Thieves in the Night

Published On: December 27, 2010Categories: Farm Management, Flight Pens
Back in May we experienced an unprecedented event in my tenure here, a break-in to our flight pens. Something was getting into our pens and randomly killing young pheasants. The first two nights an average of 200 birds were killed. We scratched our heads trying to figure out what to do and what was killing the birds. Over the next few nights our dead total rose to almost 1,000. We needed help!
I was put in contact with an experienced trapper by the name of Jeff. We searched the area for clues, and Jeff immediately said it was a fox. I had my doubts that a fox could climb our pen fences or posts, walk down the top of a division fence, chew a hole in the netting, get into the pen, kill birds and then get back out. But that is exactly what happened. The first night Jeff set a trap, he caught a red fox. Just when we thought we had the culprit, fox #2 got into a pen with the same M.O. That fox was stalked by myself and a few other MacFarlane employees at 2′.45 a.m. while in the pen on a random killing spree. Had I not seen it happen, I wouldn’t have believed it.
Predators continued to wreak havoc throughout the summer. We had raccoons get into our flight pens and kill young pheasants and adult partridge. Those were caught in quick order. We also have “catch boxes” around the flight pens to catch strays that get out. They work really well, but predators have figured out how to get into them and get a free meal. Why so many critters this year? I have to believe with the damaging winter storm we had last December we attracted every predator in the county because of the amount of stray birds running around.
If you raise birds, I suggest you learn to trap or know a good trapper. I now have Jeff’s number in my cell in case we have any more thieves in the night!
MacFarlane’s Ringneck Pheasant – Many choices among this popular bird.
Why Do Pheasants Pick?

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