Protect Backyard Chickens from Skunks

Next up in our series on backyard chicken predators is the noxious skunk. While they might not be the first predatory threat to your flock that comes to mind, nevertheless, if given the chance, a skunk will eat eggs, kill chicks and even occasionally attack full grown poultry. skunk6

Obviously, the easiest way to tell if a skunk is around your coop is to follow your nose. If you notice persistent skunk essence over an extended period of time, chances are you have a skunk in residence. But, if you are still not sure, you can also look for tracks. The tracks can be difficult to distinguish from those of a raccoon but if you are a gifted tracker, you can easily spot the difference. spskunkIf you really want to be thorough, an examination of skunk scat will usually reveal lots of insect parts. If your coop has been subject to attack by a skunk, you would expect to find eggs opened up on one end and the contents consumed or if an actual bird were attacked the neck would be opened up and perhaps the head eaten.

http://www.almanac.com/pest/skunks http://www.raising-chickens.org/chicken-predators.html

Once you have definitely identified the threat, it is time to take action. Skunks will not usually break through coop confines like some other aggressive predators, but if given an opening, they will take it. So, it is essential to make sure fencing and coop confines are intact and also that any areas where skunks could dig underneath are properly sealed. Once the coop is secure, then it is time to employ a deterrent. Enter fox urine. What? Fox Urine? How? It might not be the first thing you think of but, a fox is one of the most common skunk predators. Skunks fear foxes, they sense a fox is present because of the urine, and they leave your chickens, chicks and eggs alone – it is as simple as that.

Identify, shore up fencing and walls, set up a pee-rimeter with 100% fox urine, and rest easy.

Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan

Guest Blogger – P. Catcher

I have noticed some blogs have famous guest bloggers share their thoughts from time to time. So, I figured I would try to get one myself. I did and he is certainly one of a kind. Enjoy. . .

