SAVING YOUR FLOCK AGAINST PREDATORS ~
We invest a substantial amount of money, time and love into our farm livestock and that also goes for our chickens. We raise organic poultry and, with the high grain costs, the preventative measures necessary to assure flock health and the time involved to maintain peak environmental cleanliness, it is paramount that we keep our flock safe and alive. The return on our investments would not pencil if we had a high mortality rate for any reason.
We’ve never experienced a loss of any kind in our flock until early this summer when a raccoon found our baby chicks and proceeded to kill approximately ten over the course of three days. To be sure, the building they were in appeared sealed and safe from predators. There was chickenwire to block animal entry. There were barn walls. There were other much larger livestock in the same barn that one would think would stop predator entry.
But, in spite of all our structural reinforcements the raccoons got the chicks. We know it’s raccoons as all predators have their own ‘signature’ if you will, regarding how they kill the animal and what part of the carcass they leave (if any) behind. In this case, the chick carcasses were left with the innards removed with emphasis on the heart area. Feathers, legs, head, etc. was still intact.
These same raccoons soon found the apple trees, peach tree and pear tree and in the course of one night per tree, stripped ALL the fruit bare.
What we came up with to save our chicks has worked extraordinarily well and we have yet to lose another chick since our transition to new digs and fencing.
As you can see in this picture, we 1) moved the chickens near the house and garden where they can roam, 2) built a new coop we are in the process of enclosing that will keep the birds completely inside at night with their perches and nesting boxes, 3) we have enclosed the area the chickens are in with chicken netting electrified with a solar panel, and 4) our puppy Great Pyrenees watches the chickens each day as her first training into livestock guardianship.
We have found this fencing technique to be extraordinarily effective along with convienent and easy. The portability of the fencing and easy install has saved our flock. We have used such electrified fencing for our dairy goats in the past and love it. We ordered chicken fencing right on Amazon.com and had it within a few days. The only difference really with the fencing for goats versus chickens is the size of the square netting so the littlier livestock can’t go through the netting.
We now have four different electrified nets and numerous solar charged panels to engage them. We use these nets to allow our organic goats to rotationally graze, we use them to keep bears out of our bee hives and have never had bears attack our hives though we live deep in bear country, and now we use it to keep raccoons away from our chicks.
We highly recommend this strategy as a key investment for homesteaders who love their livestock and want to keep them safe from roaming predators.
God bless !