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Country Discussion Topics
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Aren't skunks beneficial animals?
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Paula    Posted 08-21-2003 at 07:26:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Everything I've read about them, including my most
recent issue of Country Gardner says that they're
beneficial animals in the garden since they keep
certain insects in check including yellow jackets.

Indeed they do predate on poultry (so I"ll have to build
a good coop for the ducks), but otherwise aren't they a
benefit?

Just asking. I've learned to ask these questions since
often there's a disconnect between theory and reality.
At this point theory is all I've got.

Paula


Hal/WA    Posted 08-21-2003 at 21:12:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Maybe they can be considered beneficial by some people, but don't ask anyone who has been sprayed by one or has had their dog sprayed. Been there, done that..... If I get a chance, I shoot every one I see.


Dave Wis    Posted 08-21-2003 at 20:46:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
A few years back, when I was working at a lumber yard, one of our supplier's salesmen and I were talking about this, that and the other thing and he mentioned he had previously worked for a perfume distributor. He said ALL perfumes have a tincture of skunk essence in them. It's what makes the smell last so long. Oh, also, ALL perfumes, no matter what they sell for, $5 or $500 an ounce cost within 5% of each other to make.


Dale    Posted 08-21-2003 at 18:35:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
When they live in the wild, skunks can be very beneficial, but very few live in the wild anymore


cooncatcher Clay    Posted 08-21-2003 at 12:28:27       [Reply]  [Send Email]
WARNING do not try to make a pet out of a wild skunk.Been there, done that, ain't never gonna do it again.They tame down real easy when you feed them well.You can even hand feed them after several weeks.Don't let that fool you.When they have a bad day you are gonna know about it.If you are feeding a whole family of them, if one sprays they all spray!!!


Clipper    Posted 08-21-2003 at 10:04:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
When they start hanging around your house you will quickly ferget about "theory" of them being beneficial in any way shape or form... :^)


Jet9N    Posted 08-21-2003 at 16:57:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
One good point: if you have skunks you don't have
rats. The soon as skunks are in the area the rats
move out.Typically if you have pigs, you also have
rats because of the feed pigs waste. Skunks will
clear the rats out in no time at all.

Homestead experience,

Jet


STEVEN H    Posted 08-21-2003 at 09:31:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
well they are realy good fer clearin out yer nose when it is all stuffed up. good fer makein da pooch more attactive to da kids. and keeps dem stinky chick pop down ;-)


good question    Posted 08-21-2003 at 08:56:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Paula:

been reading most of those magazines and books all my life, preparing to get to our farm...after 5 years here I think there's many instances where theory and reality diverge.

I'm pretty ambivalent about skunks. They do in fact eat some pests, but in large numbers or the wrong place skunks become pests themselves...they will empty out a beehive in a few weeks time and can become quite the pest if you have bees. They can carry rabies and there've been at least 2 cases of rabid skunks in my area just last year.

So I'm afraid skunks are another case where the truth isn't really black and white: "it depends" seems to have become my motto for a lot of stuff anymore.

cheers,
tom a


ret    Posted 08-21-2003 at 08:30:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
you say you are going to raise some ducks. Have you kept them before? Got a pond for them?


Paula    Posted 08-21-2003 at 09:41:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Yes, I plan on raising some Rouen.

No I've never raised them before - like I said, I'm in the
theory stage.

Don't have a pond, but it seems troughs and wading
pools suffice for many folks (easy to clean). Some
books I've read said that the water isn't even necessary.
Think I'll provide some though.

Paula


ret    Posted 08-21-2003 at 11:39:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
just wondered, we tried raising 5 ducks with about 30 chickens a few years ago. We had never been around poultry before.Two were Pekins and the other were Indian Runners. Ducks are funny creatures, you can watch them for hours doing crazy things. However, they are the messiest creatures to be around. Each one has their own shovel, their bill. Hard to keep their water clean, they throw it all around. Food is the same way, all over the place. Kiddie pools worked pretty good, but get muddy really fast. This year we are trying chickens again with guineas. In fact, in another week we will let the guineas out for the first time. Must say, the coop stays dry at the waterer, hardly any smell either. I really enjoyed the ducks,but so much mess and bother. But heck, try it, like I say, they can be a lot of fun.


Paula    Posted 08-21-2003 at 12:34:05       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Yes, I've read about the mess. Thanks for the input
though, as always. The books talk about using
waterers they can't stand in, and feeders the same way.
The wading pool users make the choice for ease of
clean up - which is quite frequent. I'd graze them over
the back half acre or so which is all ground cover and
grasses.

The scientist geek in me wants to try a little operant
conditioning wih them. An example was the
vietnamese way of herding the ducks out to the paddies
and herding them back home using a colorfully
decorated shepherds staff to guide them. I guess it
takes all types to make up the world huh.


ret    Posted 08-21-2003 at 15:49:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
fence them in good, predators love to eat duck We lost our two big Pekins the same night. He was a big duck. All I found in the back pasture next day was two piles of feathers, that's all, no blood or parts or anything. Never did figure out what got them


Paula    Posted 08-22-2003 at 05:18:55       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Yup,

Fencing and housing is why I predict I won't get into it
until maybe the second year in the house. Especially in
the woods, I'd have to be really careful for predators.

Not to mention my ridgebacks.

Paula


Swamphandy    Posted 08-21-2003 at 08:10:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
If anyone wants to experiment, I will be happy to send a few to you. I think UPS has a live animal shipping service now. I would love to get a video of the driver who gets to deliver that one ;)

-Swamphandy


Red Dave    Posted 08-21-2003 at 07:47:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sure, skunks do eat things that we want to get rid of anyway. Like all wild animals, they are only beneficial when they keep their distance, too close and they become a nuisance, sometimes even dangerous.
Skunks also carry rabies, you do not want your pet to get bitten by one and you darn sure don't want them living under your porch.


Ron/PA    Posted 08-21-2003 at 07:45:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
Morning Paula,
Well we have skunks, and we have yellow jackets, and since I'm allergic to yellow jacket stings, I'd be a lot more tolerable of skunks if they did their duty. As far as I know, skunks will play a heck of a game of eat the grubs, so they dig all over the lawn and garden in search of grubs and slugs. Now I'm not really all that attached to grubs, but given the choice, I'll take the grubs, and the skunks can go live at my neighbors farm.
Later
Ron, who is certainly no expert on either skunks or grubs.


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