Coyote Baited in My Forage Managment

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I pride myself in promoting forage to reduce feed expenditures for free-range flocks. Not only has the forage quality and quantity been increased, the cottontail rabbit population has exploded. I like the idea of abundant rabbits for the hunting opportunities it can provide this winter. Rabbits are so abundant I can almost hunt them with a stick and the dogs appear to be getting bored with them. A bobcat had been coming in for rabbits and even took two chickens but dogs finally figured him out and told him to leave. Foxes come in as well but are single minded when hunting rabbits and dogs will get those if chickens riled. The problem is with a coyote. Coyotes seem to use their heads more than foxes so go after a chicken even though initially looking for rabbits. The rabbits are flat out easy to catch but a coyote came into front yard at about 0415 this morning apparently investigating rooster crowing in driveway or dead hen draped over motorcycle. Coyote was very surprised to see me standing there but was very surprised when dogs came barreling in from cockyard to west and nearly caught it as chase went through apiary and orchard on southeast side of house. Coyote has caused me very little damage on poultry side but neighbor to northeast has taken a big hit, probably by same animal. It is quite impressive to see criiter come into our core like that, especially when it knows dogs. Next year I will try to separate areas supporting rabbits from areas supporting free-range chickens. The rabbits like the waste high dense forbs surrounded short edible legumes while the chickens make do with more open patches as cover but have a similar preference for legumes as forage. I may also have to open up more lines of sight to make detection of coyote by chickens and dogs easier.
     

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