Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cougar sighting -and- my day in 9 pictures


"Danni? Frank saw a cougar tonight," my neighbor said to me on the phone last night.

Frank is my neighbor's son, an avid hunter, who knows his animals. He spotted the cougar on the edge of our property line.

We've never had one so close. We thought our biggest threat was from coyotes and raccoons.

Do you know the rules about cougars?

Here are the "Guidelines for Living with Cougars": (as taken from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife webpage):

If you live in cougar country:
•Learn your neighborhood. Be aware of any wildlife corridors or places where deer or elk concentrate.
•Walk pets during the day and keep them on a leash.
•Keep pets indoors at dawn and dusk. Shelter them for the night.
•Feed pets indoors.
•Don't leave food and garbage outside.
•Use animal-proof garbage cans if necessary.
•Remove heavy brush from near the house and play areas.
•Install motion-activated light outdoors along walkways and driveways.
•Be more cautious at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.
•Do not feed any wildlife. By attracting other wildlife, you may attract a cougar.
•Keep areas around bird feeders clean.
•Deer-proof your garden and yard with nets, lights, fencing.
•Fence and shelter livestock. Move them to sheds or barns at night.

Needless to say, we locked the chickens up tight (as we do every night) in their Fort Knox of a chicken coop, Honey chicken was securely-secured in her dog crate on the side porch, and the goat boys, Pete and Reggie, were shut into their goat house (they complained bitterly about this).

After much deliberation, the donkeys and Kai llama were left in their pasture because of something a friend of mine mentioned to me: my barn is not secure. It has open cut outs for the windows and the door to the inside is a gate rather than anything that closes in a solid fashion. My friend, Linda, told me that "it is better to have them free to stomp or chase a predator than be trapped in an enclosure that a cougar might be able to get into with them." Hard to argue with that.

But I worried. All night. Jim had his shotgun loaded and under the bed. We left a window in our bedroom open. You know, so we could hear stuff. Thankfully, there was nothing to hear. All was quiet and well. And all animals were just fine this morning.

Frank says the cougars are just "passing through" this time of year....but that their "visit" could last seven to ten days. Ugh.

My day today was a little anticlimactic after last night, but this is how it went.

Roxy and I packed up and headed out:

I had lunch with my bestie from middle school:

Roxy loves Melissa almost as much as I do:

We then attended my sweet niece's soccer game. She's the cutie in the neon goalie shirt:

Roxy and my mom's dog, Wolfi, teamed up and gave a feisty terrier the evil eye(s):

My handsome nephew finally smiled for my camera:

My other gorgeous nephew delighted in being the boss of Roxy for a few minutes:

I later participated in a meeting where consensus was reached. (How awesome is it when this happens?!):

I got back to the farm and realized how happy it makes me to be here:

And then I promptly locked everyone up again so they'd be safe from the cougar.

The End.

26 comments:

Teri @ Love From the Farm said...

Yikes! Hope that cougar just keeps on moving on! Take care...and sleep in! You know, for safety's sake. ;)

Cheers!
Teri

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Sounds like you're doing all the right things to protect your critters from the big bad cougar.

Your adorable nephew has an elf-ish-ness about him, so cute!

Autumn said...

We haven't had a mountain lion sighting in a year here in PA. From what you showed us from Kai and the coyote, I doubt Kai would be daunted in taking a mountain lion DOWN.

Christine said...

We listen the the coyotes howl every night. Sometimes it sounds like they're sitting in the rocking chairs on the porch while they do it. I can't imagine throwing a cougar into the mix. I'd have to build them a giant bubble to live in.

LindaG said...

Hopefully the cougar moves through quickly and without incident.
Thanks for all that information. It was very interesting.

Your nephews are both cuties!

If only our governing bodies could reach consensus once in a while!

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

What is Honey Chicken going to do in the Winter?

the7msn said...

How nervewracking. Trust Kai, Beau and Chester to sound the alarm if another cougar passes through. They'll know before you do that one's out there.

JaneK said...

Oh goodness, Danni! How nerve wrecking!!! Yes, I think Kai and the boys are much safer outside. They will stick together and a cougar would not have the nerve to do anything..... we've seen Kai at alert...she can be fiercesome!

I bet you put your feet up after such a busy day.....

JaneK said...

PS: that last picture is such an unlikey picture - a dog, cat, and chicken together - it just speaks to the magic there at Critter Farm :)

Jessica @Blessings in the Country said...

How scary. Hopefully they do not bother you and your critters and just pass on through.

We have deer and elk all over, but I have never seen a big cat. We did have some coyotes hanging out for awhile, but they seem to have moved on.

Inger said...

We had a cougar sighting when we first moved here, six years ago, but none has been seen since then. They have large territories that they, as your neighbor said, pass through. Since wild burros know how to deal with cougars, hopefully one wouldn't mess with your donkeys. Still it must have been a scary to know one was so close by.

Linda Benson said...

Oh gosh, Danni. I'd feel more than horrible if my advice about leaving them outside was wrong and a cougar attacked one of your sweet animals. I was just going with my gut feeling, and also, I think, remembering those pics going around the internet a few years ago about a mule stomping and killing a cougar.

