The Poop of the Night Beasts

My curtained sleep provides the creatures of the night free range for all manner of comings and goings. Small festive gatherings of much rejoicing and regaling as fuzzy butts dance and twirl and feast. They laugh and mock the stupid giant hairless ape inside that cave-thing as he snorts and farts. His slumber filled with naive and peaceful dreams. For these night beasts know what the stupid ape-thing will discover in the morning. That tonight is for them.

Tonight they will feast.

Poop of the Night Beasts_WaterfallMy fish had dreams as well. They dreamed of crunchy bits floating on the waters surface, jostling about from the steady cascade of well manicured waterfalls. They dreamed about the next days activities. Like, “let’s all go swim over there now. I think there may be a crunchy bit over there that we missed when we were there five minutes ago”.

I’ve once been told by an old wizened  sailor that fish never truly sleep; that they always keep moving. That sailor was eaten by a shark and is now shark poop. Should’ve heeded his own advice that dark and stormy night off of the Southern coast of Africa. So it goes.

Regardless of Old Stumpy McStinktrout and his unfortunate skinny dipping episode, these fish had dreams! And now they are poop. The poop of the night beasts. So it goes.

I find myself extremely torn when it comes to varmints. I absolutely adore raccoons and skunks and opossums. They’re adorable, fuzzy and super intelligent. Well, at least raccoons are intelligent. I’ve even made myself into a fuzzy cute raccoon for Mind Your Dirt not too long ago.

Me as Ranger Rick

So when it comes to visitations of totally adorable and dexterous fuzzy-butts, I am both excited and horrified. I’m excited because my little desert oasis has once again proven to bring in critters of all shapes and sizes. It’s becoming a rich and fertile ecosystem smack dab in the middle of the hood. I am also horrified. Horrified because my poor little chickens are all alone and sleeping in the cool dark night. And varmints are really efficient when it comes to wiping out entire flocks in a manner of moments.

Tesla, Red and Mia settling in for the night.
Tesla, Red and Mia settling in for the night.
Piper Bedtime Routine
Piper Bedtime Routine

Above all my warm fuzzies and Noah’s ark-like acceptance of all creatures great and small, I MUST protect my flock! It is my duty as an urban farmer. Especially little Piper. She provides nothing of any worth but is revered beyond all my little fluffballs. She is also the most Muppet-like.

 Piper the Silkie

Raccoons are known for their dexterous little nimble hands and their cleverness. My coop is not designed to withstand a raccoon attack. I simply didn’t think I’d be getting any in my yard because of my location. Smack dab in the middle of a very urban neighborhood and completely surrounded by all manner of large mean-looking dogs and haggard yet scrappy feral cats. So I built my coop according to my environment. And have regretted it ever since. For here thar be fuzzy-butts!

My first attack was about two years ago. A rather large raccoon was caught shoulder deep in my mini-pond gorging on my fish. Between Sasha the wonder pup and myself, we were able to gently scare her away. I say her because it was fairly obvious that she was pregnant. Although, as a man, I’ll never say to a lady, “congrats, when are you due?”. I know better than that. But just between you and I, she was a bit plump.

She did manage to clean out about a dozen of my goldfish and made a hell of a mess with the rocks and plants in and around the waterfall. A waterfall that has given me endless amounts of frustration and chores in it’s lifetime. Here are a few:

Talk about adding insult to injury! After a few weeks, I decided it was safe to get some more fish and that this visit from the fat furry-butt was simply a fluke. So I did. And it wasn’t a fluke. About six months later, I got hit again. And once again, the chickens remained unscathed but the goldfish were completely wiped out. And a turtle.

All things considered, it could’ve been a whole lot worse. While I’m very grateful that the chickens are still alive, I’m getting a little tired of my pond being destroyed and my goldfish and slimy critters decimated. I need those goldfish to eat any mosquito larvae. That’s their one job apart from chasing crunchy bits.

Then, the other night, after about six months of nothing, I was hit again. And hard! This time they ate about 40 fish, three tadpoles and one just formed frog. All in a matter of 30 minutes. I know the exact time spent because I’ve since installed several motion cameras all around my property to alert me of any unsavory activity. Be it man or beast.

The good news is that the attack was well documented and recorded. The bad news is that my fans and air conditioner assured that I remained sound asleep during the whole affair. Sasha the wonder pup was the savior this time. 30 minutes too late though.

The following morning I reviewed the footage captured in the form of still shots and have created a rather poor and dull video of all the events which reads more like a Bigfoot sighting than a sophisticated security camera capture. Hold on and I’ll add some dramatic music to spice it up a bit as well as some dramatization for your enjoyment. Here it is for your consideration:

Little cute and totes adorbs fuzzy-butted bastards! It’s only a matter of time before they realize that there are yummy chicken heads to munch off not more than ten feet away! I need to get this 30 minute gap shaved down to 30 seconds ASAP. And I do have a plan of attack! It involves the addition of my new security team of guinea fowl!

