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Moving to NY - new predators including bears!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by itsy, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. itsy

    itsy Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    Hey peeps! My DBF and I are moving to the Catskill area of New York in about a month. We're taking 8 or 9 chickens, our rabbit, dog, horse and several other house pets. This place doesn't have a chicken coop, so we'll be building a new one. It's going to be a great living situation for us, but a big location change. It will be slightly more remote than what we're used to, but we're looking forward to being so close to the northern nature.

    Here's the hitch: There are bears in the area. The couple we'll be renting the house from live in another house on the property. They said that they'd be happy if we brought chickens, but to be aware that they've seen both a bear and several coyotes in their yard. They also have a neighbord who had a flock destroyed by mink. Oddly enough - not so much a raccoon problem there!

    Anyone have any tips for us? The idea of the bears makes me nervous - that I wouldn't even want to let our mini schnauzer out unattended in the fenced in yard. How am I going to let my chickens free range?

    On one side of the property is a corn field. The other side is a huge rocky dropoff (that's able to be hiked) that goes into a forrest where there's also a stream. Seems if I were a predator - I'd want to live there! If anyone has any helpful hints, I'd appreciate it! [​IMG]

  2. Capvin

    Capvin Songster

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    I can assure you that there is only one way to deter a bear and that is with an electric fence. Without that yu are going to have bears dining on your chickens in no time. If you decide to construct an electric fence the best one for bears is a five strand with 3 hot and 2 ground. We have bears here all the time in addition to bobcat, raccoon, etc. and have not yet had a problem because we have our entire coop and run surrounded by a five strand electric fence.
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I'm in NY too-- a bear tore several doors off of my neighbor's shed two weeks ago to get at her guinea fowl. Caused several hundred dollars worth of damage to her shed, not to mention the heartbreak and cost of losing her birds.

    I'm afraid the only thing that deters a bear is a good pop from an electric fence when he/she comes snufflin' around! We invested in a higher end solar unit and it's already paid for itself a few times...

    Also, just in case-- be aware that in NY state you may shoot a bear if it is actively damaging your livestock: "Any bear killing or harassing livestock or destroying an apiary may be taken at any time. The landowner must promptly notify the nearest environmental conservation officer and make arrangements to deliver the carcass of the bear."


    Good luck to you! It is a beautiful area.
  4. mrpekinduck

    mrpekinduck Songster

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ducky Land!
    Get a BIG gun and some hot and electric wires and some barbed wire! [​IMG]
  5. itsy

    itsy Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    Darn - I knew you guys were going to say to make it hot.

    Guns are a good idea, but they might rattle my live on property landlords. They have opposed to meat chickens, so I'm going to have to give them up for the move. ::sigh:: They said I could do quail, though (for eggs). I wonder if they would mind if the quail disappeared now and then? They said no to any type of meat slaughter on the property. They are vegetarian!

    My boyfriend has his bow, but I doubt that's going to do much for us!
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    First of all where are you going in the Catskills? Bears aren't the problem in most areas. The worst predators around here are neighborhood dogs.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  7. itsy

    itsy Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    We're going to be basically on the border of Catskill Park.

    I'd be happy to not worry about bears, but they've seen one in the yard and going by the NY government sites - there are estimated 2000 in the Catskill range.

    You're right though about the roaming dogs! They said that there's an akita who wanders in and out and a beagle. It really ticks me off to have wandering dogs around - not only because of the chickens, but if I'm walking my dog (ALWAYS ON A LEASH) then I shouldn't have to worry about unpredictable wandering dogs who may be dog aggressive. I had a run in with an aggressive unleashed dog in a park a few years ago and I'd like to not relive that scene.

    Either way - I'll have to prepare for the predators. We were talking today about hot fencing. I wish the landlord was more gun friendly, but some people can't be convinced on them. There have got to be some other weapons I can use that "sound" better than a gun. Would a BB gun stun a dog enough to make them leave? Am I allowed to shoot something with a flare gun? I suppose the bow would work, but that's a pain in the neck.

  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Would a BB gun stun a dog enough to make them leave?

    Am I allowed to shoot something with a flare gun?

    A BB or pellet gun is better than nothing

    A flare gun is worthless for protection as well as being a fire hazard

    Your best option is still a good electric fence.​
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  9. chickendude

    chickendude Songster

    Jun 4, 2009
    Dutchess County NY
    Quote:Electric fence is the answer. We have never had the bears do any damage to our coops. In the 11 years at my house, we have had many many bears on the property. One bear was so bad that it litterally chased my wife and her friend across our lawn. It had a green tag on it and DEC was notified and gave me a permit to shoot him with rubber buckshot. He was a large male with a past history of trouble.

    That sucks about the meat birds, do these people have a problem with you barbaquing or keeping meat in your freezer? Seems a bit odd that they would restrict you like that. I mean it's not like it would be a commercial processing plant. [​IMG]
  10. nikkij

    nikkij Hatching

    Sep 21, 2011
    Quote:I live in Dutchess County, not too far from the Catskills.

    We had electric fencing, but because of the way our property works, the solar panel didn't absorb enough and so it stopped working. The fencing went around our entire property, but not on the "in between" borders between horse paddocks and our backyard, garden, and other areas.

    However, the fact that it worked for the first month and a half has deterred not only my own horses, but deer and any other large mammals in our area. We're pretty much the only property in our area without a serious deer problem, which is nice. (Besides, if you're making fencing that's good enough for a horse, it's not much more effort to set a string of electric fencing alongside- we have woven wire, a top board, and a line of electric fencing that no longer works- and my nutso draft cross, crabby pony, local wildlife, and my dogs all respect it).

    I've worked in areas with black bears (at the ass end of West Point, to be exact) and so long as your chickens are shut in each night, they're safe. The "wild north" has enough space that once you start populating, most wild animals will back off (particularly if you situate your coop close to your house- which helps heat the coop and discourage wildlife). I farm-sat for family friends for years, and their rabbits and chickens were fine, even though we were in prime black bear territory. Our main problem was a horse who hated cows, chickens, rabbits, squirrels... he'd stomp about anything, if he could. :)

    That said, foxes, coyotes and hawks are much more common problems- especially because they don't mind you building up your fencing/populating your land. The usual sort of precautions will work with them. Also, check out your local hunt club- if they ride across or near your land, they might help you feed your foxes, so they're not interested in your chickens (and so they're there for the hunt, of course).

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