Farm Update April 2012

It's been a rough winter here on our chicken fam. We lost over 70 birds mostly to weasels and mostly in just two days. Most of our 2012 replacer flock is gone and our late season 2012 chick order was delayed. We did get an interim batch of Leghorns.

Here's an interesting comment thread from You Tube that brings out some point that probably should have been in the video.

@TradionallySouthern Wrote:

That's a real shame to lose chickens because of lousy housing for them. Why don't you purchase some real heavy gauge wire and cover those wooden buildings? Or better yet, build some new more protective housing?

This should really be a no-brainer. The things is -- over the years we have taken major steps to prevent predators. They are much better at finding dinner than we are at stopping them. I look at it this way: They (collectively) have 24 hours a day to find a way to eat. I have much less time to try and stop them. Any given day there are numerous predator, night and day, eying our birds.

Here is my reply:

Wire, 4" thick wood, and concrete only slow them down. Before this our biggest single-day loss was 18 chicks. They were locked in the barn which is built from concrete block. They tunneled in through the bathroom floor. I've had many long conversations with many old farmers. Dealing with predators is an odds game. You do what's affordable and hope for the best. We can afford maybe $1,000 or $2,000 or so a year on predator prevention. Through the years most predator loss, by far, has been in the field. In-coop deaths were extremely rare so most of our anti predator investment has gone out there. Our coops are airtight from raccoons and fox. This is very unusual behavior for weasels (I'm told) but not unheard of. I've also been told that patching the holes may have caused the big kills by causing predator panic. Rather than taking one and leaving they panicked and killed 40. Not sure I buy that but it does fit the circumstances.

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