Another egg thief caught, and this one is no juvenile. With luck, I have now trapped the ringleader, aka "Big Mama."
unhappy trapped egg-thieving possum
this one is twice the size of the others
I did manage to collect some Wyandotte eggs yesterday before milking time - twenty-three, to be exact. I found no intact eggs in the Big Butt Girls' tractor, and when hubby went to collect what looked like two eggs in with the Flashy Girls, he only found empty shells. The older hens should be done molting, but they won't lay really well until after the solstice when the days start to get longer. Y'all can see why I am trapping these egg thieves - I need all the eggs I can get for the incubator.
I was going to take a pic, but then I decided to just deal with it right away and worry about a pic on the next one maybe. Apparently, we have a whole family of possums eating our chicken eggs. It was noticeable because I had decided it was time to fill up the incubator and start hatching ... and finding broken egg shells in multiple tractors really had us tweaked.
I'm pretty sure I've seen Big Mama possum over the summer in the back pasture - big ugly thing. Hubby saw her the night before last, when he went out behind the workshop to see if that annoying armadillo was digging back there again. Wednesday morning, the first juvenile was in the smaller trap (borrowed from Lynn) but nothing in the bigger trap (bought Tuesday at TSC, 30 days to return with receipt taped to the packing). Yesterday there was still nothing in the big trap, and hubby hadn't reset the smaller one Wednesday night. This morning, another juvenile in the small trap ... and eggs missing from the tractor with Azar and the Sisters where I think I saw three yesterday and hubby remembers two. I'm wondering if the juveniles are too small to trip the big trap.
Hubby had been moving the fence around, trying to close up where ever they are getting in, and I think he's got it so Big Mama can't get inside the electric perimeter, but obviously the younger ones still are. I plan to move the big trap to behind the workshop and see what we get. Meanwhile, the small trap will be set up in the same spot again tonight.
We are not doing catch-and-release, because they would just come right back. The juveniles are too small to even bother with skinning and feeding to the pigs, so we are just drowning them in the big brooder tub (actually a 110 gallon stock tank) then tossing the carcass out back into the state-owned woods.
Meanwhile, the mosquitoes are HORRIBLE this year. These aren't just the small, sneaky normal mosquitoes - these suckers are big enough to see and feel the bite. Speculation is they blew in with the hurricane. I wish they'd go back to whichever pit of hell they came from and leave us alone. They are bothering a whole lot more than just hubby and me - the mosquitoes are all over the goats, rabbits, and pigs ... probably the chickens too but they don't let me get up close to see.
The electricity came on late yesterday afternoon, so it's back to normal here. We're slowly going through the fridge to see what is still good and what should go to the pigs - they're getting the milk from yesterday morning and earlier, and are quite happy about that.
All the critters came through the hurricane safe and sound. It could have been a lot worse, and we're both grateful it wasn't.
Right now, the sun is shining and the wind is just a normal breeze. We did our main stock-up on Monday, before anyone else ... but the one critter feed I forgot was cat food. Hubby went up to Palatka yesterday to pick up his new glasses, and said there were lines for gas stations and the parking lot for the local Winn-Dixie was "packed."
It's been a whole lot of normal here lately. About the only newsworthy things is I got one new bunny, a New Zealand/Florida White cross with Rex fur who is white and orange-red. I named her Ginger, and she was born sometime in January, so a little older than Lacey. The goats are in their breeding season, and Brownie is a stinky, silly billy who has worked off his pot belly pudge already. The pigs are growing, and look healthy and happy. Cerridwen will now let hubby and I both scratch her ears. Annie Sue still isn't sure about being touched, but Boston IS sure - he is sure he wants nothing to do with it. I only had two chicks hatch from Feyd and the Sisters, and one of those broke its thigh bone (Pollux probably stepped on it) so just one last chick from Feyd.
A reminder that we are on satellite internet, so there will probably be several hours when we can't get signal through the clouds. Being on the dead end of a dirt road, it's likely we may lose power for anywhere between an hour and a few days. Our neighbor Slim told us the record for this set of dirt roads was the year three named storms came though one right after another, and power was out for two weeks.
I'm not worried about the rain - the forecast is for 7-10 inches, and we got 14-16 inches in 36 hours up in Tennessee in the spring of 2010. Of course, that kicked off an historic flood, but then as now I had bought a home on higher ground. Our biggest concern is the wind, since we DO live in the woods.
We are not under mandatory evacuation orders, so we are staying put to take care of all the animals. It may be difficult to get in touch with me if the power goes out for a while, but have faith that we'll make it through.