Thursday, October 30, 2014

Farm 4, Predators 2

Another win for the farm!  Annmarie was up and out of bed first thing in the morning yesterday, while I attempted to go back to sleep.  She took the dogs out to potty and started hollering for me to get down there immediately. I leaped out of bed and ran downstairs in the buff.  She had a large flashlight and was spotlighting a possum in the front yard. She had managed to call our border collie off, but Sprout, our Brussels Griffin was unwilling to quit attacking.  He is eleven pounds of fearless!  Did the same thing during the raccoon attack.  I reached in the front door and grabbed a .243, a little overkill but it was the closest gun.  Unfortunately, it has a scope and in the dark with a flashlight it was not easy to spot the critter.  It starts running away, I had to make sure I knew where Sprout was so he didn't catch any friendly fire, so I was delaying pulling the trigger.  Annmarie starts hollering "shoot" then started in with "hand me that rifle so I can do it" before I managed to pull the trigger.  The possum runs away into the dark, with Annmarie admonishing me for missing again.  I told her "no way I missed, saw the animal limping". She wanted to run out and check on it.  I told her after I got dressed I would stalk the yard in the dark!  I grabbed my trusty Walther P22 and flicked on the laser.  This is the best gun for varmints at night around the house. I do need to replace the batteries on my laser.  Too much nighttime prowling the laser light is pretty weak.  The possum was right down by the creek dying. A couple of finish shots and it was over quick.

I have determined that if I didn't have chickens the small predators would be safe.  The only trouble with that is I have shoveled at least 50 pounds of crap out of the buildings from these animals living in the out buildings. It causes the wood to rot, so they cannot set up a home or the buildings will be ruined.  Plus, there are people in town who are "humanely" live trapping these predators and then letting them go at four corners on the edge of our property, leaving us to deal with the nuisance creatures. We are still following the 22 rule except for coyotes. We are pretty sure we lost two lambs this summer to coyotes.  That is why the .243 is by the door. 

I was outside potttying the dogs three hours later and heard some rustling in the barn. The noise persisted so I grabbed the Walther and Zeke and we headed over to the barn. The noise was emanating from inside the barn. We snuck up and went into the milking area, I crept up to the door and peered over to see a full size pregnant ewe with her head stuck in a feeder.  When I handmade them there is some overlap on one section. This ewe jammed her head in and could not get out.  I tried pushing to make the hole larger but the sheep would not pull her head when I was squeezing to make the hole larger.  I had to walk over to the shed and get a pair of bolt cutters to cut her free. I managed to save the feeder and got her loose with no further problems.  

I am currently working on putting up a new cross fence in the barn lot. I only had to drill four holes and I broke three shear pins on the tractor hole auger.  Two holes need to go a little deeper but I am letting the rain soften up the holes some more.  Without all the recent rain I never could have gotten the holes dug.  I still need to finish disking the upper prime pasture so it can be planted. 

Tomorrow I have to trim some trees and straighten out an apple tree.  Hopefully, I can finish disking if there is time.  We had our first lamb!  It was born one week ago. The sheep are a month early by our guesstimate. So now we are on the lookout for more babies.  We also have an extra ram. I know I banded everyone, but I think the rubber band broke. So now I will have to use two bands on everyone.  The two band method is the preferred method.