When these babies are all grown up, they’ll be moved into a new coop that I’ve built (more on that later) and will be on watch for any more nightly visitors. They will make an alarm call that Sasha (and the rest of the block) should be able to hear and I will train her to respond to the call with great fervor and intensity. It’s a perfect plan! What could possibly go wrong?

Prepare yourselves night beasts! Your poop will have to be made elsewhere!

18 Replies to “The Poop of the Night Beasts”

    1. It does indeed, but these beasts are very strong and can lift all the big rocks with ease it seems! There are no safe places. Although about 5 fish did survive, but I attribute that to Sasha the wonder mutt.

  1. Good luck with your chickens! I hope you can make the coop secure. The presences of raccoons have kept me from having a fish pond. They raid the bird feeders at night and sometimes break them. The raccoons in my area are very fat and happy.

    1. I’m just amazed that they’ve never gone after the chickens. Id rather have them eat some cheap goldfish than one of my flock! But I also don’t want to keep rewarding them by restocking all the time either because they’ll just keep coming back over and over.

  2. We’ve had chickens for 8 years, down to 5 from 20…we’ve also “had” families of opossum, a skunk and a few raccoons that come at night. thing is our chicken’s coop is totally open and we have no real fence anymore. they freely roam the yard and tuck themselves in at night. and never have our other visitors been an issue…why? because at the time, we were laying out cat food for the few feral cats to stay near to keep the rat/mouse population at bay.

    the food is apparently what attracted these other critters and filled them up. there was no need to chicken hunt.
    me thinks your chickens are safe as long as there are other options first, expensive as it may be.

    maybe try to lay out some cat food as tribute? 😉

    1. That thought has crossed my mind! If I don’t provide fresh fish, then they’ll go after the chicken option. *this sounds like an RSVP to a wedding.

      I do have a lot of feral cats in the neighborhood though. If I put out cat food I think I’d just be inviting them over as well. You make an excellent point though! Perhaps they’re just choosing the simpler food source. Seeing as they only show up every six months or so, maybe I should just maintain the status quo. Thank you for the good advice!

  3. Yeah, raccoons are cute and smart, all right, but year after year they eat the homeless cats’ food that we set out (in broad daylight!) and make a HUGE muddy mess while doing it! It’s war! Of course we wouldn’t do anything to hurt them–we just wish they’d go away. At night I’ve driven through town and seen them all over, dashing across dark streets like trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Our dog has made a career out of trying to scare them off. That hasn’t worked, either. I hope your chickens are safe.

    1. It’s that old love/hate relationship. I see videos online of raccoons as pets and I wish I had one to play with and cuddle with Sasha. The costs to make my coop and run raccoon proof would be too much for me. Especially because there’s a large orange tree in the center of the run that I’d have to enclose somehow. I think I’ll just have to keep on providing the kosher fish meal option as its the cheaper approach. Hopefully those guinea fowl will help beef up security.

    1. Yeah, I’ve thought about doing that, but I agree it’ll take away from the natural look of the whole waterfall. I just need to focus on the chickens being saved instead of the dead fish. Which are way cheaper and easy to replenish.

      I also need to be grateful that this only happens twice a year and not every night. I have no idea where the coons are coming from, but I reckon it’s not too local or they’d be there all the time.

      Hopefully the guinea fowl will be just the thing needed to keep them away for good! I also just added some bird deterrent tape around the coop and run because the local birds were cleaning out all my chicken feed. The farm struggle is real!

  4. In the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, we have a group of 5 full size raccoons. They make the most horrendous holes in my yard looking for grubs. I will call it aeration and let it go at that. So far, no problem with the chickens, who are in a chicken tractor.They did try to open my sliding patio door, all 5 of them standing up against it and working at it. The cats…thankfully who were inside….were totally freaked out. We also have regular coyote sightings, so hopeful they will take out each other! James, your battles…and successes, are wonderful reading. Thank you for normalizing this process of urban farming and the learning curve that accompanies it. It is a struggle, but so worth it!

    1. Hi Charle! It sounds like you have a lot more predators around than I do in my urban landscape. And again, to have chickens for four-five years without incident is a blessing, so I can’t complain too much.

      I’m very touched by your comment and I’m glad you’re getting something out of my nonsensical writing. Big emphasis on the “learning curve” for me. But, it is really rewarding and I love every minute of it. Even the screw ups. Mostly. Thank you kindly for both reading and for commenting! I love the comments.

  5. We had raccoons destroy our suburban pond. The first time, they ate the fish. The second time they ate the fish, the plants and uprooted the pump. We installed a simple electric wire around the pond. Heard a zap one night, and there was never a problem after that. The low grass plants around the wire hid it pretty well. Oh wait, there was a problem – the beautiful koi we bought after all was safe from the raccoons were fished out by a great blue heron. He loved his new fishing pond!

    1. Haha, I know the struggle all to well. Water features are THE toughest landscaping items to maintain. Especially when you live in a desert like area. They all come from miles to party it up while you slumber.

      I never get invited to the parties either which really adds to the insult.

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