How I became a Urine Collector

By P. Catcher

When I applied for the job, I was looking for a ground floor opportunity and I found it. The ad I responded to read something like this: Looking for adventure? Work closely with wild animals in their natural environment. Great health, accident and death benefits. Athletic flexibility a plus. Uniforms provided. Ground floor opportunity with potential for fast movement. Call for interview. Now, I was curious. This sounded like just the job I was looking for. I called for the interview and made the appointment. The address was on a dead-end road about 10 miles out from town. The office was rustic in a pleasant sort of way. But, the first thing I noticed was the smell. It wasn’t strong or overpowering, but it was everywhere. The receptionist was pleasant and made the normal small-talk that receptionists make with applicants for “ground floor opportunities”. Soon I was ushered into a large conference room populated by stuffed mounts of snarling coyotes, wolves, bobcats and foxes. With eight pairs of sightless eyes boring into me from all sides, I was more than a little uncomfortable. The door opened and a huge bearded man entered. The room suddenly became much smaller. As I took his meaty hand, I wondered if this same hand played an active role in the fate of the critters adorning the walls of the room. Mr. Henderson explained that his company was in the waste recycling business and need help in processing the waste materials and readying them for their new markets. “Excuse me, Mr. Henderson, but I thought this job had something to do with wild animals in the great outdoors, not waste recycling. Am I at the right place?” I said. “Yes, Mr. Catcher, you are in the right place. Come with me and I think it will become clearer,” said Mr. Henderson with a slight grin on his face. He took me down outside towards a long, low building. I noticed by now that I had become quite used to the smell, but it was definitely getting stronger as we approached the building. We entered through a steel door into a clean room with white walls and bright light. Along the walls hung large heavy-looking overalls and on a shelf were stacks of long rubber gloves with thick leather cuffs. On a rack above were rows of headgear that looked like a cross between a welders hood and an NFL helmet. A row of rubber overshoes lined the base of the wall. “Let’s suit up,” said Henderson. I was a little wary now, but I picked out a suit that looked about my size and began to put it on. It was much lighter than it looked, but thick and well padded. The helmet was light also with a mesh face protector that provided excellent peripheral vision. The gloves allowed for surprising dexterity and the boots provided great traction. I watched Mr. Henderson finish suiting up. He now appeared superhuman in size and power. I supposed I couldn’t get into too much trouble with him around. Henderson purposefully walked to the far end of the room, released a deadbolt and opened the door. He motioned for me to be quiet and follow. The door opened outside into a lightly wooded area. I could see high fences enclosed the perimeter. Large water tanks stood next to the building with spigots that emptied into a low trough camouflaged to look like a stream. I looked around. Even though I couldn’t be sure, I had the distinct impression that we were not alone. “Look over there behind that pine tree,” whispered Mr. Henderson. My eyes scanned over towards the pine tree. I saw nothing at first, but gradually my eyes separated a distinctive shape from the background. It was a coyote. I recognized it from those public TV National Geographic specials. “Watch this,” said Mr. Henderson. He went over to two tree stumps. Big twin maples that had long ago been cut down. Each stump was about 2 feet in diameter. He reached down, grabbed some sort of handle and pulled. Instantly the tops of the stumps popped up like lids on a hinged trash cans. I glanced back and saw the coyote start to move. I looked into the stump and could not believe my eyes. bottle“Beer nuts and popcorn, they love ’em,” said Henderson. Henderson backed slowly away from the stumps and as he did I saw the woods come alive with movement. First the coyote by the pine tree began warily circling towards the stumps. The stumps were rigged up somehow to pump the beer nut and popcorn up and out like mini volcanoes. Soon the coyotes were coming from everywhere. Henderson moved slowly over to the tanks and opened the spigot and flow bubbled into the fake stream bed. But, it wasn’t water. It was gold and frothy and soon a familiar scent reached me. “That’s right Catcher, it’s beer. This is Pabst Blue Ribbon and a little past its freshness date. They like it all right, but you ought to seem ’em when they get into some Red Dog,” offered Henderson. I was almost stupefied by the drama unfolding in front of me, but my time as a mere spectator was to be short-lived. “Grab that flat-pan,” instructed Henderson as he pointed to a long-handled pan hanging from the wall. The flat-pan looked like an extended pizza paddle with a bed-pan shaped container instead of a flat blade. The handle was a good four feet long, hollow like a tube and connected to a coiled clear hose. As I got a grip on the pan, I watched the coyotes gorge themselves on the beer nuts and popcorn. Soon a few started backing away from the feed and start sniffing around. They started moving towards the stream of beer. “That stuff makes ’em wicked thirsty, they’ll be hitting the brew in a minute,” said Henderson as his eyes followed the pack, “get ready with that pan. You see, Catcher, we recycle wild animal urine. People use it for all kinds of reasons and they pay a lot for it. Your job is to collect it.” “Urine Collector,” I thought, “so that’s what the ad meant when it said ‘work closely with wild animals in their natural environment.'” I watched as the coyotes approached the stream. Henderson was right, they sure were thirsty. “They won’t stop drinking ’till I turn off the spigot. Kinda like the boys down at the Silver Spur. Now this is what you do. Take the pan and get down on your belly and sneak up behind them. As long as the beer tap is open, they won’t bother you. Get about 5 feet behind them, and slide the pan under the business end one of ’em. They’ll start peein’ soon, so be ready. They usually don’t all go at once, so should be able to handle quite a few by yourself . The hose on the handle is connected to a pump, so it’ll take all you can get. By the time we get a full crew hired, we ought to be able to get the whole herd at the same time. Now, collecting from the females is pretty simple, but with the males, it gets kinda tricky. They shoot off to one side or another and it gets worse after they’ve been in the beer for awhile. But, with practice you’ll rarely lose a drop,” instructed Henderson. I looked at the line-up of coyote tails and then looked for the door which Henderson had now fully blocked. I could tell my ground floor opportunity was about to begin. Down I went, pan in hand, and began slithering towards the coyotes. Coyotes look different from that angle. As I got closer, I extended the pan. “Close, get closer,” urged Henderson. I finally got the pan into position just as the flow began. The first was a female and it was a good shot. The male next to her took a little extra wrist action, but again I was successful. I could feel the urine coursing through the handle and into the hose and back to a holding tank concealed somewhere inside the building. In about 5 minutes, I must have collected a gallon or more. Judging from his exuberant body language, Mr. Henderson seemed to be quite pleased. One after another, I positioned my pan in the right spot and then began the subtle moves necessary to catch every last drop. It was more of a dance than anything and I was really getting into it, but then it happened. I should have been more careful, but I was just a beginner. I had my pan in position under a particularly large male, but just as he lifted his left leg he lost his balance on his right momentarily. A little too much Pabst, I suppose. I moved my pan quickly to compensate…..a little to quickly, I’m afraid. I whacked him good on a particularly sensitive part of the male anatomy. The sensation is something no female can comprehend, but as soon as it happened, I felt that coyote’s pain as much as if it was my own. There was no amount of beer that could distract that coyote from what had just occurred. I want to tell you that there is nothing quite like the feeling of being eye-ball to eye-ball with an 60# male coyote than has just had his bells rung. I now appreciated the copy in the rest of the original help wanted ad which read “Great health, accident and death benefits. Athletic flexibility a plus.” As I scrambled to my feet, the coyote took aim and lunged. He would have nailed me if I hadn’t tripped over the urine hose and toppled head long into the beer trough. I regained my footing and scrambled towards the door. Henderson was already on the other side peering out with the door cracked open. I could immediately tell what a warm, sensitive and caring boss he was as I heard him yell, “Shut off the beer, we’re wasting it!” I reached the door with 3 half-drunk coyotes in staggering pursuit. Fortunately, they couldn’t quite coordinate an effective attack and tripped all over each other in their failed attempt to kill me. I made it through the door just inches ahead of a coyote snout. Inside the door, I slumped to the floor. I couldn’t believe what I had just been through. I smelled like a barroom bathroom on Saturday night and looked like a deflated sumo wrestler. Henderson was beaming. “Not bad, son. The last couple of guys weren’t quite as agile as you are. The job is yours. You are a natural,” gushed Henderson. “You are a natural” No one had ever said that to me before. With renewed strength and pride, I pulled myself to my feet and shook Henderson’s outstretched hand.

