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Water troughs and damned critters!!!

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  • Water troughs and damned critters!!!

    ... sigh ...

    Last year we dealt with the raccoon family bringing their frogs and snakes over to the water troughs and "washing" them before dinner and of course leaving various bitsies behind in the water. Raising them up off the ground had little effect, so I ended up having to dump them each night and start afresh each morning which is a royal pain in the butt, especially with the 40 gallon ones

    THAT looked after my night time issues ...

    This year the raccoon family is back again at night BUT we also have the huge blackbirds which bring bird bits in to wash before consuming them, so now I have beaks and the remnants of legs and talons to deal with in there as well. And they come during the day so its not like I can dump the water while the horses are in the paddocks. And the bloody things sit on my fence line and wait for me to disappear and then start washing in my troughs. And crap in there and on the edges as well. The only one that seems to be untouched is my 100 gallon one - the others are all fair game

    These same blackbirds jump up and down and "peck" at their reflection in my black trailer, so now I have lovely peck marks all along the back plus on each side above the fenders

    Short of shooting them one by one (and believe me - I am a bad enough aim, shooting at them in the direction of my horses is NOT going to happen as with my luck the birds would all live and my horses would all have holes in them! And shooting them while they are pecking my trailer will only cause holes in my trailer I am sure ...) what the heck do you do to thwart the stupid things???

    Any and all suggestions would be VERY gratefully received!

    True Colours Farm on Facebook

  • #2
    I feel your pain, I have squirrels that regularly commit suicide in my troughs. I have moved them and moved them and moved them again. All to no avail. Dead squirells wrapped around a trough heater really sucks and is a pain to remove..Blech..Good luck and let me know if you come up wit anything.


    • #3
      Originally posted by tradewind View Post
      I feel your pain, I have squirrels that regularly commit suicide in my troughs. I have moved them and moved them and moved them again. All to no avail. Dead squirells wrapped around a trough heater really sucks and is a pain to remove..Blech..Good luck and let me know if you come up wit anything.
      I know that some people construct little rope ladders to help squirrels and such crawl out once they fall in.

      To the OP what if you used some sort of fake hawk that attached to the fence? Might be enough to scare off the birds although the raccoons might not care?


      • #4
        Originally posted by tradewind View Post
        I feel your pain, I have squirrels that regularly commit suicide in my troughs. I have moved them and moved them and moved them again. All to no avail. Dead squirells wrapped around a trough heater really sucks and is a pain to remove..Blech..Good luck and let me know if you come up wit anything.
        Actually, all you need to do is take a piece of twine and tie a rock or brick to it and set the rock or brick in the trough, then tie the twine to the fence or anything you can near the trough. The horses seldome bother the twine and no more dead squirrels!


        • #5
          Is it wrong that I instantly thought "Piranhas!" I mean, I like wildlife, but when they disembowel their victims in your water, that's just picking a fight.
          Decoy tanks? As in, having a tank that's perfectly situated just for the wildlife, outside the pasture? Not that it would actually solve the problem (you'd still be fishing beaks and bits out of a tank of water) but at least the horses wouldn't be drinking out of corpse-infested water. Ew.


          • #6
            You could make a cover for the trough with a hole(s) cut of the middle for the horses to drink from. Either keep the water level low enough the racoons can't reach, or the lid raised up. The horses should be able to stick their heads in to drink, but (hopefully) the birds and raccoons won't.


            • #7
              Critters can drive you crazy! My friend had automatic waterers in her pastures.. one day, she came out to a creek running from one of them.. hmm, how did that rock get right into the waterer? At first we blamed my juvenile delinquent yearling who got into everything. Removed the rock, next night horses were in the barn and rock and creek were back. Her husband said, "Raccoon" and we took measures to prevent him/her from being able to do that again (can't remember what we finally ended up doing to stop it, though)


              • #8
                Wildlife escape ladders thread:


                Ours, for thanks over 4' diameter:



                • #9
                  We just throw a 6" chunk of 1"x6" in the tanks, gives em something to stand on and get out...
                  Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...


                  • #10
                    What about goldfish to consume the critter leavings?
                    The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                    Winston Churchill


                    • #11
                      My granddaddy always shot one crow and hung it from a tree as a reminder to the others what would happen if they didn't go away. It seemed to work for him. At night, lay a piece of plywood over the tank. (assuming your horses are in at night and don't need the tank)
                      Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                      • Original Poster

                        At night, lay a piece of plywood over the tank. (assuming your horses are in at night and don't need the tank)
                        Honestly - unless the raccoons are totally stupid (and they're not) if they can take the lids off garbage cans that have the bungees holding them down, I really think it will be child's play to move the plywood cover a few inches off the top so they can do their washing up before dinner ...

                        What about goldfish to consume the critter leavings?
                        I think only piranha's would eat beaks, legs and claws - I cant see a goldfish adding them to their diets anytime soon!

                        My granddaddy always shot one crow and hung it from a tree as a reminder to the others what would happen if they didn't go away. It seemed to work for him.
                        I think I'd need a whole row of dead crows hanging along each fence line and once the warmer weather sets in, its going to stink something awful! Plus attract whatever would like to feed on dead crow carcasses as well ...

                        And these arent crows - they are the big big ravens - think about 2-3 times the sizes of regular crows. Honking BIG birds!

                        True Colours Farm on Facebook


                        • #13
                          Most critters that get in tanks get out.
                          The very young or sickly don't.
                          You want to try to keep them from dying there, for their sake and that of your water.