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Old 10-30-2009, 08:33 PM
 
12,683 posts, read 17,006,392 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
The problem with coyotes (and a lot of other pests) is when (a) man moves into their territory and then objects to them being there and (b) their natural prey is reduced. Plus, of course, they're one of the more adaptable, intelligent of the creatures that man's likely to run across - I've seen a coyote running with a pack of dogs two blocks from downtown Dallas, and that was 35 years ago.

Even given that, if their natural prey is plentiful, they'd prefer not to come close enough to get pets because that means they'd have to come close to humans (with guns and wounded rabbit calls). But if they're hungry, yes, they will. If you don't have a Great Pyrenees on the place, that is.
I have always seen man as a part of ecology and not a species that stands outside of it. As such I believe man competes with wildlife for habitat and niche space and should be given some credit for his efforts.

There is no doubt coyotes are one of Earth's most adaptable and intelligent canid species. There is also little doubt that man has acted as a strong selection force in sharpening that adaptability and intelligence. I've watched coyotes curiously peek over a a tall snakeweed as you drive slowly by until they suddenly realize you have been watching them all along and they hurriedly slink away. In the southeastern New Mexico desert I have heard coyotes running and playing just outside a campfire light so as to taunt you with their presence. I guess what I am saying is, if coyotes want to live in harmony with me I am willing to do that. However, if they think I am here to provide a pet cafeteria where they can fill their bellies whenever they like, they will learn that this species has both intelligence and technology to dissuade them of their choice in restaurants.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,480 posts, read 38,385,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post
Overrun with birds, that would be terrible.Your 55 must be in a desert, in more ways than one.
Nope, not even close.

Overrun with anything, cats OR birds or any other creature, is a problem. The whole idea of ecology is balance.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:35 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
Annie, I have family in a rural area a town or two over from where you are eventually moving. Coyotes and/or feral dogs are a problem in that area for them. Their 'outdoor cats' go missing (or turn up on the roadside) pretty frequently. It's a good idea to keep 'pet cats' indoors at night.

Oh, and watch out for the deer when you're driving! The ex has hit a few on some of those back highways.
Thanks for this info. My kitties are indoors at night. In fact, while they are permitted to go in and out daytime, they generally spend more time inside sleeping than outside. Actually, the reason my cats are fed canned food 3 times a day is to keep them close to home and the last feeding is at 10 pm. It's amazing how quickly they learned to tell time and often come in 15-20 min early. We call it the kitty curfew. It's funny, even when we have guests and are staying up late, the kitties are home by 10 and mewing for their bedtime snack. They are also trained to come when I whistle for them. Mostly they DO come, but it's not 100%. Now, if I yell LUNCH, they generally suddenly appear at my feet.

I guess that means we'll have to fence in the garden if we have deer. The joys of country living? Right now all we have to deal with is raccoons and opossum (I HATE those creatures!). We used to have a quickset pool but the raccoons swam in it and left a present. I was so grossed out that I tossed the whole pool out.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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Definitely head on over to meet the neighbors at your earliest opportunity. If you're truly in a rural area, those folks are your first line of support in emergencies as well as during normal work/chores/events at your place ... and theirs. You need to know who around you has skills and equipment you might need sometime (such as a local sheriff's deputy, or a medical professional), and who is willing to be your "good" neighbor (hopefully, all of them). It helps also to know what livestock or domestic animals they have so that you can be a "spotter" for them if any get out ... you'll know who to call to advise, and they'll appreciate your assistance in the locating and recovery of their livestock.

Please spay/neuter your cats, if you haven't already. There's a huge overload of feral cats throughout most of the country, and way too many cats in shelters being put down because they're not being adopted. Your cats aren't likely to be victims of snakes, but coyotes and owls can sure tear them up. It sounds like your cats are more domesticated than outdoors cats, which should keep them a lot safer than most barn cats that are strictly outdoor creatures.

