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Protecting Chickens from Aerial Predators: Guinea Fowl or Geese?

After losing some of our hens this year to wild predators like hawks and raccoons, I wanted to find ways to prevent or minimize fowl losses in the Monsoon’s deep litter system.

Because we will be getting new Turken chicks soon, I was thinking of demonstrating a system where either Guinea fowl or a goose would protect the flock against aerial predators (and maybe even scare off terrestrial predators too).

The research I did highly recommended these birds - when raised with the chicks as hatchlings - because of their natural defense instincts and loud warning calls; though, they do have a tendency to be aggressive toward people and can fly over the chicken fence. Some other options are scarecrows, plastic owls, noises, and lights.

I am not sure what option is the most practical and/or effective for this context, or if a guard goose or guard Guinea fowl is even worth investing in.

What would you recommend? Have you had experience with this system before? What are some ways small-holder farmers protect and preserve their flock against birds of prey?

I have little experience in raising farm fowl and would greatly appreciate any feedback you have to share. Thank you!

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I wonder if trained! dogs would work well. :dog2:

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I have read that pigeon pea can be planted and the hens can forage under it or if you want them to move out further make double rows as runs for them to move under. Also for smaller areas fishing lines in a grid can confuse overhead predators. They often can not see them. Also, I read about a dog trained to move with guinea fowl and it worked to protect them.

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I agree! I believe they would work well too, though we cannot have a dog on site. I know someone whose little fluffy dog guards his peahen and her eggs during the night when raccoons get too close. Because of the dog, he now has 7+ peacocks on his land. Amazing!

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That’s really interesting…so the pigeon pea acts as a shelter the hens can hide under? That’s cool that the fishing lines confuse the overhead predators, I didn’t realize they could help in that way.

Pigeon peas can be a shelter and they can also be a “run” connecting two foraging places if you plant them in at least a double row. Fishing line works for aerial predators. They get confused by it since they can not see it and even tangled in it. I have also heard that dying your fowl an off-color will help keep predators away since they generally will not attack them if they are blue or purple or a color that they don’t recognize as prey.