Until I find more words. . .(my own or someone else’s). The PeeMan

Today’s Ask the PeeMan: Squirrels Under the Hood

Greetings from the North woods!

Well we have had some nice sunny weather, but today it is brutally cold. We have had frost warnings up for the last two nights, so I guess it was a good thing that I didn’t plant my garden before Memorial Day!

PeeMailTodays featured Ask the PeeMan comes to us from Deeanna:

Q.  I have had squirrels build a nest under my car hood under the engine twice this past week and chew through all the wires. My neighbour suggested coyote urine and my question is – is it okay to spray the engine and under the hood with this. I don’t want to damage anything.

A. For squirrels, we recommend FoxPee and we have a product designed specifically for your situation. Our FoxPeeShots are small “pee-loaded” cannisters – you just remove the lid and place in engine compartment and on the ground near each tire – re-cap and remove before driving.
See this link for details:
http://www.predatorpeestore.com/Predator-PeeShots.html

We have been selling more and more of our pee shots to car, RV and boat owners who are fed up with rodents of various types chewing wires, upholstery and otherwise wreaking havoc. Mechanics and dealerships across the country are starting to recommend our product to their customers. The convenient no fuss pee-loaded pee shots make it easy to use.  And as always, we guarantee our products or your money back! We have excellent customer service representatives(real people)to talk to on the phone and we are continually optimizing our website and shopping cart to make your online experience exceptional. I may be an old fashioned entreprenuer but I think that good customer service never goes out of style. My philosophy is that even if the product didn’t perform as expected every customer goes away knowing that we went above and beyond to ensure an overall positive experience. It may seem cliche’ but at Maine Outdoor Solutions LLC, the customer is always right!

Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan

 

It’s Spring Somewhere

File:Colorful spring garden.jpg

Photo Credit:  Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt / Austria

Greetings!

Well, it must be spring somewhere, but it certainly isn’t here. I tapped maples with my grandson a few weeks back, but then the sap all froze in the trees. There might not be any Winterberry Farm syrup this year.  Although, farther north they just got another half a foot of snow, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Anyway, for many of you it is time to start thinking about gardening and protecting those vegetables and plants from common pests.  Right now I would give my right arm to even see the bare ground let alone be able to till and plant anything!

