We recently had some of our ducks and geese killed overnight. This happened last year as well. But we were never able to determine who the culprit was… fox, coyote, raccoon, opossum, owl?

I had found various piles of scat (animal droppings/manure) around the pastures, but they were too indistinct for me to tell which animal they came from.

We tried to go out late at night and really early in the morning to spot an animal. We never saw anything.

One of our farm volunteers even stayed up all night with a large spotlight in an attempt to catch a glimpse of a possible predator. Again, nothing.

So finally, after trying without success, I bought a game cam.

I first set it up near our mobile chicken coop, the Egg Mobile. We saw some rabbits and a few opossums. But that was it.

I then set it up near our sheep. Nothing.

I set it up near our pond. I saw the black and white cat that occasionally visits our farm.

But no predator that could take out 5 geese in one night (last year) or 4 ducks and one goose in one night (this year).

Eventually, I set up the game cam at the treeline bordering our pastures.

Here is what we found:

 

I am disappointed to see the coyote on the farm. The coyote is the likely source of our animal losses (although the bobcat may be contributing for sure). We know that if coyotes are hunted heavily, litter sizes increase dramatically. So in our attempt to fix the problem, we are actually making it worse. For now, I am still working on a plan to deal with the coyote, but I am not sure yet how I will proceed.

But I am so excited to see the bobcat on our farm. To have a high level predator like this means that we have a functioning ecosystem. There is obviously a trade off with this. If we lose a few chickens or ducks to these higher level predators each year, I am okay with that. To me, this is the cost of having a farm that encourages natural diversity. And I love it.

 

All photos/videos in this article are ours. If you would like to use one, please let me know!

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