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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

In the post before last, there was a grim story about chicken losses due to  predators. The Jack the Ripper mystery has now been solved. A small group of feral cats are the culprits. They finally showed themselves in all their formerly domesticated glory.

There are at least two, maybe more. Not wanting to shoot the cats (although tempted), I called for help with the situation… The friendly neighborhood (Gaston County) animal control officer was at our house to set a trap.

Cat Trap (after the chicken sprung it and ate the cat food)

Apparently, there is a feral cat rescue group in the Charlotte, NC area that takes these unwanted animals and places them in designated areas away from people (donated use of woods or farm land) and provides them with shelters and daily feeding. They are neutered/spayed before re-release and an ear clipped as a visual marker.

Trapping a cat does not necessarily mean the gas chamber. But, it is a possibility. What do you do with all those wild felines? There are so many.

They are obviously hungry, but my birds cannot be served as their dinner on a platter. And if they are fed, they will stay around.

Presently, there are enough to produce lots of chicks in the Spring. But, our flock cannot handle many more losses.

So far, the trap that animal control set has not caught a stray cat. However, it finally did catch something – one small chicken. We’ll keep trying.

At some point we’ll have to invest in a trap of our own, as I am sure that this situation will happen periodically on the Farmette. All that you have to do is forget to close up the coop one night (of course we lost one little hen the very last time that happened) and the predators suddenly materialize.

What we need to do is move the main coop within view of the back deck. If we see a chicken eater, we could scare them off with the pellet gun or an ominous bang on a frying pan. Maybe we’ll get a mini donkey. They’ll guard goats – but I’m not sure about bird protection.

So, now we are left with a much smaller group of bantam chickens. We also still have 2 turkeys, 3 quail, 2 ducks, 2 guinea fowl and two standard chickens. It is plenty , but I do miss a few of the fancy bantams, especially since they started here as eggs. It is tempting to get a few fill-ins, but we must really work on above ground cages for safety before we do that.

Chicken circle (and my bright green garden clogs)

The pic shows some of the exotic bantam group that survived the onslaught of bad luck. And, yes, that is a pigeon that has made herself part of that flock.

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