Thursday, May 23, 2024
Home Farming Tips How To Protect Free-range Chicken

How To Protect Free-range Chicken

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Victoria Nampala Bugembe

In many communities, the free-range system of chicken is the order of the day.

But how safe are the chickens before domestic dogs, cats hawks, and falcons from attack?

Mwanje Yusuf, a veterinary doctor at Bweyogerere says that the actual protection starts with careful planning of the chicken coop site and maintaining the surrounding area is essential. 

“Let the site be free from trees, and flowers which can harbour hawks and owls. It’s also a good practice to keep the surrounding area clear of wreckages, bushes, and tall grass, as these structures give chicken hunters a place to hide and creep up on their prey unknowingly”, he advises.

Maureen Namakula, a Poultry farmer advises that farmers must train the chicken on what time to come back from feeding outside the house as a must.

This can be affected by raising the chicks inside the chicken house to familiarize them with their safe area. Once the birds are inside, close and securely fasten the doors until the following morning.

Solid-sided cages are best because they prevent predators from reaching inside. Make sure to seal up all small holes which might allow rats to gain access.

Farmers can also construct chicken runs around their compounds. There is a need to ensure the constraints are safe by using welded wire mesh with small holes of 1*2 inches that can easily keep predators away.

For predators that fly, farmers can use poultry nettings to discourage attacks on birds while feeding during the day. For those predators capable of digging under the mesh, a farmer can install a wire mesh up to a foot under the ground depending on how aggressively the predator can be.

Avoid attracting or feeding predators in any way possible. Only give chickens what they consume in a typical feeding, and clean up excess frequently. All chicken feed should be stored in air-tight, Odor-free containers, and falls should be kept safely. 

For those with Open compost, the piles should be as far away from the chicken coop as possible, and garbage should be held in secure bins that chickens cannot tamper with.

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