I do know that donkeys can be very alert to prey when they are out, and make noise, snort loudly and even bray if something is amiss, which might alert you to waken if nothing else. Locked in a stall, they might be sitting ducks. But who knows? I hope, indeed that the cougar was just passing through, and your worry will soon be over.

Kisses to all of your sweet critters. ;-)

Sarah said...

I did not know you had cougars in your area! How interesting! Glad he/she kept to his/her own natural diet, and everyone lives happily ever after.
And glad your busy day was a successful one!

Kelly said...

Hopefull they cougar will just keep passin on through.Put up a sign that all llamas, goats, cats, chickens and farm animals taste bad!

Marigold said...

Hi, Danni. I don't want to scare you, but cougars are pretty much a way of life up here. That being said, cougars are known to scope out their prey sometimes for weeks. (We know personally of a woman who lost goats to a cougar and this was the case according to the ranger). Watch for signs of scratching on trees etc. that might say one is scoping you out. And hmmm, maybe think about making your barn more secure for the future? Just a thought. We have always gotten locked in at night and no one complains after they consider the alternative. :)

Inger said...

HI Danni, it was good to see you on my blog. Just wanted to let you know we had the first frost on 10/7. I just posted summer pictures since I didn't have a computer for most of the summer. Good luck with your garden, I know you must have be so busy, canning and preserving your fruits and veggies.

Zitrone said...

Pete and Reggie look like they are whispering about the cougar sighting, too afraid to talk about it loudly.

Unfortunately Schnauzi was not at Julia's game, although she would have loved to. Schnauzi is playing her own game in doggie heaven, and Wolfi, our two-year-old Schnauzer is trying to fill her shoes. Apparently he's not quite done so for you, Daniella. Cut. Love it.

Kai, Beau and Chester really should be outside to better defend themselves in case of danger. You would also hear all three of them make incredible noise which will send Mr./Ms. Cougar running off like *#^*!

farmlady said...

Mountain Lions are a part of our lives here. We don't see them but they are here. Our neighbor has filmed them and they have been seen down at the river.
I like the rules for living with lions. It's important to know what to do and be constantly aware of your surroundings.
I sure wish I had the big dogs or Kai around here. I would feel safer.
Please take care...

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i agree...it is best to leave kai and the boys out. together they could protect each other from a cougar. those cougars sure can be nasty. better to be safe than sorry!

Karen Anne said...

How secure is Honey's dog crate? I am thinking a big animal could take that apart in a minute.

linda m said...

The DNR has sighted a couple in Northern WI. They used to say we didn't have any cougar but the locals swore they saw them. Finally this year the DNR said they saw one. Knew we weren't crazy or just seeing things.

Sage said...

I agree about Honey's crate. They wouldn't keep out the coyotes around here. A neighbor had about 10 chickens killed the other night. Sometimes we hardly know the coyotes are here other times they get real bad. We also have a large owl living here now that could take a chicken but so far hasn't and is hopefully keeping the mice down. I hear of Cougars and bears coming through here sometimes and the bears haven't had enough native food with the drought so we can expect more. Those are good rules and work for all wildlife. Thanks for your wonderfful Blog.

Danni said...

Hi Denise at Autumn Sky... what an excellent question! The answer to which is... still being developed, determined, etc. For the life of me, I haven't been able to come up with a simple solution. sigh.

Hi Linda Benson - I was *so* thankful for your input and advice the other night - *please* don't worry about anything. I was so grateful to have people with different experiences and thoughts who were willing to weigh in! xo

Hi Marigold - Just to clarify, my goat boys do not live in the barn - they live in a separate, more secure, goat house some distance away from the barn. They are put to bed every night behind a door that latches and the door to their goat yard is fenced and closes securely. It's my big barn, where the donkey boys and Kai llama get stalled when it rains, that does not have the ability to be entirely closed up. We continue to be on high alert around here, but so far have not seen or heard anything further.

Hi Zitrone...and OH-FOR-PETE'S-SAKE!!! What was I thinking by calling "Wolfi" "Schnauzi"?? My apologies. I have edited my post to correct my error. xoxo

Hi Karen Anne - Unfortunately, Honey's crate is just what it is: a pet crate. Her living situation is in no way a permanent one, especially with the winter coming up. I am in heavy planning mode trying to figure out how to keep her warm - and safe - over the cold days that approach. For now, however, I feel she is as safe as possible - without being with the rest of her flock. It's hard for me to imagine a cougar coming on to our small confined porch area to mess with a 3 pound chicken locked in a plastic box that is tied to a post. That's not to say it couldn't happen, I just think there are easier (and bigger) food sources for him that he/she would be drawn to. At least, that's what I'm hoping.... that and, if one did, we would hear it and be there to handle the situation.

pilgrimscottage said...

Nice day. Here's hoping all will be safe from cougars.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

A rabbit hutch works very well for one or two hens. It's up off the ground and you can cover it if necessary. You can also give her a heat lamp since she's on the porch. Just a thought for your single solitary Honey.

Carolynn said...

I love wild animals and would like to have them feel safe in 'my' territory. I would appreciate it if they respected the residents though and didn't eat any of them for dinner. Such a difficult quandry. Hope everyone stays safe!