As a mom I am used to popping up wide awake and ready for action in response to a strange noise. Little did I know I would use this trait as an Urban Homesteader. This time I was a little too late to save the day. Sadly we said goodbye to Sergeant last night. As we turned on the patio light we just glimpsed a Bobcat making it’s get away. We are very careful to protect our animals from hungry prowlers in the night, as experience has been a hard task master. So, How did this happen?
Because of my son’s underground rabbit den experiment we have two cages side by side close to the ground. One cage has a passage that leads to an underground den enclosure and the cage next to it does not have this feature(It is the control group in the experiment) Find out about his experiment here. . All our other rabbit cages are up on legs of some kind, more for the health of the rabbit than anything else. Now we are seeing another advantage of having a cage lifted off of the ground. I think when Sergeant got spooked he jumped around and around in his cage until the door popped open and the rest was, well, his undoing. One of my kiddos had seen him do this once before. I think this is the hardest thing to deal with on a farm;the loss of animals. It seems that the farther you move out of the city the harder it gets to defend your animals. However even in the middle of a busy lighted city we are not immune to animal loss. Most urban farmer’s first line of defense is sturdy pens made of wire hardcloth. Chicken wire just doesn’t cut it. Other than that we have farmer friends with guard dogs and guard donkeys. My kids have tried persistently to talk me into a farm “guard” dog. I am afraid however, that I will end up with just a shedding, slobbering, couch loafing “pet” dog with a big appetite for chicken or rabbit. I think you can plainly see my hesitation. If you have a great dog that guards your urban homestead please share in the comments. What kind is it? and How did you train it? Do you leave it outside with the animals?
The other things I have seen used with mixed success are solar powered electric fence and my personal favorite ;a noisy contraption with flashing red lights that is set up on a motion detector. Wonder how my neighbors would like that? I can see it now; My neighbor jumping out of bed in alarm. Shouting, “Wake up Gladyss! It’s an emergency or a fire or a tornado! Oh no, it is just that crazy chicken lady on the corner with her animal protection device going off again.” No, that definitely would NOT work for us. Never fear, my boys have taken this attack as a personal affront to their manhood and are busily brainstorming on how best to protect the homestead. I will let you know what they come up with. It is sure to be something interesting. I have already over heard them talking this morning about night vision goggles, snares and ammunition. My main Hunter, no kidding his name really is Hunter, has already researched and informed me that Bobcats can see ultraviolet light but NOT red lights. The later of which he has attached to his scope. I know! Boys are different and wonderful that they lay awake thinking over this sort of thing. If you are worried about the Bobcat, don’t be. My boys are stealthy but not THAT stealthy. Shhh, please don’t tell them I said this! Never a dull moment here on the homestead. No more rabbit anytime soon I am afraid, as we have just lost our buck. Good bye Sergeant. You will be missed.