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Breeds that can fend off predators?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I had a small flock of chickens a few years back, but had to give them away due to asthma problems. The problems are resolved now, though, and I'd like to get more chickens, because they were a lot of fun. I had a flock of 6 mixed gold sex and red sex links, and they got along very well with our dogs, and we never had any problems with predators. Now, though, I have larger dogs, and there has been a recent increase in skunks/possums/etc in our neighborhood. What breeds would be able to fend for themselves fairly well against predators? I obviously plan to keep them in a secure coop overnight and keep an eye on them during the day, and our dogs will be slowly introduced and trained firmly that they do not mess with the chickens. Still, just in case a dog's instincts kick in or a possum wanders by, are there any breeds that can defend themselves and would still be friendly to humans and not overly aggressive? Are there any breeds I should avoid?

post #2 of 3
Supposedly some large oriental gamefowl (Shamo, Malay, Asil, Ga Noi, to name a few) will attack hawks, cats, and similar sized predators. Problem of course is that anything larger that has a mind to kill them will, and they are quite large and essentially flightless so cannot flee if they are unable to fight.

Bantams, American Pit Games, and anything else lightweight with large wings and little modernization will have better capability to flee predators but won't ever try to defend against or attack them.

American Pit Games would probably be my first choice if you are looking at predator issues alone. They're the closest thing to an undomesticated Junglefowl and have changed very little in the past 10,000 years. They will tame down readily, and shin flogging cocks are a rarity. They are excellent foragers (the only truly "excellent" forager I've ever seen; no other breed will compare) and if offered high roosts they will spend much of the day perched 4, 6, or even 8 feet off the ground. Of course there are cons; they are not that great of layers. The few hens who would class as a "good" or "average" layer would only class as such during spring and summer months; I wouldn't expect more than 100 or maybe 120 eggs a year out of an exceptional layer, and probably about 50 or maybe even 80 from an average one. That means that the breed as a whole would class as a poor layer, when compared to 300+ egg per year production Leghorns and Sex Links.

Other breeds to consider would include the Hamburg; they lay well but their eggs are small. They are beautiful but don't tame down with any sort of ease. They are OK foragers and have a decent capability to escape predators. The Fayoumi is another bird quite similar to the Hamburg, and in fact their qualities are near identical. They lay a few less eggs, though. Buttercups make a third option; I had one hen who was so wiley she slept in a tree in my run for 8 months straight simply because she refused to come indoors. This included most of the winter - lots of ~25 degree nights, a few windstorms that took out 100' tall trees, and even a quarter foot of snow one time.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the info! I'll definitely look into those :)

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