Of Snakes, Skunks, and Priviledged SheepPosted: June 25, 2013
Interesting weekend we had here at the ranch. Friday night my oldest came home in the dark from getting pizza for dinner. She sees this black furry blob next to the yard fence and realized it was a dead animal. Unfortunately, we have a barn cat we call Hop-a-long who is also black. Her first thought is that on of the dogs killed Hop! Why in the world would they do such a thing? They got along so well! Oh, what’s that white stripe down the back of that furry blob…
It wasn’t Hop 🙂 (thank goodness!) It was, however, a dead skunk. A present from one of the elder Great Pyrenees no doubt, proudly showing off what a fine job they’re doing protecting the property from varmints. That is one of their duties and they do it quite well. Fortunately, it appears they got the best of the skunk and it didn’t get them at all. Plus, they didn’t cause it to stink like they do when they get run over. That allowed me to dispose of the little booger and still be let back into the house.
One thing the Pyrenees don’t bother with are snakes unfortunately. Saturday night we were feeding and gathering eggs when the wife spotted rat snake #4 in the chicken coop. It had one egg recently eaten. They look kinda like this when they do that:
Here’s the action shot:
I can’t allow these snakes to eat my eggs and chicks. I actually had one living in the coop for some number of days hiding under a nest. No eggs for about a week! Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to trap them and even if I did, letting them go around here would just make them someone else’s problem. My solution is a .22 long rifle shell of snake shot to the head. It’s not the ideal solution but it dispatches them quickly and hopefully painlessly.
We also tried to integrate our “pet” sheep back into the herd Friday night. That didn’t go so well. My wife’s name is Mary. She has this little lamb. One of the ewes abandoned it at birth several weeks back and we’ve been raising it since then. In the house… WE are it’s herd now! We put it out in one of the pens with a couple of the other sheep. All involved hated that idea and apparently around 3 AM they decided to bust out and make a break for it. Little Pistol (the lambs name is Pistol) came back up to the house gate and ‘baaaa’d’ incesently, waking the youngest daughter. The little toot was hurling herself at the gate trying to get back in. It was hard enough listening to her mournful ‘baaas’ when we left her outside but that was too much. So, looks like we got a pet for a while longer. Here she is in her natural habitat…
And on a sad note, we lost another chicken. When we went in to get the eggs Sunday evening it was laying at the back of the coop, DRT. We’re not sure if it got attacked by the rat snake or if it simply died. Either way, we’re down to 19 birds now. I really want to figure out a way to give the chickens a lot more roaming room without letting them loose. Most of my options in that area are rather expensive.