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Flying predator protection?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tequilajade, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. tequilajade

    tequilajade Out Of The Brooder

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    right off, I'm going to say sorry if this has already been asked, but on a quick search I didn't see anything right away.

    I have 10 chickens, 1 of which is a very large rooster, 1 other is likely a rooster, growing fast, but could also be a large dominant hen, only time will tell I guess.

    I also have 4 guinea keeks, (well one got out today, so will have to see what happens there since I can't seem to catch the fast little ******* by myself)

    4 ducklings still in a brooder indoors.

    1 indoor outdoor cat, 2 kittens, that havent ventured outdoors yet

    2 LARGE dogs. A lab mix, and an english mastiff mix.

    we are likely moving to a larger farm at the end of august, early september, where we will be adding a meat pig, a couple cows, and at least one goat.

    The house will likely come with one or two horses, and it also has 2 feral barn cats.

    so far none of our birds have been allowed to free range, because where we are now, is rather small, and we have a serious hawk/eagle problem. someone told us that at the larger property, the larger animals, and the two big roosters should be plenty to deter the hawks. apparently guineas are crazy fast not only when running from us and the wildlife has a hard time catching them as well. keeping them in a coop or run is not really allowing them to do their job at keeping the bugs under control. but I really don't want to see my egg layers/investments fly away in the talons of a larger bird either. does anyone have any ideas or advice? knowledge here? so far the really big rooster has done a pretty good job of protecting his hens from the lab mix that can't seem to want to leave the birds alone, but there's also always been a chain link fence between them.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 8MerryHens

    8MerryHens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A friend of mine had a flock of guineas and lost all of them to her dogs, so that might be your biggest threat if you can't train them that the guineas and chickens are not fair game. The dogs would be great assets if you can train them to protect the flock, along with your rooster.

    One post I saw on BYC talked about getting the sparkly disco balls you see at dances and hanging them around the property (they got them at a dollar store), that seemed to keep the hawks away. I have also heard of hanging CDs. I no longer free range mine unless I am out with them as I lost a beautiful EE to a hawk last week. We have tons of cover in our yard, the chickens stayed in or near the woods or the bushes but this hawk followed her into the run under the coop.[​IMG] I had told myself that with free ranging I needed to be willing to accept a loss now and then, but after it happened I had a change of heart - pulled out the old trampoline and encased it with wire - now they can be out but no hawks will be able to come back for a second course. With my small flock, loosing one has a big affect on my end goal - eggs!

    Not trying to discourage you from free ranging, many do it very successfully. I loved having mine out all day, they certainly loved it as well. Good luck with your move and your flock.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I would strongly suggest that you build a very secure coop(s) and run(s) at the new place to accommodate all your birds,
    you might need separate spaces according to their needs as chickens need different than ducks need different than guineas.
    Leave them locked up in the new space(s) for at least few weeks, work on training the dog(s) to leave the birds alone, and live there for awhile to observe the predator load before contemplating doing any free ranging.

    Cock/erels might warn against hawk or other predators, but may only be a appetizer/speed bump on the way to the main buffet. Hanging shiny stuff in the yard might work for a very short time, but not long term.
    No bird is fast when it is roosting in the trees. Read up on guineas coming home to roost, it's tricky.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    If you can get dogs based on barn without causing problems with other animals, then in longer term you could free-range with a lot of benefits beyond hawks. Then I would look into cover patches the goat and horses will not have access to dogs can. Avoid having so all barnyard area overgrazed, make so a patchwork.
     
  5. jacksun

    jacksun Out Of The Brooder

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    I had a hawk fly next to the house do a 90* turn and nail one of my english sussex hens. I yelled no affect fire cracker nothing foot worked. No help for the hen though. I only use chicken wire for roof of run and make sure its tied every six inches. We have every type of predator here, Coy dogs, skunks, coons, possums, fox, the worst was a pine marten. I called Him Satan. Tried live trap, leg traps. calls sitting out at night, and poison. He ate the poison came back the next night pried open the door and killed the last twelve chickens in the coop. Looked like a slaughter house, didn't even eat them.
     
  6. DCMuffin

    DCMuffin Out Of The Brooder

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    On a totally different note - if you intend to have a goat, please get two. They really are social animals and do not do well when kept alone.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That crossed my mind too....and keep the goats away from the chicken feed, they can gorge themselves seriously sick on it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For the chickens and keets at the new place, start thinking electric fence. In the world of killing chickens, an electric fence is the great equalizer and changes everything. Goal is going to be to establish a safe zone that nothing but hawks, etc can get to from above. Nothing else is going to enter from the ground. Make it as big or small as you want, but make it.

    If small, most secure version is the electric poultry netting. Will mostly keep the birds in and everything else......including your dogs........out. But that is going to get expensive if you go much larger than 40' square, which is a single section of 164' fence. You can connect as many of these as you like, but keep in mind they run about $175 to $200 each. But two of them would give you a linear perimeter of nearly 350'. To give you and idea on scale, a full acre is 208 feet square.....so even 4 of them would not fence in an acre. But one of them would give you a nice area of about 30' x 50' which for a small flock makes for a good sized and secure playpen.

    For larger area options, a two or three wire electric fence on step in posts can make for a large, secure poultry pasture. Easy to build and much less expensive than the poultry netting. Not as secure as the electric netting, but if done right, it should filter out the vast majority of ground based predators. I have found my birds will go under and over it with ease.....so they can wander out and if they do, they would be fair game. But if they can get back to it, they will be pretty safe.

    Once a varmint or even a dog (yours on another) has experienced the pain a really hot electric fence can deliver, they are going to respect it and not cross that boundary of violent pain they don't understand the source of. But they do understand they pain they feel when they cross it. With no boundary to stop them, why not?

    Aside from that, on a small acreage, electric fences can be used for all the other livestock as well. Horses, the goats, the hog, chickens, dogs......all of them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  9. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A good rooster and having lots of cover (bushes, shrubs, etc..) will lessen predation by hawks but not completely prevent it. Sooner or later, if they truely free-range, hawks will get one or two.
    Only a run with a top will completely prevent them from taking a chickens.

    Having properly acclimated dogs that can patrol the entire area day & night will likely eliminate most 4 legged predators.
    My dog sees our chickens as part of the pack, the only time I have lost a bird was when she was at the kennel while we went away for 4 days.

    Either way, you still need a 5 sided secure run with a lockable coop.
     

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