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Which chicken predators do i need to worry about in Southern California?

 
dan long
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Moving to SoCal eventually. I want chickens to rotate through to eat orchard pests under the fruit trees and mulch pests in the annual garden. I don't know what kind of predators exist in SoCal SPECIFICALLY.

They must be good foragers. I don't plan to feed them. They will "work for food".

Combination meat/egg chickens. Guinea fowl are attractive candidates but i hear they don't take good care of their young. Poultry must sustain their own population.

Do i have to worry about flying, crawling or slithering predators? Big or small? What kind of measures must be taken to protect the poultry?

 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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SoCal is a large region. Many distinct habitats.
Even in suburbia,where mankind has expanded into what was once natural habitat, many of the predators have adapted, and even thrive. A dog or cat bowl left on the patio is like a magnet for coyotes, racoons, skunks, possums and others whose natural food supply has been displaced.

There are many multi-million dollar homes surrounded by rattlesnake havens.

The birds of prey are generally not a problem for adult chickens, but chicks are just about bite sized, hence prime targets if left outside without protective cover.
Having a good rooster is just about as important as having a good fence. Nature designed them to be the Gladiators of the flock.

 
dan long
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Very helpful, John. And a good start as to what i need to begin thinking about keeping out. I have 8 pet dogs that can probably discourage possums, skunks, and racoons just from their presence and any fence that will keep them in will probably keep coyotes out. I will do some research about what you said about roosters. Hopefully i can find a place far away enough from neighbors that I don't have to deal with their b*****ing.

Rattlesnakes are the one thing i'm not sure about. There are common sense solutions like simply not leaving out rock or lumber piles but I have never even heard of snake-proof fencing. I am very concerned about snakes because the dogs are kinda stupid but beloved. My wife would lose her **** if a snake bit and killed one of her babies.
 
Bev Huth
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Location: AR, USA
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I'd suggest a batam breed simply because they are smaller, lighter birds and, can and, will more readily take to tree limbs to roost at night and, to avoid predators.

 
dan long
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Bev Huth wrote:I'd suggest a batam breed simply because they are smaller, lighter birds and, can and, will more readily take to tree limbs to roost at night and, to avoid predators.



Only problem i have with a light breed is that they will be easier for aerial predators to carry off even when full grown and that I hope to be able to keep them where they are needed and nowhere else. For instance in the annual garden once or twice a year to break pest cycles or in the orchard to forage/ limit pest populations. I would not want them flapping their way over the fence into the annual garden when the tomatoes are ripening or hopping out of the paddocks and into the open area to "play" with the dogs.

Regarding roosters, unless i just happen to have "that kind" of neighbor, I will REALLY irritate my neighbors by waking them up at the crack of dawn via rooster. While I would like to be living as far away from the city as is practical, there is nowhere in SoCal that doesn't have neighbors. Truth be told, i would rather stay in PNW Washington but it's not up to me...
 
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