A self reliant predator resistant breed?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by gr8eggs, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. gr8eggs

    gr8eggs New Egg

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    Hi, I'm new here so didnt know where to ask this and couldn't find a thread that gave a satifying answer. But I'm wondering what experience people on here have with chickens that are good at not getting eaten by predators. Pretty much what I'm looking for is a breed of chicken that is able to survive mostly on forage without getting eaten and lays fairly decent that produces a little meat on its bones and can brood its own chicks. Thanks :)
     
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I don't think there is any breed of chicken that is safe from hawk attack. Otherwise people would be breeding them like mad. White is probably most vulnerable to hawks, silkies & polish with crests that prevent them from seeing well, also. Hawks will even attack very large birds - even tho they couldn't carry them off - when they dive they can inflict serious injuries. The victim would be unable to get away or be killed on impact. Then the hawk dines at leisure.
     
  3. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    If you are planning on foraging breeds... so you have to pay little enough attention, what are you going to be doing to provide a secure enough area for foraging?

    Daytime.... hawks, eagles, fox, dogs, cats even, raccoons...
    Night time... fox, dogs, coyotes, RACOONS, possums, skunks...

    You will also have to worry about them laying eggs in places other than the nest boxes...

    You will want to avoid bantam breeds, unless you were talking OEB and games. Avoid decorative breeds. Get DP breeds like wyandottes, leghorns, RIR, NH... Those are the only ones of mine that have not had predators get... they are quick, can see things coming. Wyandottes are dual purpose, so are the new hamps. RIR are production and so are leghorns.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Best all around breed for such is American Game. Still some protection needed from owls at night and for brooding hens. We kept such birds in numerous settings and they were sometimes not fed at all beyond what they acquired through foraging. They still had some protection from something like free-ranging dog (something not used as asset often these days) and the lost of a barn with secure roost and usually fed livestock to provide spilled grain.
     
  5. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our OEGB is very keen to any type of predator. She is very quick - can fly well and run fast! -good at finding cover. She is my most independent bird. -excellent at foraging/finding food. She is a good egg layer as well. (That being said, the eggs are small.) This bird is small and lean - no meat on an OEGB.
     
  6. Scruples325

    Scruples325 New Egg

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    Cackle hatchery offers a special straight run, which they advertise as predictor resistant.
     
  7. GatorVetTech

    GatorVetTech New Egg

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    Could you provide a link to this? I couldn't find it on their website.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Pretty much this. No chicken and no breed is predator-proof. They are prey animals.

    We all have our own unique situations. Some of us have a lot more predator pressure than others. Some people would be wiped out immediately if they tried to free range while others can go for years without a predator attack. Livestock guard dogs that are allowed to guard the livestock instead of being house dogs can make a big difference. Electric wire or netting can reduce the potential for attack tremendously. Something as simple as locking them up at night when the risk is greatest can make a huge amount of difference, but bobcats, foxes, coyotes, dogs, and some other four-legged predators can and do hunt during the day. Hawks during the day and owls at night are a threat but providing cover can help with that. An active trapping program can help reduce the threat. None of these things will eliminate the threat, but they can all help reduce it a bit. Still, luck will play a big part.

    For chickens to be able to feed themselves by foraging, they need a good quality forage. That includes different grasses and weeds, grass and weed seeds, good soil with decaying matter for them to scratch in, and all kinds of creepy crawlies for them to catch. Animal poop from horses, cattle, goats, sheep, and such can be rich sources of nutrients. Very few people on this forum have the forage necessary for a chicken to feed itself.

    A standard model for people keeping chickens for the past few thousand years is a small farm where there are other animals. The chickens pretty much feed themselves during the good weather months but often require supplemental feed in winter, depending on the weather. People like to fantasize that these farmers were keeping specific breeds bred to the highest SOP standards but in reality these heritage birds were usually a barnyard mix and usually included a lot of Game.
     
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    As centrachid says, American Standard Games kept in a natural setting with hard nosed predator control thrown in, come as close to being predator prof as any chicken on this planet. Do remember however that close to 90% of all loses to 4 legged predators are the result of the pen, coop, run, or fence that the chickens' owner uses to protect their birds. As long as the predator is on one side of the wire and your chicken is on the other side everything is OK. However once your chicken and the animal wishing to eat that chicken are both on the same side of the wire, then what was once a safe haven for your chicken then quickly becomes a hand ball court of death with your chicken playing the part of the ball.

    So standard game fowl are ideal for those who wish to return to the dawn of poultry keeping, that is if you can get by with 40-50 or fewer eggs per hen each year and don't mind carving up your roast chicken with a chain saw.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Most.... well all of the game fowl men of the time that Ridgerunner is posting about were always on the look out for what were called "farm walks". When a game fowl enthusiastic found a promising barn yard (likely one with 20 or more free range hens and a few non-game roosters playing king of the hill) this fellow would approach the farmer and his wife with a little proposition that went something like this.

    "I'll give you (oh say) $1.75 for each of your five roosters and before I leave I'll wring all five of their necks and give the roosters back to you. I'll also leave one of my most prized roosters with you and before I go I'll give you $2 to let him run with your hens until he reaches full maturity and I pick him up. Moreover every time that I pick up my rooster I'll bring you another virile rooster to keep your hens company and pay you an additional $2 providing my original rooster is still alive. Furthermore I'll bring you a hundred fledging chicks each spring to raise for me on the hafts, all the little pullets are yours and all the little cockerels are mine."
    Now do you people see and understand why many of the hens of say 100 years ago were in fact a Dukes' mixture of grade game fowl.

    With just the first part of the deal the farmer and his family got paid $11.75 just to eat 5 home cooked chicken dinners. In an era when many grown men with families to support worked 60 or more hours of hard manual farm labor for a $4 or $6 weekly wage this was a win win proposition. The reason for this was that it was next to impossible then to raise strong, healthy live stock little less game chickens if you kept your animals in a pen, stall, pasture, coop, run or other enclosure, free range was the only way that anyone knew or understood.

    This hankering to return to the good old days baffles me. The good old days was a time long past when the days were not so good by any stretch of our imaginations, but instead they were simply the old days steeped in ignorance and are best long past. Now thanks to modern science you can house a hen in a small wire cage and she will produce more eggs and remain in better health longer than a true free range hen will today. However in some quarters now that is viewed as cruel.
     
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