Farm Living: Predators and Wildlife on Our Property

Even though we’re not exactly located in the wilderness, we have about seven acres and are surrounded by conservation land.  This means a constant stream of wildlife takes advantage of our space.  Thought I’d share some photos of our frequent visitors over the last year or so!

Above is a fox running toward our barn, probably looking for chickens.  This wasn’t the fox that killed our chickens, actually.  I can tell because this fox is a gorgeous, fluffy, healthy storybook beast, and the fox that attacked our flock had mange.  Meaning his fur was falling off in big clumps, and he was all scratched up.  This guy probably could be on the cover of fox Vogue.  Look at that tail!  I would totally read an interview with this fox about how he keeps his coat so lustrous and fluffy.

Next up, our most frequent visitor – white tail deer.  Hello, you adorable tick-carrying monster.  Last year we had a family that came every night, and their fawn would frolic around our front pasture.  It was so stinking cute, it almost made me forget that these things are the biggest pests in the world.  They eat everything (except weeds, grrr).  And I mean everything.  Tree bark so that our trees die? Yup.  Any flowers we have (other than dandelions, grrr, and daffodils – yay!)? Yup.  They even ate our rosebushes to the ground last year.  Do you know how spiky those things are?  They look so innocent, but apparently deer have mouths and stomachs made of steel.

So. Many. Turkeys.  Today I drove around a corner and nearly took out a giant tom turkey that was strutting his stuff.  Every spring we have several females raising their babies in our field.  The turkey babies are adorable.  Here they are a little bigger:

Right now is mating season, which has led to a lot of questions about why the boy turkey is so ‘mean’ always jumping on and ‘attacking’ the female turkeys.  I know, I know, this is probably a good opportunity to get into ‘the talk’ early, but it seriously looks like the male turkey is trying to murder the females so I just let that one be for now.

Hello, red tail hawk.  Probably swooping down to kill, but then not be able to carry away, my chickens.  I love these gorgeous birds but they are way too into chicken for my taste.

Here is a mystery beast hiding under the tree.  Fisher cat or stray cat?  Everyone who sees this photo says this is an adorable stray gray cat.  But I was there.  I heard its noises, which were downright otherworldly.  It also stared down and scared away a herd of deer.  I think it’s just a super well-fed fisher cat at a tabby-like angle.  When I got near the tree the sounds were like a banshee was being murdered.  So I vote fisher.

Ugh, look at this tough guy coyote!  Look at that slash on his butt!  He is a stone cold killer.  At least when a coyote kills our chickens it actually eats the whole animal, unlike foxes and red tails.  We can hear their pups at night in the woods, yapping and howling away.

Here’s our resident bandit.  Raccoons haven’t actually caused us problems here (fingers crossed).  They haven’t messed with our trash when it’s out waiting at the curb.  Haven’t bothered the chickens.  Probably there’s plenty else safer for them to eat, because look at that well-fed tubber up there.

Finally, above is our latest fox sighting.  This was a juvenile, about half the size of the grown fox up top.  This photo was taken at noon with me and the kids out playing and two contractors working.  Animals are no joke bold around here!

Hope you enjoyed the wildlife tour!  If these photos were a reflection of how often we see these animals it would be 98% deer, 1.5% turkeys, and .5% the rest of them.  It’s not that we see the others that infrequently, it’s just that we, like the rest of New England, are completely overrun by deer.  Our joke is if you look outside and don’t see a deer, you’re just not looking hard enough.  And I already pulled a tick off my daughter last week … shoo, deer!