Being a helpful neighbor when needed will go a long way towards local harmony. If you see folks doing seasonal large labor type chores, rounding up livestock, fencing chores ... it's a great time to offer to be of help. Sometimes you'll be in for a lot of work, sometimes just some "moral support". Either way, the gesture will be to your advantage in due course. And, of course, there's also the times to best be neither seen or heard ....
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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[quote=Gaffer;11418388]Every farm around here has multiple cats and have for years. We still have plenty of birds![/QUO


Google, Passenger Pigeon
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,480 posts, read 38,385,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Definitely head on over to meet the neighbors at your earliest opportunity. If you're truly in a rural area, those folks are your first line of support in emergencies as well as during normal work/chores/events at your place ... and theirs. You need to know who around you has skills and equipment you might need sometime (such as a local sheriff's deputy, or a medical professional), and who is willing to be your "good" neighbor (hopefully, all of them). It helps also to know what livestock or domestic animals they have so that you can be a "spotter" for them if any get out ... you'll know who to call to advise, and they'll appreciate your assistance in the locating and recovery of their livestock.

Please spay/neuter your cats, if you haven't already. There's a huge overload of feral cats throughout most of the country, and way too many cats in shelters being put down because they're not being adopted. Your cats aren't likely to be victims of snakes, but coyotes and owls can sure tear them up. It sounds like your cats are more domesticated than outdoors cats, which should keep them a lot safer than most barn cats that are strictly outdoor creatures.

Being a helpful neighbor when needed will go a long way towards local harmony. If you see folks doing seasonal large labor type chores, rounding up livestock, fencing chores ... it's a great time to offer to be of help. Sometimes you'll be in for a lot of work, sometimes just some "moral support". Either way, the gesture will be to your advantage in due course. And, of course, there's also the times to best be neither seen or heard ....
Great advice - and, yes, do neuter your cats. One reason we had ten cats at one time is that, being two miles from I35 and "in the country", cats keep being dropped off at our gate and make their way to our house. And since we don't want 900 sick cats hanging around, they get taken in for their shots and fixing, and then, well, once you've done that, they're yours.
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:57 AM
 
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Of all the animal issues I have to deal with in raising very vulnerable sheep, I would say that my neighbors having cats would be the very last species of animals I would be concerned with. In fact my neighbor is a cat lover and I have never had an issue with them and that includes bird habitat.

I will say a few years ago we had an issue with rabbies and skunks which got into the barns and infected the barn cats. Today most barn cats are shot on sight for this reason. The rabies were being passed to the farmers and for awhile in this county it was a pandemic among farmers. The USDA got an emergency fund going because the shots cost thousands of dollars and most farmers here did not have good health insurance. One farm was funny in that they did not have the guts to shoot cats, so they hired the local mechanic to do it for them. He got his mechanic rate for this which was costly for the farmer because once you start hunting cats, after the first 3 or 4 go down, the rest run for the hills. Its not as easy as you think. But luckily that rabies issue is just about over her.

As for the birds, thankfully the USDA does have a program to help people with birds however. Under the WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program) you can get grants to help improve your farm for such things as pollinators, deer and song birds. You have to qualify of course, and you have to be willing to sacrifice a half acre or more to a wildlife plot, and plant 9 different types of planting that flower in the spring, mid summer and late summer to qualify, but it is quite lucrative if you meet these requirements. They also will provide funding for bird houses and even bat houses. Its a very good program!

Overall I am encouraged by the orginal poster because at least they are trying to fit in before they get there. That is always a good sign...for the neighbors and them. My neighbors who moved in from out of state, never seemed to understand rural life and had a penchant for destroying crops with their ATV's, just moved out Wednesday. If they had learned what was posted here, they might have gotten along.
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,139 posts, read 50,293,450 times
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Go meet your neighbors.

We have 150 acres of forest. We are putting in some orchards, raised bed gardens, chicken coops, goats and sheep. As much as we can fit underneath the forest canopy.

