Sunday, March 23, 2014

Views Come With Predators

Thought I'd disappeared? Well my order at the new Internet company did. The computer ate it. When the installation day was coming to a close and no one had yet showed up, I called. Had to order it all over again. How come nothing is ever done the first time? In fact they set a new date for installation and then called to change that and then the time they were to show up didn't happen either. It has made this move so.... slow. Not that is wasn't already complicated but when you have to do things over and over it really impedes the progress. One computer is up and running and the others I just don't have the brain power to set up the router thingy. It is amazing how tired our minds are. The simplest tasks take great concentration. But we are partially up and running again so expect blogs as I can sneak them in. We are sti...ll moving.
The view from our master bedroom. Breathtaking isn't it. It is just as beautiful highlighted by the moon at night too.
We've begun using our binoculars a great deal to watch the wildlife and gaze up close at the view. Some day we are going to have to definitely get a spotting scope.
Note our munchkin with her fingers imitating grandpa.
Here she is trying out his binoculars. She has them upside down.
Problem is when you live close to the mountains and the countryside is teaming with wildlife, you also have predators. This is what Kirk and I stumbled across when we were investigating sounds coming from the draw on the north side of the empty five acre lot next door. We suspected it was turkeys as we have a big flock we see below us most of the day but not being real familiar with them we weren't sure if they indeed made the strange sound.
The kill was pretty disturbing as it was only 50 yards away from our barn. The barn that has a loafing shed on the other side with what they might consider their next supper inside. This picture makes it seem a bit further than the 50 yards but it was close, too close. The  tracks all around the white tail deer said it was coyote that did the deed and they are more elongated than a dog and the scat confirmed it was coyote. The kill appeared to be about two days old but it had snowed and so we knew the clear tracks meant the coyote or coyotes had been coming repeatedly to feast.
We expected to have some coyote problems since we do live near the mountains but not after the second night we had brought the goats here, yikes.
In my haste to quit worrying about stock in one place and I in the other, I put together a pen with cow panels and thought I had some time to secure it from predators. At the time I wasn't real sure what security measures were needed but I thought I had time to figure that out. It was enough of a headache just trying to figure out the layout of the pens and how they flowed into the pasture. The half unfenced pasture. This place was not set up for stock.
With snow drifts like this I just wasn't getting fencing done between trips of hauling belongings and putting them away so there was room for more. I would have to dig a lane through the snow in many parts to lay fence so I thought a couple smaller pens would do while I waited for the snow to melt. The snow that just keeps on coming. Note the flakes in the air in the bottom picture. We are expected to get showers again on Monday.
I got the first pen built and laid out the panels for the second. They ended up covered in snow. I shoveled out a couple panels today and put up a temporary pen in the barn. held up with baling twine to the support posts. That was tonight's safe haven from the predators.
Lesson number one learned. If you lay something down  it is soon buried. This is my stack of panels on the side of the barn that gets the least amount of snow half buried.

As I stewed about my need to go home after another load and fearing leaving the goats, I called a friend who is the father of a government trapper and asked about the characteristics of coyotes. You need to know your enemy if you have any chance of defeating him. A coyote is indeed a formidable enemy. I learned that people in heavily infested coyote country bring in their goats to a secure area two hours before sunset. So that is what I did tonight. I just don't want to forever be bringing them into the barn. It has too many other things that have to be housed inside. I'll let them out a couple hours after sunrise for coyotes also feed early in the morning.

This is what the gentleman said. At this time of the year coyotes are running in pairs, a female and a male and then about April to mid May the bitch will den up and have her pups. The male will then do the hunting and come back to the den to regurgitate the meat for her and the pups. June through July are really dangerous months where the bitch will be teaching her pups to hunt. Though the pattern will be the same, the months may be different in your area.

When are we kidding, June of course. Maybe not so smart? Next year it might be wise to plan that differently since the after birth and small kids are extra attractive to the bad boys.

I went to and looked up fencing. They recommend a sixteen foot cow panel cut the long way and laid on the ground attaching it to the upright fence. Coyotes are really good diggers. They will go under, through, or over fence. They recommend adding also an electric fence with a big jolt but I'll just have to get by with my solar electric fence we used around the garden to also aid in discouraging digging. Then we need to add another wire fence to the cow panel to create smaller openings. We have some that we had around the back of our property that we might use or we might use deer fence. They did say to make it tall. I'm just disappointed because I wanted to gaze out at the goats in the pen instead of through a wire mess obtrusive fence. From the cow panels we need to add extensions to hold up the deer fence. Not tight though because you don't want it stable. A nice stable top railing just creates a springboard for the coyotes feet to leap into the pen. A swinging, unstable fence top leaves them unsure if the fence will hold under their weight.

With putting the goats out to pasture in the daytime and in at night into a more secure enclosure, we hope to lower our risks. We only have three goats with one being the main supply of milk.

This also means the chickens will need an extra secure fence for the run. Here I thought skunks and raccoons would be our main problem, guess not. The neighbor told us some years back he lost a dog to the coyotes and advised us not to let our chickens run loose.

Some time this summer the plan is to close off half of the front end of the loafing shed and inside this area create two jugs. That way we can mother up does and kids before letting loose in with the others. This closed off area should also help with security and take the place of the barn which as big as it will be filled to capacity soon, a forging area, the tractor, a pickup truck, wood for winter, a small meat processing area, tools, a milking area, etc.

It is nice to be back, I hope you missed me because I sure missed you.

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