Yesterday afternoon began the official kickoff of Operation Skunk Removal. I started off by removing any (or what I thought were) skunk consumables I could find. All edible veggy remains and the like were removed from the compost bins, outside cat food is only allowed at mid-day and then picked up before evening. Not much I can do about grain falling out of the bird feeders or falling under the stock feeders but the sheep, goats and chickens do not allow any wayward grain to stay around long anyway. I have no grain storage bins that are accessible, even by rodents these days nor do I store grain/feed in buildings anymore regardless. I switched to outside. seal able feed storage years back and only another primate can get em opened. Finally I searched everywhere for any hidden egg caches. This is the part I am never 100% sure of as the hens sometimes get very creative on hiding their eggs and I will miss some at times.
Part one being done I began studying the small house and figured out how they are getting under it. I found several 2" x 6" slots just above the footing that will allow a critter to go between the support beams and the floor and get under the building. They will need to be sealed up and I did not know they were there because they are hidden by the building siding hanging down. You cannot actually see them unless you lay on your back and look up. Kind of a scary maneuver when you think skunks could be waiting for you LOL. I will need to make a lumber run to fix these gaps sufficiently.
It was then time to begin some actual position and condition scouting. Keep in mind I still do not the skunks are actually under that little house or just used it as easy cover when I surprised them (or they surprised me as the case maybe).
I sat myself up where I could see three sides of the house as the sun was sinking low and waited. This view is from the back of the compound looking into the front and the paved road in front of that. One of the stray barn cats came walking up the drive from the barn area with what looked like a baby rabbit in his mouth. About 30 minutes later here came skunk momma with two babies following her up the same driveway that goes in front of the barn. I cannot see any barn entrance from this angle just the side of the barn and storage building off of it.
Momma skunk brought the two babies to the very front of the little house and then looked at em while immediately turning and making a bee line passed the trash dumpster, through a gate and the scattered sheep in the barn lot, passed the compost bins, under a fence and disappeared into the waist high fescue of the back hay field. The two babies began playing like kittens in the open grassy area between the barn lot gate and the house.
This lasted about 15 or so minutes until Mrs. PP popped out on the porch of the main house yelling for me at which point the two babies disappeared up under the little house and disappeared. I did not see momma again that evening.
So this is my situation now. Is the skunk family actually living under the small house or are they actually living in or under one of the other sheds or the barn? Did the family maybe sneak out the front part of the little house and come back when I saw them or is Momma using it as a nursery/safe space for the kids why she forages? I have seen our sheep do that same thing often while the mothers are off grazing.
I did a bit more scouting today and found a newish tunnel in a back stall of the barn that is not used anymore due to our down scaling. I have also noticed my ground hog friends have not been around much the last week or so. I wonder if these are not all connected somehow and the skunk family is not actually living in the barn.
My next step is going to be my now idle game cameras to determine where these skunks are actually living. Plus this evening I will stake out the front area where I can see if they come out of the barn or one of the other buildings. If they are creatures of habit I should have my answer, if they randomly use different exits and entrances this could get more complicated.
I tried sneaking out a few times last night but never did see them again.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!