Practical Issues of Having a Racoon with Other Ranch Animals

The Raccoon is a common animal native to North America. It is typical to see one darting from one branch to another, or rapidly crossing a road. However, despite being apparently cute, these feisty mammals may not be good pets. Nevertheless, people do keep them, but it is not really advisable. They also have a certain kind of mysticism around them, partly because of their dexterity with using their front paw. As their fingers are free to move individually, they can actually put it too complex uses such as opening the lid of a container and unlatching windows.

Weird animal

This uncanny ability probably led the natives to believe in their weird powers. They make a part of the American culture. Even Native Indian tribes such as the Abenaki feature the animal as characters in their folk tales. In most of the stories, it is a clever one making its way out of a difficult situation or getting (rather, stealing) something to eat. This natural prankster is famous for its tricks even in real life. At Spiro Mounds, Oklahoma, they found a Raccoon Priests Gorget including a stylized carving of the animal. No one clearly knows what its significance is anyway. 

In the 1940s, hunters literally bagged the Coon’s literally in millions because of their fur. In many places, hunting or harvesting them without a permit is not possible. It is still popular in many places as exotic game meat. Someone from Mississippi once gifted President Calvin Coolidge with a Raccoon for Thanksgiving dinner. What made this particular animal famous, that it temporarily escaped with its life, and became a White House pet (probably the only one of its kind in White House). It was a status symbol among college students in 1920s to wear a Raccoon fur coat. 

Coonskin caps were very popular once. The specialty of this fur cap is in retaining the animal’s tail hanging sideways. In fact, the famous Sioux leader Spotted Tail received his name from wearing one of these headgears all the time. Television episodes showing Frontiersmen Davy Crockett wearing Coonskin caps caused an upsurge in their demand in the 1950s. Of course, harvesting them for furs is also an ethical issue. It is always advisable to wear faux furs to save the wild animal from extinction. Cinemas showing the Raccoon as a major character include the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘Over the Hedge’, and ‘Rascal’. 

The animal displays some rather interesting and unique behavior, especially ‘dousing’. Especially seen in captive specimens, the animal always tends to wash or douse its food in water before eating. Why it does so is unclear. However, in general, it is a destructive species and therefore not suitable for keeping at a ranch. In some places, they categorize it as a nuisance or a pest. In places where their population density is significant, they tend to nibble on electric wiring, insulation, and wood. 

Not the best pets

They also destroy crops. Raccoons also have this nickname of ‘masked bandits’ due to their characteristic black eyes, and obviously because of their notorious thieving nature. It can be very difficult trying to domesticate them because of their aggressiveness. They will strip your bed sheet, cut computer cords, and tear your books. Moreover, your vet may not have adequate knowledge about its physical problems. The point is that, in case the animal is sick, there is no good treatment available even. They require high maintenance and a great deal of attention. House training is not easy and they would inevitably urinate or defecate in the most unlikely places. 

Maybe, it is altogether for the best to avoid trying to domesticate them or to get too cuddly about them. Having a raccoon is sure to be troublesome! If you encounter them in the house, try calling the local animal welfare people. About farming or harvesting, do keep a note of the ethical concerns, besides the health issues. Never forego the need for a permit, if the state authorities require it. States where they have the bad reputation of being pests, you can call the pest control too. If you have a ranch, always make sure that there is no mutual disturbance among the various animals staying together.  

How To Control Pests In Horses

Pests can cause discomfort to your animals at home, especially your horses. Just to give you a rough idea of what a pest is:

A pest is any animal detrimental to humans and their concerns, including crops, livestock, and forestry.

Pests include animals which carry disease-causing microorganisms and parasites, for example, mosquitoes, bed bugs, and ticks; which transmit viruses to humans and animals.

Pests may also cause damage to farm produce by attacking and eating cereals before maturity.

Sadly, some pests such as the feral dogs can cause the death in animals, especially for the animals with fur.

Possible Signs Your Horse is Infested with Pests

Pests may affect your horse either positively or negatively.

Bothersome pests may turn as a nuisance because they make horses nervous, which interrupts their performance. You may notice frequent stomps and swap of tails on your horse as a sign that pests are causing discomfort to your horse..

Even though these positive effects may not be intense, they may still impact the health of your horse, especially if the stress increases. So, be weary of these signs before invade your compound to cause discomfort to your lively horse.

Pests may also transmit disease-causing organisms to your animal. Serious attacks can cause death of animals; that’s why you’re advised to take action as soon as you notice unusual behaviors in your horse.

Different Types of Pests and How to Identify them on Your Horse

Blister Beetles – these insects attack horses indirectly. In most cases, you’ll find them in hays produced in the western and south western state. Extensive inspection for blister beetles needs to be performed if you ship your hay from these regions.

Face Flies and House Flies – they don’t bite but are a nuisance to the animal because they persistently cling on them. They feed on open wounds and cuts on the animal’s body. Besides, they can breed faster on animal’s fresh manure.

Stable Flies – they are small, black-grayish insects and have a painful bite. Stable flies depend on the animal’s blood for survival by piercing through the skin. They lay their eggs in piles of decaying matter such as manure and urine, wet feed, and contaminated hay.

