February 15, 2012 by dairycarrie
The other night I sent out a few tweets about a situation I found myself in and several people said I needed to blog about it. So here goes…
Just before I head to bed each night I go out and check on the cows that are close to calving. I look to see if any of the cows is in active labor or if there are any cows behaving like they may decide to calve in the middle of the night. If someone is in labor I will stay up with them and make sure baby comes out without any problems and then make sure that the new calf is settled into their “nursery” and fed their colostrum. If no one is actively calving but looks like they are thinking about it I will set an alarm and go out and check around 2 or 3 am. Cows love to calve in the middle of the night. Most nights when I check the cows are all laying down chewing their cud and dozing. It’s peaceful and quiet and a nice time to say thanks to God for everything I have in my life.
However, the other night just as I checked on the girls I heard a noise. Growling, hissing, yowling and lots and lots of banging around in our old barn. Our old barn is situated above the area where the dry cows are. At first the cows ignored the sounds, but soon as it got louder and louder all of the girls jumped up from their nice comfy beds and took off at full cow speed. Now the last thing you want is a bunch of heavily pregnant anythings to do is start running around, especially in Wisconsin during the winter when there is a lot of ice. Now once I confirmed that the girls were stopped before going through the fence, I turned my attention to the noises coming from the old barn. I had a pretty good idea of what it was. Raccoons. Raccoons that were mating or fighting or whatever it was they were doing very loudly in our old barn. The banging was coming from the feed conveyor that still runs through the old barn. Apparently the raccoons were using it as their WWF (or is it WWE now?) ring. My suspicions were confirmed after seeing several sets of eyes glowing in the dark when I pointed my flashlight through a hole in the side of the barn.
So I did what every farm girl would do. I headed to the house for some fire power. However as I rounded the corner I ran smack into a very large raccoon that was in the wrong lane so far as I am concerned. It seems that my light had broke up the fight and everyone was going to their clubhouse to regroup. After playing chicken with the large raccoon I made a very quick walk to the house.
Most nights while I go out and check the cows, my hubs takes his shower and gets ready for bed. He was walking from the bathroom to the bedroom and caught sight of me loading the clip for my trusty 10-22. He decided that this was cause to put on pants. He met me outside in the barn and very nervously helped me try to flush out the raccoons from between the hay bales. All the while begging me not to shoot him on “accident”. Unfortunately by the time we got out there the raccoons had retreated into their clubhouse in the attic above our barn. Hubs refused to let me shoot into the ceiling where I thought there might be a raccoon and my hunting for the night was thwarted.
I’ve been much more successful eradicating the gophers/chipmunks from my garden and yard. However hubs always complains about finding .22 casings in the laundry.
So why do we not want raccoons and gophers and the like around the farm? Raccoons can carry diseases that transfer to other animals. They poop in the feed bunks, the knock over the trash cans, they make my dogs go nuts in the middle of the night, they wreck things and they disturb my cows. The gophers biggest sin is eating my strawberries and tomatoes the day before they are ripe enough to pick!