I just can't stand it!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rancher hicks, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

    467
    66
    88
    May 23, 2016
    New Hampshire
    Just seeing this thread now, and I have to agree with the original poster. It's extremely frustrating seeing posts where people talk about how often they lose birds (chickens, ducks etc) and yet they never provided adequate predator proofing initially, and fail to upgrade even after attacks. Makes you bang your head on your keyboard.
    I feel the exact same way about people who get ANY kind of pet but do not have the means to provide proper veterinary care. They post on social media "Help! My (dog, cat, bunny, duck) is sick!" And when you say "Take them to a vet" their answer is "I don't have the money/transportation/no exotic vets in my area", etc.
    Well, if you know you have limited means, have no reliable transportation or there is no vet nearby who can treat your specific pet - then don't you think you really ought to reconsider getting that pet to begin with?
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,050
    2,791
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    More proactive approach needed for most where more is invested in denying predators access. Many still take reactionary approach where killing predator is response to predator taking birds with little or no effort made to simply improve the locations a flock is kept. This means that over time birds need to be lost to indicate predator visiting before reaction taken.
     
  3. Millworker26

    Millworker26 Out Of The Brooder

    87
    3
    21
    Jun 25, 2016
    SE PA
    Really? Maybe they are just new at owning chickens, learning first hand that it is more difficult than they ever thought. Seems like most people on here approach the problem with a dual approach of securing chicken enclosure and removing predators. Seems like a reasonable approach to me. Can't recall any posts where someone was only trying to remove all predators from their environment. And if someone did propose that as a solution this forum would quickly convince them why that's not a good idea.

    But I suppose there are some that never learn from their mistakes, I chose to believe that is the minority of cases.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,050
    2,791
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have been watching pattern on this site for years. Those investing on front side with respect to repelling predators are not as evident in predator discussion forum because it does not appear to be a major concern. The newer parties do tend to be reactive in very much the pattern indicated by the OP where they report losses but are slow to respond in any manner, at least in a manner that is effective. A subset of those react as I indicate where you can find evidence in support of by spending more time looking. Those folks tend to have a high turnover rate in that they do not stay in poultry very long because of the perceived difficulties of controlling depredation.


    Many employ methods that totally useless such as scarecrows. Others do not invest effort in making accurate ID on predator species. Both also delay control over problem.
     
  5. bantamrooster

    bantamrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    163
    26
    83
    Apr 13, 2014

    What have you found to be most effective in repelling predators?
    What methods have you found to be useless.

    Curious about all predators but main issues here are with foxes and owls.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,050
    2,791
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri


    Following is based on direct observations. I can go months or years between sightings on property then they can come in very regularly for a while.

    Red Fox
    Hunts around the clock and appears to have an established route that consistent patrols
    You can smell even when they just pass through
    Will hunt with you present once it gets on the trail of a victim which can get into trouble if you have dogs
    Does not respect human urine
    Does not respect dog urine
    May respect Coyote urine
    Will not visit when Coyote pack nearby
    Can be beat by well positioned hotwires
    Can be beat with electrified poultry netting
    Good hard chase by a dog will keep it away for months
    Dogs can catch and kill them more often than you think possible
    Can run fast but not faster than a dog in a straight line. Will use fences and tight turns to evade dog but two smart dog can defeat those options
    Cannot out run a dog when carrying even a 3-lb chicken
    May follow Great Horned Owl that knocks chickens off roost to go after birds owl ignore or even scavenge (in fall both can come in a single night with fox only minutes behind owl)
    Has a hard time killing larger birds which can get into trouble if you have dogs
    My games chickens as adults are almost immune to these guys except when defending offspring.
    Will work pen perimters to worry a chicken into corner or edge where it will pull bird through so I will move pens together when fox working area
    Digs but not when dogs present
    Has yet to chew through wire like Raccoons, Oppossums and even domestic dogs are prone to do
    Not all Red Foxes go after chickens. A few years back we had one that hunted for rodents within site of free-range chickens without incident. Fox from other direction not friends with first would.


    Grey Fox
    I have almost not experience with these although dogs did get into one a year or so ago when persimmons in fruit
    Does not range as much as Red Fox


    Great Horned Owl
    Here comes first for rodents / rabbits with chickens being targets of opportunity
    Eats head and neck plus able to do so within a couple of minutes
    Will start with a 4.5-lb live weight chicken with 3 or four nights of repeated meals before small enough to carry off
    Can carry at most about 2 lbs and must drag carcass in to tree to launch.
    Drives larger targets off roost and grapples them on ground, often drives multiple from roost then picks one
    Somehow it drives victims from perch without actually contacting them
    Will go after adults but selectively harvest smaller chickens and will even pull chicks from under wings of hens.
    Very predictable in terms of when visits each night.
    Will follow me around as I do chores in near dark conditions
    Will come in quickly when chickens disturbed
    Will stare at dogs only 10 feet below but will fly when I am also present
    Difficult to remove when entangled in netting (bites and strikes with talons)
    Will hunt from ground
    Does not respect scarecrows
    Can be stopped with bird netting and seems to not even want to walk near it
    Can bluff most dogs when on ground, except Scoob
    Close call with dog does scare them off for weeks
    Can reach chickens within 6" of a 2 x 4 welded wire panel but stopped by chicken wire unless chicken roosting tight against it
    Hard to stop with hotwire actually attached to coop
    Not real smart about very clean windows

    Barred Owl
    Targets chicks and I have never had one go after adults
    Seems to come only on very dark nights when GHO's not around.
    During winter eruptions of Short-eared Owls the Barred owls get stupid taking more risks hunting
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    8,371
    3,198
    436
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I don't repel predators so much as deny them opportunities. My only fox experience was a few years ago, early spring, with a very sick mangy fox who killed ten nice hens one afternoon. He was seen in action by a nearby carpenter, who DID NOTHING to notify us! The birds were free ranging at the time. He came back the next day to pick up a hidden carcass,; we saw him but couldn't get a clear shot. He didn't trap, but a neighbor 1/2 miles away shot him the following week. My birds are locked in a very safe coop and run every night, and are in if there's any issue, as with a hawk visitation. Not food or treats are ever outside of the coop or run. If it looks like a predator has been visiting (tracks, scratch marks on coop walls) the live traps are out and varmits dispatched. It's been very peaceful here! I have dogs, fenced away from the flock, but nearby. The local coyote families haven't been a problem either. Mary
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,050
    2,791
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My setup has chickens dispersed with some, especially broody hens and juveniles free-range during the growing season. Dispersing helps with feed bill and social issues associated with game hens. This makes requirement for free-range dogs overlapping chickens even when latter roost / nest on ground. The dogs are handily the most expensive part of my highly integrated predator management that is effectively arranged in layers. I also make quick adjustments when I suspect a predator is probing. A spot light always at ready is used each night where most components of poultry yard are arranged to be withing line of site from front porch.
     
  9. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

    467
    66
    88
    May 23, 2016
    New Hampshire
    I only have ducks who are in a large fenced in yard during the day with a complete tree canopy overhead so they can't be seen by hawks. They are locked into their large pen at night which is a 5x15' chain link dog pen with a solid roof and the whole thing is wrapped in 1/4" hardware cloth which is skirted out 2 feet and covered in paving stones and bark mulch. It's a fortress.
     
  10. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    17,624
    768
    416
    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I haven't been following this as I know there are some who disagree with my point of view. I didn't realize I'd catch so much flack. For that I am sorry.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by