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Posts Tagged ‘bears’

Everything is all about balance. Or so it seems when you think about all the ways the word is used in the English language.

“His life hangs in the balance.”
“We have to balance the good against the bad.”
“Don’t worry, things will balance out in the end.”
We balance the books; we get caught off balance; our government is a system of checks and balances; we should eat a balanced diet; …..to name just a few.

But to our peacock, Farina, balance is more physical than figurative.

For a quick summation, Farina escaped his coop 18 months ago, got lost for 6 months and suddenly reappeared last summer. He has become an outdoor bird, but has totally wormed his way into our hearts. We have been struggling with ways to feed him without the squirrels, crows, raccoons, and bears getting to the food first.
thieves

We were actually relieved when Farina learned to eat out of the squirrel proof bird feeder that hangs off our 2nd level deck rail. He comes morning and evening for a snack of nuts and sunflower seeds. The rest of the day he is grazing on grasses and bugs.

Farina at bird feeder

At the time of this photo he had his full 4 foot tail. Don’t be fooled by the idiom “light as a feather”. When you’re dragging around approximately two hundred 48 inch long feathers, it ain’t light. But he has learned very well to compensate for the weight of the ballast and use it to help him balance on narrow perches.

Peacocks shed all of these feathers each year right after the end of mating season. And when the molting starts, it only takes about three days for them to drop every one of those feathers. This happened over the weekend.

Tailless

Apparently, it is going to take a few days to adjust to a new center of gravity. We were entertained for an hour yesterday evening as Farina struggled to keep from falling off the rail everytime he leaned over to get a nibble. Watch his comical antics as he flairs his nubby little tail to try to keep from toppling off.

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Torn feeder tray

Between the hours of 6:00 PM, Saturday, November 16th, and 8:00 AM, Sunday, November 17th, an unknown subject approached the Twin Creeks Pea Pod and violently destroyed the outside feeding tray, savagely ripping the wire screen off the wooden frame.

It appears that the subject was in search of food and not the perpetrator of a random act of vandalism. However, the neighboring peafowl have refused to come forward with any information, leading investigators to suspect witness intimidation.

The owners of Twin Creeks Farm, when questioned, admitted to recently seeing a bear in the area. They are concerned with the safety of their free ranging peacock, Farina, whom they feed each morning and evening on the tray.

The surveillance cameras were temporarily out of service on the night in question, so there is no photographic evidence of the incident. However, on several occasions prior to the night of the crime, the cameras detected a raccoon sneaking around the area and stealing food from the tray.

No suspects have been identified at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

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Twin Creeks is on the lookout for a suspected peeping tom. Footprints and fingerprints as well as hair samples were found at the scene of the crime. The incident which occurred on or around April 15, 2013 has prompted detectives to seek the public’s help in identifying the suspect.

A witness account indicated the suspect was pressing his face to the front window of the Peacocks house, locally known as the Pea Pod.

PeaPod

He left a clear handprint on the window screen.

SONY DSC

The suspect is described as a stocky male, standing approximately 4 feet tall with abundant dark, coarse hair. His hand print indicates he has fat little fingers with untrimmed fingernails. A sketch artist has produced a drawing based on the evidence and witness reports. If you have information that would help investigators, please leave a comment below.

Bear Sketch (2)

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Having a bear wreck our chicken coop a few days ago, reminded me of a funny bear story that happened several years ago. This was right after we dug our pond and stocked it with fish. When we bought the fish it was a virgin pond. Well that’s not quite true, cause about a million frogs had sex down there. A billion eggs hatched into tadpoles. Now it’s a cacophony of frog song in the evening, everything from the deep bruppppp of the bullfrog, to the high ddrrtttttt of the tree frogs. Anyway, there was nothing for the fish to eat, so we installed an automatic fish feeder.

I did a lot of research online to find this thing. Now there are a lot of automatic deer feeders. These are for the intrepid hunters that set one of these up in the woods to train the deer to come every day to feed. Then they sit in a tree and blow Bambi away. These could work as a fish feeder, but they are designed to throw the feed in a 360 degree pattern. We were mounting it to the front of the dock and didn’t want the food spraying on the wood, but I finally found one that had been designed just as a fish feeder and had a directional sprayer. It wasn’t cheap, but was compact and not too ugly. The food container was made of a heavy grade plastic, and the lid just slipped on the top. No positive lock. So the first modification was to install spring lock screen door latches on each side of the lid to keep raccoons, etc. from opening it. We knew it would never withstand an onslaught from a bear, but hoped we would not have to prove it. It worked great for a couple of months. It had a solar eye that sensed the time of day and dispensed food an hour after dawn and an hour before sunset. Then one day……

The plastic container was mangled. The motor mechanism was metal and unharmed. So we started thinking about food boxes that would be bear proof that we could attach the motor to. While pondering on this, we stopped by the co-op, and saw that they had one of the deer feeders for sale. This one was a simple 6 gallon metal bucket with a metal lid that crimps down, just like a big paint bucket. This one was a stylish camo design, to boot. We examined the lid and decided that there was no way the bear could pry the lid off short of carrying his own screwdriver. So we bought it.

Next came the second of many modifications in the creation of a bear proof feeder. Tim mounted it on the original 4×4 post (somewhat chewed), but since this was a deer feeder, it sprayed food in a complete circle. Tim devised a deflector by attaching a curved piece of plastic to keep it from spraying on the dock (actually half of a Clorox bottle). The next day the bear came back. He couldn’t open the pail, so he chewed the post some more, and pulled the deflector off. It was floating on the pond. Tim retrieved the deflector and put it back on. This scene repeated itself for several more days. The post getting smaller and smaller, and the deflector eventually getting lost. Meanwhile, we hit on the idea of an ammo box to hold the food.

