As of September 2015, we are completely animal-less. We listed our last remaining chickens and meat rabbits on Craigslist for free to the first person who would come get them.
The Reason? This guy…
I have no way of knowing if it was in fact a guy or a girl, but I do know that over the course of 3 separate nights, a Florida Black Bear (quite possibly 2 different bears) came and terrorized my animals eating most of them.
It was around 8 pm the first night the bear came to our property. We heard squealing outside and at first thought it was cats fighting. Brian turned on the outside light, looked out the front door into the side yard and saw the big, BIG ass-end of a black bear running in the opposite direction. The bear rammed into my kids swing set and jumped the chainlink fence denting it badly. With the bear long gone Brian went out and inspected the area. Our four-caged rabbit hutch was damaged and we presume the bear was attempting to knock it over.
The second night the bear came he was much more effective. Late at night while we quietly slept he killed Cassie, one of our meat rabbits and all of her newborn kits. He also tore into our chicken run flushed the chickens out and ate two of them.
The next morning we found Cassie half-eaten on the ground, and Chloe another doe, missing. A day later our neighbor found Chloe hiding between two fences. She had escaped the bear attack and miraculously did not run away. We were ecstatic to find her unharmed.
We blame ourselves for the loss of our chickens because we forgot to close the door to the coop that night. If the coop door had been closed he could have pushed the whole thing over if he wanted but he would not have been able to get in. The coop was like a little Fort Knox and fully enclosed on all sides.
Brian started constructing fortifications for the rabbit hutch but didn’t finish it fast enough.
About a week later, the bear came back again. This time he broke into the rabbit hutch and took Buzzy, our buck. The next morning Buzzy was gone but we found no trace of him. My husband loved Buzzy and was tore up over the whole situation. But because Chloe had escaped the attack and hid in the yard, I was hopeful that Buzzy had escaped too.
But it wasn’t so. I discovered my neighbor’s back wooden fence was broken. I climbed up, looked over and saw the remains of a gray rabbit. It was Buzzy. It appears the bear grabbed Buzzy, climbed over the back fence and ate him on the other side.
We were heart broken. Fearing for our remaining rabbits lives, Big Mama and Chloe, and our last three chickens, we listed them, the rabbit hutch and coop for free to the first person willing to come get them.
A very nice older man and his wife came within hours to get our animals. They said they lived nearby and had a little farm going for their grandchildren. They were super nice and said we could come visit them anytime.
I miss our animals, especially the fresh eggs. We raised our girls from chicks and learned a lot about keeping farm animals. Once, our entire flock even contracted bumblefoot and Brian and I were forced to perform surgery on each one of them. They all healed nicely and proved to be great pets. But, keeping these types of animals is a huge responsibility and takes a lot of time. And we are enjoying the lack of farm chores. After all, we have a lot of other activities going on (ie. remodeling our whole house).
Have we had any bear visits since? Yes. It’s apparent that this bear associates our house with food. Even with all the animals gone he still managed to find something to tear into. It really was my fault because I left the bag of trash in the screened porch. He ripped the whole screen apart by the way.
I don’t hate bears nor am I mad at this bear. It’s just a bear doing what bears do. We are in bear country and this stuff comes with the territory. It is a little ironic though that just a few months later the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission opened up bear season for the first time in 21 years. I’m not sure if our bear was shot during this short hunting season but we have not had any signs of a bear snooping around our property since.
Top Photo Credit: US Forest Service