I was perusing what has, to me, become yet another classic from the Golden Age of Poultry. It's a 1947 promo copy of "Profitable Poultry Management, 25th Anniversary Edition," by Clarence E. Lee The were given away to customers in the N.E. stats by the Beacon Milling Company of Cayuga, NY., and could be had for a small fee outside of that area. It has 262 pages and the more I read, it the more I realize it packs as much wisdom about poultry keeping into it's covers as is found in half a dozen modern books. In the chapter on Range Rearing, Clarence goes into great detail on the methods developed at the time for range rearing poultry. Our notion of "free ranging" is almost laughable compared to the methods developed at the research stations of the northeast during this period. On the matter of predator control here is what Mr. Lee had to say: "We have found two rather successful measures against predatory animals, including dogs, foxes, skunks, etc. First, by the use of a good electric fence with two charged wires, the first at 6-7" and the upper wire 6" above the first, losses from predatory animals on our range facility at the Beacon Poultry Research Farm have been practically eliminated (charging only the lowest wire might be enough). A weasel can theoretically get under this fence, or a large dog jump over the upper wire without touching, but in practice this has apparently not happened. The second method is a spraying program. Damage from foxes and other predators may often be prevented by spraying a mixture of one part turpentine and 20 parts furnace oil, covering a band about 3-4 feet wide around the range perimeter. This will not normally be needed more than once per summer and where foxes are quite bold, a 4 ft. wide band is needed. We have found that with the electric fence, a spraying program is desirable both for it's deterrent effect against predators and to keep vegetation from growing up around the fence and shorting it out, particularly in wet weather. A 50:50 mixture of kerosene and carbolineum (creosote) works well for this, keeping a 3 ft. wide band clear of growth. One spraying per seaon will usually be enough. ** In most localities, it is necessary to install expensive fox-and-dog tight fences, extending two feet below grade and curving outward 2 ft.... or else use the inexpensive electric fence and spraying program above described. Since there is no comparison in the cost of protection of the latter, it is obviously the one that should be adopted." If your predators run on the large side, like bear and wolf, then electric fences of industrial power capacity along with heavy guage, below ground fencing are going to be needed. These beasts are quite resilient and just as determined as any other. But if you face the usual small, chicken killing predators, this information may be of some interest to you. My research to date indicates that most average pens/runs/paddocks can be protected as Mr. Lee suggests for $150 or less, where reliable electical AC power is available. Double that for solar powered systems, if you should choose - or need - to go that route. =================================================================== ** Today, most people would have a howling fit over the use of kerosene and creosote as a weed/grass killer. However, it was considered acceptable practice in 1947 and was recommended on a small scale. I personally doubt there was much long term harm as a result of the practice, but I would be remiss to endorse it in today's "green aware" world. Do what you will with the information. However, the fact remains that it DID offer both predator deterrence AND vegetation abatement in one fell swoop. I don't know what would serve both needs as well today and still be readily available, cheap, effective... and ecologically friendly.