Friday, August 16, 2013

This Means WAR

Jack and I have 9 ducks we keep in the backyard for eggs, and also because they're just really cute.  We're now into our 3rd year of having ducks, and the resident wildlife has started to cause a few problems.

First, in early spring I started to notice broken duck eggs.  It was just a few here and there to begin with, but pretty soon became something I found every day.  Wha...?  It took me a while to figure out that CROWS (who are insanely smart) had figured out where they could get an easy duck egg breakfast and were reaching inside the duck hutch with their beaks and breaking open the eggs and then eating them.

ME: 0               WILDLIFE: 1

Ok.  I kind of admired them for figuring this out.  I also didn't mind seeing them at dawn milling around the duck yard and picking up stray grain the ducks had left scattered about.  It's only a little bit!  But the egg stealing had to stop, so I cut a foot-wide strip of burlap and set up a baffle around the bottom of the duck hutch so the crows couldn't reach inside anymore.  SUCCESS!!  It so worked!  YES!

ME: 1               WILDLIFE: 1

Then a few months later we started to notice that the gravity feeder we put the duck food into was running out suspiciously fast....  Then a few times the feeder would be knocked over in the morning.  Ok... this is definitely something bigger than the crows.  I'm pretty sure it's raccoons.

ME: 1               WILDLIFE: 2

We started to put the feeder into a metal trash can at night... most of the time.  When we remembered.  And even when we DID put the feeder up, something would still come into the yard and eat all the food the ducks had knocked out of the feeder and onto the ground!  Ducks are super messy, so this was easily a day's worth of food.  I estimated that only about 1/2 to 2/3 of the food we bought was actually going towards feeding the ducks.  Grrrrrrr...

ME: 1               WILDLIFE: 3

So that brings us up to this week.  To combat the food-knocked-out-of-the-feeder problem, I stopped using the gravity feeder.  Instead of filling that up once a week, I now measure out ONE scoop of food for the ducks each morning into a tin.  This is completely eaten by the end of the day.  HA!  SUCK IT, RACCOONS!

ME: 2               WILDLIFE: 3

I buy several bags of duck food at a time, since it's a pain to go all the way to the feed supply store and lug it home.  I dump 2 bags into a plastic trash can in the duck yard so it's handy for feeding the ducks.  This system has worked well for months.  AS SOON as I started to measure out the food so that none was left over at night, THE NEXT MORNING I went out to find the lid of the food bin had been pried off and something had sat on top of the food and munched away.  All.... night.... long.  AUGHHHH!

ME: 2               WILDLIFE: 4

Ok... I will not be beaten!!  I took a bungee cord and used it to secure the lid of the food bin.  So far so
good.  When I went out this morning I found muddy footprints all over the food bin lid and SCRATCH marks all over it.  Something had tried to break in again but had been foiled!  HA!  I'M SMARTER THAN A RACCOON!  Wait a minute....

ME: 3               WILDLIFE: 4

A neighbor had a live trap they didn't need any more and are going to let me have it.  I'm out of town this weekend, but soon I'll try to trap the raccoon and take it far, far away.  Hopefully it'll find a great new life and stay far, far away from here.  I hope....

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