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Predators

October 21, 2010

In factory confinement chicken houses, the biggest cause of mortality (death) is disease. That’s why they continuously feed antibiotics to the chickens, to cover-up unhealthy chickens. In a pastured poultry set-up, chickens are not packed into a tiny space together, and they are also moved to fresh pasture everyday. For us pastured poultry farmers, disease is not so much the problem as predation. Humans are competing with foxes, weasels and even rats for those delicious pastured chickens. So how do we prevent predation?

First, we build obstacles. The chicken tractors (the portable chicken shelters) themselves are covered in chicken wire. We also surround the pasture area with portable electric poultry netting. Basically it is an electric fence that can easily be moved. It’s powered by a solar panel.

Then we also use deterrents. We spray fox urine, a common hunters’ cover scent, around the chicken tractors. This frightens smaller predators, such as weasels and rats, because foxes eat them. The weasel smells the fox urine and runs away thinking he has entered a fox’s territory. We also set up a faux hawk near the chicken tractors. Again, this tricks predators into thinking a larger predator is near, so they do not come close. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina (S.A.V.E.) permalink
    October 24, 2010 5:25 pm

    solar panel = very cool

    • October 24, 2010 11:24 pm

      Thanks!

      Solar is a renewable energy source, and it is also portable, which is why it makes sense for our chickens. Still trying to figure out if we could convince our chickens to run on treadmills and produce energy… ha ha!

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