to the farm.. and while I respect them, I also know that I ideally want that coon mom that teaches its babies how to live in the woods, not living on my farm eggs, chickens or rabbits..
I want the pack of coy-wolvies does not hunt sheep but instead works within its natural hunting.. and in their case, they are able to cut themselves a wide area between the ability to solo-hunt or pack hunt like the wolf..
I have skunk that is moving though, and so far, she is not doing anything that will get her moved.. but she is being watched carefully, I do not want her to settle but I have no issues with her grub hunting, and I have been careful to remove the cat food feeder in that area so she can not “free” feed..
I like skunks, and in all the year on the farm, I have always been able to shoo them along.. such happy, smart, and if handled right, gentle creatures.. O what the heck, I will own it.. if I lived in a place that would legally let me own an altered and de-scented skunk, I so would…
But I don’t.. and so I admire the wild ones that wonder though the farm and we look at each other, watch each other and then I gently, softly a carefully move them on..
I wish that was the case with all of the wild mom’s but alas that is not always the case.. I as a farmer and livestock owner has created a relationship with my livestock..
I provide clean drinking water, pasture or dried hay and feed, I provide shelter and I provide a clean space for them to birth, and raise their babies, as a added bonus in todays modern world, I can also provide routine medical care.. and when needed expert care be it Ferrier or vet or the company that tests the hay and tells you what you need to provide etc
But I forgot one.. didn’t I.. I have in that same relationship given my word to my livestock that I will build, and or provide them within reason safety.. something that can be a challenge at times..
It’s a never-ending battle, made all the more challenging with you small farm and when you believe and raise your animal as natural as possible..
It’s a fine line.. I love the idea of free range and I do let my birds out but I have learned the hard way.. only while I am out with them.. otherwise they will end up dinner at a rate I am not comfortable with..
So we walk the line.. they get a indoor-outdoor pen, they get fresh air, sunshine and dirt bath area’s, they get greens and fodder and goodies taken to them.. is it full out free range no.. is it the best choice.. I stand by that it is..
I need to balance providing them with everything they need to live a “content and allowed to express their natures” with keeping them healthy, well feed and safe..
And it’s just not as simple as doing it one time and working.. it’s a daily, heck at times a hourly balance at times.. So if you are a new farmer, be aware that worked last year or last week or yesterday, does not mean that it will work today..
Each day is a new challenge.. I hope you will all rise up to it, because if you have livestock, they are counting on you to figure it out 🙂