DEVISING SYSTEM TO HEAR DISTURBED BIRDS AFTER DARK

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Now that the production season has ended, virtually all my birds not harvested have been confined to pens till spring. The pens numbering in the mid 30's have been arranged in two clusters that slow predators so dogs have more time to foil the predators' attempts at evil doings. Pen arrangement also makes so I can step onto front porch and survey all with quick scan of flashlite. Dogs also alert me to disturbances but sometimes such disturbances are not actual threat to chickens, at least not mine, as dogs go in other directions as well. Often when threat to chickens is real the birds give alarm calls easily heard from front porch and dogs can hear from anywhere in house when they come in. Many times I can not distinguish between threats and non-threats based on what the dogs are barking at and I am becoming increasingly interested seeing what predator is doing without having dogs chasing it off first. Holding dogs back every time during night gets troublesome so I would like to have a method to hear what is going on without opening doors. Owing to most pens being a good 100 yards from house I do not think a baby monitor will work. Another option be considered is mounting one of those parabula things used at ball games so that it picks up sounds coming from the pens of interest. Wildlife folks use similar I think. Has anyone tried to use such?
     
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Many baby monitors are effective at 500 or more feet. I got a monitor cost about $15 and it has a 500' range. There were some that had longer range. Biggest problem for many people would be that you wouldn't wake up to the noise. I am a VERY light sleeper so I was waking up all the time. I now use it if I have seen a predator relatively close by. It picks up a lot. I can hear the coyotes howling through it.

    Another problem is that by the time you hear a disturbance, it may be too late at least for a chicken or two.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Dogs will still alert me by waking me up as usual when birds alarmed. Predators usually disturb multiple birds in different pens before they actually go after one in ernest. The pens do have some protective value so I do not expect to loose any birds in process. Rather I want to be able to have better observations when predator does stop by delaying dogs from their job of catching if not repelling predator.

    I am familiar with radio limitations / capabilites of baby monitors but the quality of sound is not good enough. Not all alarm vocalizations involve bird squawling last breath, many calls are lower intensity becuase bird simply knows something bad is nearby but can not make out threat. Those lower quality vocalizations are of particular interest and may be made by birds up to 150 feet from monitor making them hard to make out from background noise.
     
  4. wildriverswolf90

    wildriverswolf90 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What about a night vision game cam?
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am for short-term falling back on the baby monitor method but is requires an extension cord making the more distant cluster of pens impractical to monitor. The dogs are still messing with efforts by sniffing around unit on pen and they can hear sounds chickens make that I can not pick up on monitor. The birds do make sounds as if dreaming. The monitor picks up sound of train nealry 5 miles away very well.


    I just heard a coyote howling through monitor and my dogs boiled out to challenge it. So far only male dog pushes interaction and most of that is not something I can hear on monitor. Young female dog not yet getting involved but she is already bigger than a male coyote. Coyotes not a problem for me but they do make a lot of racket.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Biggest problem with baby monitor now is signal to noise ratio. The constant static makes me more inclined to sleep through a disturbance. Dogs not so inclined but I want to be there as well.
     

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