NH Fish and Game urges poultry owners to consider electric fencing
CONCORD — As more New Hampshire residents raise chickens in their backyards, an increasing number of wildlife species are recognizing unprotected poultry as an easy food source, but N.H. Fish and Game said there are ways people can better protect their poultry.
"Fish and Game strongly recommends that the public take a responsible approach to protecting their chickens and other livestock, one that is beneficial to both the state’s wildlife and a homeowner’s property and resources," Andrew Timmins, N.H. Fish and Game Department’s Bear Project Leader, said.
He said every summer more and more bears and other animals are killed by homeowners protecting poultry and other livestock. Wildlife predators are readily tempted by easy and high-quality foods, which include chickens and poultry grain, and in New Hampshire, many chickens are free-ranging or insecurely housed, leaving them vulnerable to predators.
"This does not represent a sustainable approach to managing our wildlife resources," he said. "If poultry and livestock owners were willing to take proactive precautions to protect their investment, there would be no need to remove a potential threat through trapping or lethal means."
Conservation Officers said electric fencing is the most effective means of keeping bears and other wildlife out of chicken coops and other areas where livestock are contained. A properly constructed electric fence will typically prevent coop entry by bears and other wildlife.
"Electric poultry (and bee) fence packages are readily available from a variety of stores and distributors in New Hampshire." Timmons said. "If properly maintained, this equipment will last many years thereby making the financial investment a very reasonable one."
Officials said electric fencing represents a lasting solution to wildlife conflicts, as it will protect livestock for years to come.
Click here to learn more about protecting chickens and livestock with electric fences.