Tag Archives: Ducks

How to protect chickens from foxes

This is a great article by Andy Blackmore and I thougbht would prove useful for all us poultry keepers!  You can read more of Andy’s great blogs HERE

Know your enemy: Mr Fox makes a wily opponent for those new to poultry keeping (Picture: Getty)
Know your enemy: Mr Fox makes a wily opponent for those new to poultry keeping

Even if you’ve decided that keeping urban chickens is not for you it’s a fair bet you will encounter their nemesis – the fox. The first thing that says you are the subject of unwanted fox attention is the disagreeable smell – a sharp choking musty aroma – an unpleasant amalgam of musk, blocked drains and stale urine.

Foxes are wily adversaries of those inexperienced in keeping poultry. And any small mistake will be punished unmercifully – so let’s take it as red that your coop or hutch is sturdy, strong and perhaps has even been sold to you as fox proof.

Even so you might want to consider a little help in skewing things further in your favour  – so here are a few suggestions.

Electric fencing: Foxes check everything with their noses first so it shouldn’t take too many shocking encounters for them to get the message. While being the most obvious solution it can seem quite expensive – but worth it to protect both your investment and your feathered friends.

Light and sound: Leaving a radio on in the coop overnight can be very effective simply because a fox would generally prefer not to be in the presence of humans and simple lighting arrays that mimic the eyes of another predator like the Nite Guard Solar can also work wonders.

Sonic repellents: They do work but you get what you pay for and as they start at around £20. But remember these will be audible to dogs; so opt for models that only sound when they detect a threat and not one on all day – or you could send your pets barking mad.

Chemical repellents: There are a couple on the market but Scoop is widely acclaimed as the most effective product of its type on the market. It’s totally safe for use in gardens, near chickens, on plants and edible crops and is humane, bio-degradable and very effective.

Scent marking: Most of us won’t have access to Lion dung (as used by one well known comedian to protect his brood) but we have the next best thing – for free. This involves directly mimicking the territorial behaviour of a fox by the application of male urine to your boundaries – I’ll leave issues of supply and demand to your imagination. However, if that’s too much for you, consider using human hair (male works best), either your own after a cut or try asking at your local barbers. Stuff some into a pair of old tights and hang around the margins of your garden – good luck.

Source: http://metro.co.uk/2013/06/11/pet-blog-how-to-protect-chickens-from-foxes-3836084/

A Chicken Poll

Moby Duck

Sometimes wildlife can show us in startling ways, the damage we are doing to the planet.  And sometimes it’s enough to make us stop and think seriously about the legacy we are leaving future generations.  And in this story, the humble duck does just that.  But this duck is made of plastic!

In 1992, a shipping container filled with rubber ducks was lost at sea, and the yellow plastic ducks are still washing ashore today, 21 years later!  The crate containing 28,000 plastic bath toys was lost at sea when it fell overboard on its way from Hong Kong to the United States.  And today that flotilla of plastic ducks is being hailed for revolutionizing our understanding of ocean currents, as well as for teaching us a thing or two about plastic pollution in the process, according to the Independent.

Since being erroneously ejected to the gaping maw of the sea that fabled day in 1992, the yellow ducks have managed to float halfway around the world. Some have washed up on the shores of Hawaii, Alaska, South America, Australia and the Pacific Northwest; others have been found frozen in Arctic ice. And still others have somehow made their way as far as Scotland and Newfoundland, in the Atlantic.

These charming, benign and almost innocent rubber duckies have even been christened the “Friendly Floatees,” by the devoted followers who have tracked their progress over the years.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer and Floatee enthusiast tracks their progess all over the world, “I have a website that people use to send me pictures of the ducks they find on beaches all over the world.  I’m able to tell quickly if they are from this batch. I’ve had one from the UK which I believe is genuine. A photograph of it was sent to me by a woman judge in Scotland.”

This map below shows the extent of the ducks travels so far.  Quite a trip!

But, undoubtedly the most famous of these Floatees are the 2,000 that still circulate in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vortex of currents which stretches between Japan, southeast Alaska, Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands.

“We always knew that this gyre existed. But until the ducks came along, we didn’t know how long it took to complete a circuit.  It was like knowing that a planet is in the solar system but not being able to say how long it takes to orbit. Well, now we know exactly how long it takes: about three years,” said Curtis Ebbesmeyer.

Today the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch is a massive island of floating debris, mostly plastic, that the gyre constantly churns and stirs in a large cauldron of waste. (this short documentary about the gyre paints a pretty grim picture.) Although considered trash, the rubber ducks have inadvertently helped raise awareness about the Garbage Patch, an area that contains a soup of tiny plastic fragments and chemical sludge, and just about any other manmade detritus.

Some of the trash got there the same way the rubber duckies did, via lost shipping crates. Though no one knows exactly how many shipping containers are lost at sea every year, oceanographers put the figure at anything from several hundred to 10,000 a year, a startling estimate, though still only a tiny part of a global trash problem.

“I’ve heard tales of containers getting lost that are full of those big plastic bags that dry cleaners use,” said Donovan Hohn, an author of a book called “Moby-Duck,” which immortalizes the journey of the 28,000 rubber duckies. “I’ve also heard of crates full of cigarettes going overboard, which of course end up having their butts ingested by marine animals. In fact, one of the endnotes in my book lists the contents of a dead whale’s belly: it was full of trash. Plastic pollution is a real problem.”

Today we know that there are as many as 11 major gyres across the world’s oceans, and all of them are potential vestibules for the world’s trash. And if the Friendly Floatees are an example for anything, it’s that plastic trash endures for a very long time and that it’s a global issue.

“The ones washing up in Alaska after 19 years are still in pretty good shape,” added Ebbesmeyer.

That is not a good sign!