Friday, September 7, 2012

Predator Prevention

I have been rather cavalier about protecting my birds. Other than the peafowl, who are locked up all the time (to prevent hordes of wild peafowl from populating my area), the rest of the birds, while penned up, haven't been locked up, nor has their fence been "hot".

However, the other day, counting beaks, I realized that I was missing one, an Australorp. I should have had 3, and only had 2... Just the morning before, I heard a ruckus, but not like death throes, or anything, more like turkeys or the roo chasing an unwilling hen. I didn't check it out. In hindsight, it seems I should have.

Since that day, I've been awakened by coyotes singing every night. I decided to lock them all up at night. They are not amused. Since I had to lock them up to give them shots the week before, they were suspicious at first. They have become more resigned to it, but still would rather be out in the pen on the stock tank (turned over, since 2 tried to be ducks and drowned), or the tipped over feeder (one turkey got stuck in it and couldn't get out until I tipped it over - it's getting moved out of there tomorrow), or on various other high points. With the fence not hot, it's more of a visual deterrent than an actual. I'm using Premier 1 Supplies' Poultry net. With few exceptions, it keeps the birds in once they are close to adult size. When I first put it up, they were still small enough to squeeze through.

Unfortunately, there were several (all of the Buffs, and a couple of others) who persisted in crawling UNDER the fence, and wandering around to their hearts' content. This is what happened to the missing one, I'm sure.

I found her remains yesterday. All that was there was a pile of feathers. Except that it happened at dawn, it looked like a hawk kill. Given the time frame, I'm pretty sure it was an owl. A coyote would have taken her somewhere else to eat.

So, now I'm on a mission to separate the species, get the fences moved and tightened up and install ground rods so I can hook up the plug-in charger. It packs a punch, let me tell you - it's my own accidental electro-shock therapy! I'll hook Tang's pen into it, as well, which means I'll have to put in a cut-out switch so I don't zap myself. I'm in the process of putting together a shelter for the turkeys, present and future. I also would like to fence off the garden with the smaller portions of netting - this will protect the exposed side of the peafowl pen.

I have about 2 months until the designated turkeys fulfill their destiny. I don't want to feed them to non-paying customers!


Leigh said...

Our hawks are bad enough, but coyotes, sheesh. It's the birds that refuse to stay put that are the hardest to protect. Sounds like you've got a good plan; we're getting ready to order electric poultry netting ourselves. Short of imprisoning them, I figure we're going to lose a few here and there in spite of our best efforts. I hope your plan works well.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Sounds like you have your hands full, still! I still need a home for this rooster, I don't want to eat him! He's prolly tough anyway lol