For the latest addition in my ongoing raccoon saga, I shall tell you about this mornings discoveries. I had that tractor locked up tighter than a drum. Chicks safely in the nest box and feeder removed and placed in the shed for the night. My confidence was up and I went to bed.
This morning the tractor was undisturbed! I let the chicks out and went to the shed to fetch their feeder.
Smart raccoons had gotten into the main shed.
They had somehow found a hole small enough to squeeze through and made their way through rafters and cubby holes to the coop. And there they had a little holiday with not only the chick feeder but the feeders for the main flock as well. I think they were flaunting their success in that after spilling and eating the food from three feeders and the bin where the crumble dust is kept, they scattered it around the floor and pooped right in the middle of it.
I kind of just stood in the shed and let out a big sigh. This has been a lesson for me - for the importance of proper planning, anticipating trouble spots (like using the mesh netting instead of chicken wire in the first place), and never underestimating the ability of a raccoon to get into just about any space at any time.
I may have gotten a little worked up yesterday with the 99 cent eggs and such, but instead of calling the central air install guy I just let out that sigh and refilled the feeders. Every little trick I pick up from having all these experiences will help me in the long run. Next time I build a chicken tractor I will know so much more about what to do and what not to do. And so many little items that are usually common sense, like locking up the feeders or making the food harder to get to have been reinforced for me. Little things that I let slide sometimes end up costing me money - having to buy more chicken feed, having to buy more parts for the tractor, etc.
Tonight I made sure things were locked up and secure. I know I have done everything I can and that is all I can do. This whole thing has taught me so many little lessons and although frustrating and annoying and at times embarrassing, I must admit that on some level I appreciate the knowledge.
Don;t worry readers, I will not dwell on the raccoons any longer, unless they do something dramatic. So many nice things happened today that I would rather think on tonight: we attended a family reunion today and I saw people I have not seen in many years, from which I picked up some great genealogy information and photos. I also received an email today from someone I had made a birthday gift for - some knitted socks and a hat. She emailed to thank me and tell me how much she liked them which gave a bright spot to my day.
So, unless the raccoons manage to completely tare down the shed tonight, tomorrows post should be about something unrelated to nighttime predators.