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Re: interesting visitor

Well, I will admit to having forgotten to close the patio door one night and
they came in and feasted on the bag of peanuts I kept just inside the door
for feeding the blue jays.  What a mess!  They did have quite a party.

It sounds like there are several tender-hearted folks on this list.  I'm
beginning to think though that maybe I'll feed only occasionally.  I don't
want them to be dependent on me, but what's the harm in them getting lucky
once in a while?  But I will put it further from the house.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Marge Talt" <mtalt@hort.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2003 10:39 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] interesting visitor

> Not Zem, Kitty, but FWIW.
> The current wisdom is not to feed wildlife.  That said, I've been
> feeding raccoons for years. Heck, I think we feed half the wildlife
> in this area:-)  The one thing to keep in mind, if you choose to
> feed, is that you need to keep it up.  Feeding wildlife permits more
> animals to occupy a territory than it might otherwise support and if
> you suddenly stop feeding, those animals are going to be hurting.
> Animals become dependent on your hand outs - not for their total
> diet, but for a substantial part of it.  Wild animals will always
> continue to forage, even if you put out food - you just become one of
> their regular stops on their nightly food rounds.  Putting out food,
> however, does stop raiding of bird feeders and trash cans or whatever
> else they've been raiding - animals take the easiest path to food.
> I feed them dry dogfood (the cheap kind) and any table scraps that
> aren't compostable - meat, cheese and stale bread or leftover
> whatevers - they eat most anything except lettuce and string beans, I
> have found.  They love fruit as well as chicken.
> I learned that the best thing is to establish a feeding area removed
> from the house - that way they aren't tempted to come in when their
> food isn't there.  They will come in if they can and head for any
> food source in the house and they can make a mess you can't believe
> as they have little hands and are quite capable of opening the
> fridge, cupboards, sugar bowls, etc.  You need to watch any pet doors
> if you have raccoons around - they learn how to use them, too.  Best
> if they don't learn to associate the house with food:-)
> I've never had them actually damage any plants although I can well
> imagine that anything planted directly under a bird feeder would get
> rather mashed from them dropping down off the feeders on to it.  They
> will also have altercations among themselves that can lead to
> tussles, which, if conducted in a flower bed are not really good for
> the flowers.  But, they are very light-footed animals.  I've watched
> my lot walk through my borders - you could never tell they'd been
> there.
> If you put something out for them in one place all the time, that's
> where they'll go; they learn fast.  I started feeding them to keep
> them out of the bird feeders...they'll take dogfood any day.  Cat
> food is preferred, but it tends to be more expensive, so they don't
> get it unless my cat has turned up her nose at it and simply won't
> eat it.
> Nothing edible goes to waste here - if the coons don't get it, the
> fox or possums get it or the crows or something else.  I put out a
> hambone from Easter for the coons and my son watched the fox grab it
> and haul the entire thing away.  Scraps are either composted or put
> out for the wildlife.   Somebody also goes through the compost heap
> just to make sure there's nothing they want there:-)
> One last note on coons..... I have discovered that they
> semi-hibernate in really bad weather...like when there's a lot of
> snow on the ground.  They will come out in mild spells and look for
> food, but if it's snowing, they stay curled up in their nests.  My
> guys will come tell me they're out looking if I haven't put anything
> out for them.
> Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
> mtalt@hort.net
> Editor:  Gardening in Shade
> -----------------------------------------------
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> ----------
> > From: Kitty <kmrsy@comcast.net>
> >
> > Zem,
> > There's no question about your feelings, but I'd like to ask the
> others
> > about not skunks, but raccoons.  I frequently put out a bowl of cat
> food for
> > a stray cat when he comes by, but he never eats it all.  So, when
> he's done
> > it's still there in the FL room, which I can see from my tv chair,
> or
> > sometimes it's on the carpet just inside the sliding door which I
> keep open
> > til I go to bed.  Occasionally a raccoon will come and polish it
> off, but I
> > yell at them when they try to come inthe house and they leave,
> although not
> > happily.  If they come back several times, within minutes, I shut
> the door.
> > I have also put a bowl on the front porch a few times when the cat
> was out
> > front.
> >
> > Last night, a small raccoon came by the FL room but there was no
> bowl and I
> > told him he couldn't come in.  A bit later I noticed my cat
> watching
> > intently out the front window.  Wehn I went to the front door,
> there were
> > mom and 3 little babies, they left the porch with dashed hopes of
> finding a
> > meal.  I watched as they lumbered off across the street.
> >
> > I no longer feed birds except in the one expensive bird feeder that
> closes
> > when weight hits the perch.  The raccoons destroyed all other
> feeders.  The
> > plants beneath the remaining feeder have been smashed.  I don't
> like to
> > encourage racoons in my yard because of the damage they do.
> However, I
> > don't begrudge any animal a meal and I feel badly for their plight.
> > Watching that mama and babies leave with no luck last night was a
> sad sight.
> > I'm thinking about getting a bag of cheap stuff for them, but fear
> I'll
> > regret the results.
> >
> > So what do you all think?  Should I feed the raccoon family?
> >
> > Kitty
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: <Zemuly@aol.com>
> > To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> > Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2003 9:55 AM
> > Subject: Re: [CHAT] interesting visitor
> >
> >
> > > I have about six skunks who regularly eat my cat food on the
> front porch,
> > > along with assorted raccoons and possums.  They are all so
> accustomed to
> > people
> > > that when my grandchildren visit they are able to open my front
> door and
> > watch
> > > the zoo through the storm door.  Keeps them well entertained.
> There is
> > one
> > > little skunk who eats the cat food in the back yard.  We call him
> > "Skippy." If
> > > he sees me coming he "hides" behind an azalea until I've gone.
> > > zem
> > > zone 7
> > > West TN
> > >
> > >
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> >
> >
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