We lost another duck today, though not to predator. This cold spell has been brutal. I'm told the remaining guinea isn't looking well either. The metal inside the Quonset is covered in frost. I wonder how much of this is because of the cold and how much is because I moved the water dish indoors while we closed everything up after the holiday duck murders.
We still have yet to trap anything in the live trap. Tonight we're expecting -23, and tomorrow night -16. From there on it looks a little better for lows, even possibly touching above freezing in mid January (though that's far off and bound to change). The barn kitties have been locked up in the entry way for what seems like forever now. It does make it much easier to feed and water them, but they lack litter box skills and have already destroyed a couple pairs of shoes and we're going to have to do some cleaning and sanitizing once it's warm enough to clean without everything freezing. Better than frozen kittens though.
I worry about letting the kitties stay outside at night when it warms up a bit. If something was big enough to attack and kill a duck, they're more than big enough to catch and kill a half-grown barn cat. On the other hand, we got them to be barn cats, and what good are they doing being locked up in the entry way every night? I don't know what to do. They have to be out during the day. They're seriously going stir crazy in the entry way. I mean, it's pretty decent size, but it's not as big as the barn, and certainly doesn't offer them the opportunity to climb trees and play in the snow and chase each other around the yard. So how do I weigh in between safety from predators and cold, versus freedom to do what they're meant to do? Maybe I'm just not in the right state of mind for a barn cat. I still see them as pets and parts of our family. There's no disconnect. If they go missing or get killed, I will never forgive myself. But at the same time, our indoor cats will not accept another into their group, and my husband already says we have too many in the house (and I agree), so they can't come in beyond the entry way.
So, I'm hoping we can catch the duck killer in the next couple of days, so I can feel safer letting the cats out to play when it finally warms up a little out there.