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Bobcat problem (Predator Problems)

by steve, Western Massachusetts, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 23:39 (148 days ago)

I've lost a 2 birds in the past few months from attacks: About 6-8 weeks ago, the flock squawked like mad and start flying around the yard. When I came out, most of them were standing in a row shouting in the same direction out into the woods behind my house. I walked back there and saw something small-ish standing with a white guinea hen in its mouth. I went after it and it ran, and disappeared in the bushes before I could even tell what it was, and in a way that seemed almost like magic. It didnt' seem like a fox, althopugh it was about that size, but less red and it seemed a bit stockier overall. It seemed like it scared to easy to be a fox -- they are bold around here and likely to go after a whole flock, not grab one and run in fear. So, I figured it was an adolescent coyote -- which I thought would explain it's size, color, relative timidity (because it's young) and clumsiness (dropping the bird).

10 days ago, I went to the store around dusk, and came back a little later to find a pile of white feathers on the ground next to the pen door. The rest of the flock was in on their perches, but the 2nd of what was my 3 white birds was gone.

I assumed it was the same coyote or whatever. We do have piles of every predator you can imagine around here, including foxes, coyotes, fishers, raccoons, etc.; so it could have been a completely different animal each time.

Today, around noon, the birds were squawking like crazy. (They were in the pen, b/c I now have a policy of leaving them in for 2 weeks after a predator attack, so as to not encourage repeat attacks.) My coop and pen is at the edge of the woods, and I saw something about fox size running away into the woods about 20 feet from the pen.

It stopped and turned around to look at me, and it was a bobcat! When I kept walking toward him, he ran off into the woods, and disappeared in a way that frankly seemed impossible. (Where he went he should have still been visible, and it dead ends at a fence, a cliff, and a stream, so it's hard to know where he even went.) This make

This is now the second one I've seen -- the first one 2 years ago standing at the pen staring in. I had to chase him away back then.

I'm now kind of assuming the 2 recent attacks have been the bobcat. That would make it even more serious -- this is its territory and it's around and hunting. But let's say those attacks are unrelated. Even just this one bobcat sighting made me think today I can't just ignore it:

Because so far, most threats have been at dusk or later, or at dawn. So, I let them free range in the afternoon, and try to have them in around dusk.

But, this bobcat was at the coop at noon. So, it seems like I don't really have a defense against a fairly intense and crafty predator that hunts all day.

This alone seems like a big problem, but also I don't really know enough about bobcats' habits or behaviors at all. I don't know what to expect, how often they are around, what should be my practices with the flock because of its presence, etc.

Does anyone have any experience with or knowledge of bobcats as they relate to keeping a flock safe? Any information would be appreciated.


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