In our area there are a few eagles that stay within line-of-sight of the river; high up among the tree tops, they are neat to watch. Also a few hawks. The hawks come and go, I think directed by the presence of the eagles. Down lower in the forest there are small birds. Not many song-birds though, but that is controlled by the predator birds up above them.

The biggest threat to our chickens and turkeys has not been the eagles though, it has been fisher-cats. You see we have 1/4 mile of river frontage and a creek going through our property. So we have beaver and an assortment of water-loving mammals. Our neighbors and us all have issues with these critters attacking land fowl and domestic rabbits.

We have a few dogs. We do take in strays. Not all dogs have a good temperament for being around cats, goats, sheep, chickens and turkeys. So if a dog takes to attacking any of our livestock, then we try to find a different home for them, or else I put the dog down myself.

We also have an assortment of cats. Our cat population goes up and down. They are free-fed dry food, but not too much food. We want our cats to be ever just slightly hungry, to make them better mousers.

The forest is teeming with rodents, snakes, frogs, salamanders, etc. I do not think that our cats really make any dent in the forest's capacity of such critters; but they keep those critters away from the house.

Our dogs and cats go inside and outside, and they all interact with the local population of skunks and porcupines.

We do not neuter any of our animals. Like I said our population of domestic animals goes up and down.

Our forest does have moose, deer, bear, bobcat, wild-turkey and coyote in it. I think that the presence of our dogs, or more precisely the dog poop, forms a deterrent barrier which seems to make the moose, deer, bear, bobcat and coyote to keep their distance from our operation.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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Ah, how different the realities of "living in the country" with livestock varies from area to area.

FBeekeeper's Maine operation can tolerate breeding cats ... between our own (now about 1 doz between housecats and barn cats), the ones dropped off by folks hoping that they'll find a home here (like Texas Horse Lady's place), the feral breeding cats, and the hundreds of "rescue" cats from our local shelters and the transportation link that we participate in placing unwanted cats of all ages ... we can't tolerate any more cats here in Wyoming and our place in Colorado.

Interesting to note, too, the FBeekeeper can keep the predators, such as coyotes, deterred with simply having dog poop around their property. In our case, the sheep and goats and poultry are the objects of attacks by the coyotes and foxes and skunks and raccoons, and we are absolutely dependent upon our LGD's to minimize our losses. Our dogs actively chase off and/or kill these predators, some who visit as close as our barns and corrals, and typically wander within a few hundred yards of our house and barns checking out the dinner menu selection. Before we had the LGD's, we had significant domestic livestock losses ... even though we had dog poop of other breeds on the property.

Perhaps the coyotes can smell the that we had smaller housepet type dogs before and weren't intimidated? They are certainly not deterred by the poop from our LGD's which can munch coyotes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner ....
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,139 posts, read 50,293,450 times
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IMHO having cats that are slightly hungry, changes their personality. They become hunters, even though they are still domesticated and purr on your bed pillow. But they can go outside to feed themselves, and may on occasion need help pulling quills out of their hide.

Our dogs have each been large breeds. Great pyr, German Shepherd, Rotti, and wolf-mixes. They dont all do well here, some want to go after livestock, and some go into the forest and likely are eaten. We have not tried any adult dog less than 80 pounds. Our dogs are fed a lot of meat and lard, so I would imagine that their poop should smell like predator poop. Sometimes they come out of the woods and need stitches too.

I think that a lot of it has to do with the local forest's population of wild animals. Lots of beaver, otter, fisher-cats, skunk, porcupine, rodents, snakes, frogs, and salamanders; mean that the coyotes and bobcat are not real hungry.

If they come across another predators territory, they are only going to cross into that territory if they are real hungry. Otherwise it is safer for them to just go around.

We also have a lot of wild-turkey. About 10 flocks [6 to 8 hens and a couple toms] that wander around our town. I have not seen it yet, but I have been told that these toms will injure a dog real bad if a dog tries to go after them.

The forest is filled with predators of all sizes and elevation levels.

A farm has to fill some of those niches, or else something will come out of the forest to fill the niche.
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