Most folks find it interesting how we deal with predators at Lucky Glider Ranch. It’s an ongoing battle that’s time-consuming and often expensive. Here’s the highlights:
* Hawks, Eagles and Owls (Oh My). Raptors were decimating our Guinea Fowl and Chicken population until a few months ago when we begrudgingly began to coop the fowl. To make up for the loss of bugs and greens, they get special food prep.
* A pair of Mountain Lions have been prowling the area and attacked our neighbor’s quarter horses. Despite trapping efforts, they are still at large.
* Coyotes are prevalent in Bosque County. Read more here about how we’ve foiled them so far.
* Snakes – yeah lots of snakes. Rat snakes, Corn Snakes, and of course Rattlesnakes. We’re constantly battling them and chasing them out of chicken coops.
We built two chicken houses to protect the fowl from the raptors. First, we dug tranches for concrete footings all around the perimeter of the chicken house. Next, we poured concrete. After this we framed the structure with 2x4s and covered the top with 3/4 inch plywood. All of this was then draped in heavy duty 1-inch square wire. We pre-wired for electricity for fans and heaters. The photo on the left just above here is the one we built in the converted airplane hangar down the hill from the ranch house.
Now that all the chickens are cooped-up we feed them in a special way. They get shredded cabbage, dehydrated mealworms, scratch grains and layer pellets. They need the greens and bugs to stay fit, but that’s a small price to pay to have them laying well.
Snakes are discouraged by the use of ceramic eggs which cannot be digested by the snakes and will often kill them. The fake eggs also encourage the chickens to lay more real eggs!
To foil the lions and coyotes, we employ a “surround” technique with our cross-fencing. Here in the photo, the fence team from LE Fence is draping no-climb sheep and goat panels over T-posts. This is done in concentric rings with the donkeys on one side, completely surrounding the smaller animals on the “inside” of the perimeter. No way any mountain lions or coyotes want to run the gamut through donkeys to get to that second fence line…
Donkeys are well-known as “Guard Animals” and they will work as a team to chase down and kill wolves and coyotes.