Horn Flies – Horn flies are tiny in size and irritant to horses pasturing with cattle. You’ll find them on the sides of the legs of cattle and horses. They feed while facing downwards and breed rapidly on manures.

Horse Fly and Deer Fly – these are also stubborn pests because their bites are extremely painful and cause flow of blood attracting insects. They may cause anemia to your horse due to loss of blood.

How to Control these Pests in Your Horses

Environmental sanitation is the key to controlling pests in your horses. Proper management of manure will help control several horse pests such as the face flies.

Occasionally spread the manure to prevent the accumulation of other wastes, which will help in eliminating flies’ breeding grounds. Application of pesticides on piles of manure will significantly help in eradicating maggots during decaying.

Develop proper drainage systems to prevent stagnant water from irrigation systems, which are a breeding place for mosquitoes and horse flies. You can also eliminate containers that hold water for long periods around the paddocks. Cleaning rain gutters occasionally will help prevent roof pests by allowing free flow of water during rainy seasons.

On a hot sunny day, most flying pests will rest under the shade to cool their bodies. So you are advised to mow grasses and other weeds that might provide shaded resting sites to these pests. In case of bushes and shrubs, burning them is the best solution to getting rid of ticks once and for all.

Finally, use of other animals as a biological control can also work, though it’ll take a little bit longer. The principle behind these control measures is to reduce the pests’ population. In most cases, it’s not practical as animals will continue to suffer from infestation.

Management Recommendations

If you’re still facing difficulties in controlling or managing stagnant water near the pastures, you can use biological insecticides to eradicate mosquitoes, flies and other pests that may harbor in standing waters.

Chemical control pesticides are the most effective, especially in controlling their population. You can read more reviews and guides on how to control pests. However, you need to understand the chemical you intend to use before applying it. This is to enable you to identify the targeted species because not all pests will die by spraying chemicals.

Spraying horse’ premises, screening stable areas, applying horse repellents, management of manures and vegetation can be of great help in managing most horse pests.

Final Thoughts

Eradicating pests from your horses can be costly, but, you can always save yourself that hassle by controlling them as they tend to multiply quickly.

With the above guidelines on pests management, you should be thinking about how to implement them early enough.

Don’t wait for the worse because all your efforts will be dead in the water.

Shoshoni and Big Timber

Shoni

I had never seen or thought much about miniature horses.   But the ranch where we boarded our horses had a little guy named Dusty.  The day I saw him I could not get over how cute and friendly this little guy was.  I decided that if I was going to get a mini, he/she should look like Montana.  I went on an internet search and found a little cutie in Tennesse.  Packed up a  rented minivan with shavings and off we went. She makes everyone smile and has grown int a real cutie.  One of our goals is to the turn her into a Therapy Horse.  

Timber

No one told me that you cannot keep one horse alone.  So… off we go to find Shoni a best friend.  Search far and wide and the next thing you know we are on our way to Missouri to pick up our new buddy, Timber.  He is still so tiny … he simply never grew!  He’s a mini-mini! He is friendly, fast and the first one to give a hug when you go out to the barn.

Durango

A miniature donkey is hard to find! Colorado truly does not have a overload of donkeys and after having spent time with one, I knew this was a perfect addition to our herd.  Miniature Donkeys have curious, engaging dispositions, and they make great pets. Most miniature donkeys average 34″ high at the withers and weigh 200-350 pounds. Gray dun with a dorsal stripe is the most common color, though black, brown, sorrel, white, and spotted animals are also popular. Located in Farmington NM this little guy came to us via transport on January 24th.

A miniature donkey is hard to find! Colorado truly does not have a overload of miniature donkeys and after having spent time with one, I knew this was a perfect addition to our herd.  Miniature Donkeys have curious, engaging dispositions, and they make great pets. Most miniature donkeys average 34″ high at the withers and weigh 200-350 pounds. Gray dun with a dorsal stripe is the most common color, though black, brown, sorrel, white, and spotted animals are also popular. Located in Farmington NM this little guy will be coming to us via transport on January 24th.  We are so excited!  We can’t wait to meet him.

Who’s New?

Meet our latest edition, Whiskey!  Arriving on April Fool’s Day … he is our youngest and most energetic newbie.  Our baby lamb is sweet, funny and probably very happy he is in the barn now with his new best friend, Doe. I think he was tired of wearing huggies diapers!

Barn Makeover goats, sheep & pigs

We finished the majority of the cleaning and it was safe for humans and horses again.  Our large horses were moved in and we still needed a space for our two miniature horses.  Below (l) was where we hoped to put them.  We needed space for hay, storage and thought we could fix up this really scary north area.  I also had plans to get goats and they needed a home.  Off we go to Home Depot and more wood, nails, hinges and latches!

Renovation Goals

1. Clean & Disinfect – the barn was unsafe for both humans and animals; and add automatic waters.

2. Remove broken gates, existing plywood and rake through all the dirt for glass, screws and nails.

3.  Replace all aluminum bars from stalls with wood

4.  Paint, replace, fix and update all existing wood.