Bear - Chicken Predators - How To Protect Your Chickens From Bears
General Information and Description
Bears are omnivores in the Ursidae family. They are found mostly in North America, Europe and northern and central Asia. The most common are the American Black Bears, which roam in North America and enjoy a widespread population.
Bears generally have large shaggy bodies with short stubby tails. They walk and run on all fours, but can stand on two stocky legs when reaching for food or attacking to frighten their enemies. They are also observed to sit like humans. Bears have a large head with a long snout. They have plantigrade paws with five non-retractable claws. Despite their heavy build and gait, they are known to run as fast as 30 mph as well as being excellent climbers and swimmers.
Bears roam forests and are the most asocial of all mammals. They enjoy living in solitude. These creatures are highly adaptive, and will change their sleeping patterns when presented with an opportunity. They thrive near human settlements, where they scavenge garbage cans at night. They get easily attracted by the smell of processed or cooked meats that humans prepare in their kitchens. They also enjoy stored honey or livestock feed. In the wild, they live in caves or burrows, and are known to go into extended sleep or hibernation during the winter months.
Methods of Kill
Bears are generally omnivorous. Their greatest predatory edge is their heightened sense of smell, which guides them to their prey. These powerful olfactory senses are believed to be more powerful that those of dogs or any other mammal.
Unlike most predators (like raccoons, crows, rats, foxes, opossums, and cats) who will lie in wait until no one is around to strike, bears attack and break through your defenses—especially when faced with food he enjoys. These animals can easily destroy picket fences and small wood sheds just to get to your chicken feeds. Along the way, they will eat as many panicking chickens as they can as they tear through the coop using their sharp claws.
Prevention & Treatment
The best bear protection for your poultry farm is not to give bears any reason to visit your area. Bears find the aroma of chicken feeds irresistible and while bears are not generally attracted to the scent of your fowl, the chicken feed is enough of an invitation. Feeds are to bears is what crack is to humans—both can’t get enough of it.
To remedy the situation, make sure that you use air tight storage bins for your chicken feeds. Cover your garbage cans, and never leave cooked meats and fish exposed. As an added insurance, build a bear-proof chicken coop. In most cases, that means using concrete fencing or relatively strong electric fences. A cement-walled or raised chicken coop also helps. There are excellent discussions on bear attacks of chicken farms here.
While dogs have been known to attack chickens and devour their young, they can be trained as puppies to live with your chickens to protect them. Have at least two or three of them around your backyard. While there is no guarantee that bears will not intrude, guard dogs can be an effective deterrent.