Anybody who has farmed, or had a yard garden or even a container with a few vegetables in it, knows how much work it takes to keep them well fed and watered. That hard work can all be wiped out by a hungry rabbit or a busy woodchuck.

Since 1986, we have been selling quality predator urines to farmers, ranchers, and hobby gardeners to help them keep their precious vegetables and flowers safe from the ravages of  animal pests. We provide 100% Coyote, Wolf, Fox, Bobcat, Mt. Lion, Fisher and Bear Urine for protection against all types of animal nuisance garden and yard invaders.  No harsh chemicals, expensive traps, or inhumane methods needed with these all natural repellent for stopping animal pests.

So, when spring decides to show up in your neck of the woods, and you can finally get your hands in the dirt, think about how you will keep those plants safe all the way through to harvest time. Hopefully, we will have enough spring and summer for a harvest up here!

Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan

 

I’m not the only one who blogs about pee

Well, PredatorPee has popped up in the blogosphere, and I didn’t have anything to do with it. I would however like to thank Mike for his kind words and well-written blog. Like I always say, you don’t have to take my word for it.  MIKE’S BACKYARD NURSERY.

On the homefront -the snow is melting. . .slowly. I have tapped some of the trees, and the sap is running. Soon I will be boiling it down until it turns into syrup for the grandkids’ pancakes. Looking for highs close to 50 on Friday. Might have to break out the shorts and t-shirt.

The PeeMan

PeeMan Q & A

Well, I would like to report that the crocuses and daffodils are in bloom and the birds are ushering in the Spring warmth, but that would be a big fat lie. We have almost a foot of snow and the Canadian wind is still blowing cold. Anyway, enough about my problems. Lets get to other peoples problems. Here is a sampling of some questions that I have been getting lately. Hope you will find this information helpful. The PeeMan

QUESTION:

Hi there,

I am interested in purchasing either some coyote pee  or some wolf pee. What are the scent tags made of?  how close do they need to be in order to be effective ? I have 1 acre of crops as well as half acre pond. How much would I need to keep an active deer population out of my property for the summer? Thank you very much for your time.

ANSWER:

Thanks for the questions. ScentTags are made from an absorbent felt material. You can use either CoyotePee or WolfPee. If there are coyotes in your area, go with the WolfPee. Spacing is every 10-12 feet. See this link for info on how to create an effective “pee-rimeter“. Generally speaking a 12 oz bottle and a dozen ScentTags will treat a 150 lineal feet twice.

QUESTION:

Mr. Peeman, I am the grounds supervisor at a large government facility and we have an ongoing problem with gophers and ground squirrels in our lawns and landscape. Would your product be effective when lawn sprinklers are in operation 2 to 3 times per week? How effective and how long lasting is your product? I have about 440 acres of lawns and landscape here on center to try abating the problem.

ANSWER:

Thanks for the email. We normally try to create a “pee-rimeter” around the property, but protecting the entire 440 acres might be a bit tough. However, since the gophers and ground squirrels use burrows and tunnels I would take a different approach. I would start by working from the hardest hit areas gradually outward by spraying the holes with either CoyotePee or FoxPee. This would cause the critters to migrate out from there and over time you could work them back to the tree line or other non-landscaped areas. Re-spraying the area every 10 days or so should do the trick. We currently are about to introduce a self-contained one-gallon pump spray container that would be just the ticket for your application.

QUESTION:

I have a bottle of Bearpee and was wondering if it was ok to use it for scent training for my hounds?

ANSWER: 

Absolutely

A Squirrelly Question

Q. Which type of pee works best for squirrels?*

A. Actually, this is a pretty normal question and a very common problem! Fox and BobcatPee both work well on squirrels, if the squirrels are inside we use the 33Day Dispensers filled with BobcatPee and hung in the rafters
near the eaves. If outside, FoxPee in the dispensers hung from branches, fences etc.

*All of the questions posted on this blog are questions that the Peeman has actually been asked by people over the years.