Bear Proof Fish Feeder with Bonus Attack Owl

Modification 3. Tim cut a hole in the bottom of the ammo box, mounted the original directional motor, installed a slide in the box to direct the feed into the shute, drilled holes in the side to mount to the 4 x 4 post, speaking of which, was now only about a 3 x 2. So mod 4, Tim sent me to the metal salvage yard where I found a 3 inch diameter iron pipe. He mounted it with U shaped brackets to the dock and then to the ammo box. Perfect. Solid. No way a bear is getting into this. So we sat back and waited. Next morning we’re standing in the kitchen looking down at the pond, and lo and behold, there is the bear standing on the dock examining the new puzzle box. He’s just a young guy, maybe 2 years old. I’m watching him through the binoculars, and Tim is watching through the 10 inch telephoto lens on the camera snapping pictures.

The bear seemed to be very gentle while we were watching him. He’d put his paw into the slot to try to retrieve any pellets that may be sitting in there. But after about 5 minutes, he moseyed on. Next morning, however, we noticed that the bear had rotated the feeder on the pole so that the dispensing shute was directed right onto the dock. Pretty clever bear. Tim had to use all of his body weight to shift the feeder back around. Every morning, we would find it in the same position. So we had to put our heads together to find a fix for this new problem. It obviously takes 2 of our brains to outsmart “the av-er-age bear”.

Mod 5. Tim drilled a hole through the iron post and into the ammo box and inserted a huge bolt. Eureka-The invention of a bear proof fish feeder!! The bear was never able to raid the food box again, but he apparently got frustrated over the situation, and on 3 occasions, tossed our metal benches into the pond in an act of revenge.

The same day we photographed him down on the dock, he paid his first visit to our chickens. He climbed the fence into the back yard where we keep the coop. He wasn’t interested in the chickens, thank goodness, but he wanted the food that we had stored in a large Rubbermaid deck box where we keep the chicken supplies. Again, we had used one of our screen door latches to keep the lid closed, and he couldn’t get it open, so he rolled the box until the hinges popped open. He couldn’t get the lid off of the smaller food box, so he just took it with him.

We then installed an electric wire along the top of the fence to keep him from climbing over.

Various fish feeders and modifications —cost $275
1 Rubbermaid storage box and 50 lbs of chicken feed —-cost $50
Electric wire installed around top of back yard fence —-cost $195
Mental image of bear’s expression when he puts his paws on the hot wire —-priceless

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Holy Cow! Not again! For the 5th time in as many years, a bear destroyed our chicken coop, but for the first time, he actually ate two of our chickens. Our coop sits right under our bedroom window, and as these raids usually happen in the middle of the night, we have heard the rending of wood and wire and have been able to scare off the bear before he killed any of our hens. Once a couple of years ago, he actually got his teeth into one and ripped a flap of skin off under her wing, but we treated the wound with antibiotics and she recovered good as new.

Friday, we were not so fortunate. This attack occurred in the middle of the afternoon. I just happened to go downstairs and heard the chickens clucking louder than usual and went to look out the window that looks out onto the coop. I knew immediately when I saw two chickens staring in at me on the other side of the glass that things were amiss. A quick glance to the coop proved that it had been ripped open and knocked over.

A further glance beyond the destroyed coop revealed the culprit, a black bear standing on the outside of the gate. I ran out the front door yelling at him to scat. Disgruntled, he slowly ambled off up the slope and disappeared into the woods. Assessing the damage, I woefully discovered that I only had two of my four precious hens. All that remained of the other two was a small fluff of feathers.


I know that most people don’t credit chickens with a lot of smarts, and I agree that they won’t score high on an IQ test, but they do have more intelligence than most give them credit for. These two survivors somehow knew that we lived on the other side of that glass window, and they were doing their darnedest to get my attention calling “HELP, HELP, HELP” at the top of their little chicken voices.

I looked helplessly at their little home, the damage way beyond my means to repair. So I called DH to see if he could home early to do a coop reno. It would be a couple of hours before he could get home, so to protect the girls in the meantime, I carried them to the garage, and placed them in the dogs’ exercise pen.

Repairs took a little over four hours and took us well into dark. We finished up by flashlight about 10:00 at night and tucked the hens in for the evening. After the first bear attack five years ago, we installed an electric wire around the perimeter of the backyard fence. It apparently does deter the bears from coming in, because in every instance that a bear has climbed the fence, we’ve discovered that the electric fence was down. And sure enough, during a recent electrical storm, the GFI on the outlet had been popped and the fence off. I’m naturally worried that now that he has the taste for chicken, the bear will come back for more. I find that I am checking on the chickens every hour on the hour. So far, so good.

I wonder if our two remaining chickens are lonely and miss their sisters. I guess it’s time to think about getting some new chicks.

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Spot

Remember the fun we had as children taking a ride in a little red wagon? Reminiscent of those treasured times, I’m introducing a new line of needle felted animals. Each unique little animal is taking a joy ride in a precious 3 1/2 inch x 2 1/2 inch rustic metal wagon and the series is called the “Wagon Tails”. Each animal is lovingly felted of 100 percent natural fibers, to include llama, alpaca, wool, and mohair. I have these cute little animals for sale on my Etsy shop. To view the current listings and prices, please visit my shop at tcllamas Etsy Shop.

Barney Bear

Baylie the Goldendoodle

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Darned Pesky Bear!

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