We live in Hills and have chickens for eggs. Living in a rural area set into the wilderness, we have both black and grizzly bears around our property from time to time, but there’s been no need to kill them.
Three reasons for this: first, a stout predator-proof building for a chicken coop; second, a 10-foot high fence around the coop and chicken-yard; and third, an electric fence consisting of four strands of wire around the perimeter hooked to a 6,000-volt charger.
The occasional bear has tested the system and received a jolt of pain for its efforts. Any bears we see wandering too close to the house or coop get a bear banger (noisemaker) shot over their heads.
Your recent article “Grizzly slaughter highlights bear unawareness…” mentions that bears were “ripping into ducks, turkeys and chickens.” Let’s ask this: how were the bears getting at those animals?
Most likely guess: fowl kept in inadequate, poorly-built, dilapidated structures with rickety fences and without electric fencing protecting the perimeter.
Did you know that you can be ticketed for providing unsecured bear attractants?
The Wildlife Act was recently amended so there is a $230 ticket for negligence or carelessness regarding the mismanagement of attractants on your property (such as improperly stored garbage or improperly secured animals).
Education and awareness-building is the first step but thereafter those who don’t secure their farm animals should be ticketed.
Another consideration: requiring the services of the Conservation Officer to come and shoot bears costs taxpayers thousands of dollars. Just the cost to us taxpayers of the CO trying to deal with the family of grizzlies that developed a taste for fowl in the Arrow Park/Burton/Brouse area would have bought a lot of electric fencing for chicken runs – electric fences that would have prevented the loss of livestock and likely saved the bears’ lives.
A note for those considering backyard chickens to provide delicious eggs: consider that the cost of getting chickens will include building a sturdy structure for a coop and installing a clearly signed and well-maintained electric fence around your chicken run.
This will address Mayor Hamling’s concern about bears potentially being attracted into town by backyard chickens. Bears learn very quickly that while chickens might smell tasty, a jolt of electricity feels bad.
While on this topic, remember that garbage must be stored in a secure shed/garage or in a bear-proof container. If you attract a bear to your yard through your carelessness it can end very badly for the bear.
Having bears in our midst comes with the privilege of living in such a beautiful area, where we fortunately still have a connection to the natural world.
Respectful coexistence is possible. Electric fencing is necessary for all livestock – the hardware store in Nakusp carries or can order the items needed.
Fowlty Towers Artisan Eggs,