Dealing with preditors
One of the challenges faced by those of us who raise livestock is protecting them from predators. In our area we have a variety of them:
Mountain Lions – These can be a threat to all livestock. Normally they stay away from human settlements, but if their food source is depleted or their hunting is impeded by weather, they will come right into town.
Bears – In most areas they have lost much of their fear of man. I’ve had bears climb my fences and destroy barbecue, raid my trash and rip open cupboards. You can’t stop a bear. Your best bet is to call your state fish and game warden and let them deal with it.
Foxes – We have an abundance of these furry little chicken thieves. We are so overkill on our flock protection methods that they are not even a threat to our flock. If given the chance, they will make a meal out of a chicken. They are very hard to catch in the “Have-A-Heart trap. The best method seems to be to cover the trap with a rug or tarp leaving it open in front of the door. Try baiting it with raw meat and eggs.
Skunks – I trap and shoot every one that comes near our place. If you shoot them, make sure you shoot them in the brain or they will spray. Even if you drop them with the first shot, there is a good chance that it will leak out and stink up the place.
Eagles – They love chicken, duck and turkey. Again we are over kill in our flock protection. The entire twenty seven buy eighty foot run area is covered with very heavy netting. Some of our friends came home to find a golden eagle in their hen house finishing off the last chicken.
We have never lost a bird to a predator. We take our responsibility to protect our livestock very seriously. It makes good financial sense as well. If you think about the number of eggs a hen will produce in her life time.