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Animals to protect or alert when flock is in danger?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BigMommaZ, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. BigMommaZ

    BigMommaZ Out Of The Brooder

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    This morning I went to my new coop to feed the girls. I have one large 20x30 coop (used to be a run in shed) divided for my large fowl and bantams and an attached run 30x30 divided as well. We covered the entire run including the top and dug not only a foot down but a foot or so out and buried both wire and plastic boards to deter anything digging in around the entire run. I currently have 10 large fowl with another 6 in a sectioned off brooder and 3 bantams with another 6 in a secured brooder within their area. Sadly a cat found a breech in the wire and ripped apart two of my bantams, the third is gone – just gone, no feathers or carcass….gone! The struggle started inside the coop and ended in the run. The horror the other girls/chicks saw and heard must have been incredible. I’m sick over it. I know I let them down in the worst way. How do I know it was a cat? The breech in the wire on the top was just large enough for a cat and I had to search high and low for the breech as it wasn’t obvious, nothing else was disturbed and oh, as I was walking the perimeter for signs of digging I saw the little @#% sitting in the brush staring at me. If I had a shovel close by the cat would have met its maker!

    My hubby fixed the breech and made sure there were no other concerns. Not the way you want to start the morning. I will be installing doors to the coop and closing them at night. They did not have doors on their old coop which was less secure than the new one and nothing ever entered. Aside from guard dogs (I have three dogs but they do not live outside overnight) is there anything else that would deter a cat? The coop/run are bordered on two sides by my neighbors horses, donkeys and a steer. I’ve heard guinea hens or toms may help. Your thoughts are appreciated.
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    My guineas alert for danger, real or imagined. We have also witnessed a fox sitting less than fifteen feet from them watching them, though, so they are certainly not fool proof. Supposedly a big enough flock will be brave enough to run a fox or other intruder off and I could imagine that is true. I only have four left though (started with 13, so I've lost nine since last August). I had a tom for a short while but he only made it four months before a raccoon or fox got him in the night. He did, however, seem to deter hawks. My turkey hen was killed by a fox during the middle of the day, while on her nest laying. Really, nothing is fool proof.

    Just because the cat was there doesn't mean he's the culprit, either.
     
  3. BigMommaZ

    BigMommaZ Out Of The Brooder

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    SunHawkwon - That's another reason I didn't beat the cat. I had no proof it was actually him but I think a raccoon would have been more obvious in the destruction of the fencing but it was just super coincidental that a cat was sitting in the brush so close to the massacre. I just read that goats or Llama are also a deterrent.

    I was always planning on adding another critter to the remaining bay of the run in shed with access to the perimeter around the chicken run and I thought if there was a critter that could do double duty as deterrent or danger alarm then I would go for it.

    First things first, all possible breeches have been sew up this morning and today hubby is making doors for the coop access to the run. Additional critter acquisition is currently being researched and considered. I was just looking for ideas. Thanks for the reply [​IMG]
     
  4. poodlechicks

    poodlechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a cat enter my run one time. My chickens ran after him, pecking its back all the way out of the fenced orchard. The cat came back twice and got the same treatment. We never saw that cat again. Never saw a cat jump out a fence so fast [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    About the llama, I also heard it's used to guard goats. I'm not sure about chickens, though. Behavior wise, the llama may decide to protect the flock from you, though.
     
  5. BigMommaZ

    BigMommaZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmmm...Poodlechicks, never thought the llamas would protect the flock from me but I guess it would make sense. I think if the cat or evil dooer got through to the big girls side there may have been a different outcome. I've seen them attack mice and snakes. Heck, Lucy (my Buff Orpington) even crows once in a while - I think she is gender confused. My two bantam cochins and silkie were so docile they couldn't defend. My brooder of 6 bantam cochins contains two roos so hopefully they may be a little more protective. Aaah the perils of keeping chickens. I may need to install a baby monitor in the hen house to make sure they are safe during the evening hours.
     
  6. poodlechicks

    poodlechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    W llamas, it might happen...
    It's heart wrenching to lose our chickens to predators, especially when the chickens are so sweet. I'm sorry you had to go through this ordeal. Some folks here have a lot of experience w night cameras (and llamas:). Hope they chime in to help you.
    Best of luck!
     
  7. BigMommaZ

    BigMommaZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Poodlechicks, I've never lost a chicken to a predator in the 6 years I've had them, just so sad but I know it is a fact of life as they are prey animals and predators are everywhere. I must simply do my best to ramp up my security of the coop/run.
     
  8. poodlechicks

    poodlechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, we try to do the best we can.
     
  9. Jea918

    Jea918 Out Of The Brooder

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    We had Guineas and man they sure do sound the alarm!
     
  10. BigMommaZ

    BigMommaZ Out Of The Brooder

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    I considered guinea hens but I am not sure they would integrate well within the existing flock. I will research a little more. I see guinea hens roaming up and down a few streets by me so I now wonder if they are strictly a free range type of bird that does not do well in confinement.

    I had a chit chat with the horses, donkey and steer that live in my neighbors backyard this morning. I asked them to warn me of any evildoers skulking around my girls.....we'll see if they comply [​IMG]
     

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