reply to post by nake13
my point was that we have the capacity, as individuals, to rationalise our relationship with the natural world
It depends on what you consider rationalization.
In an earlier post, you suggested we are able to "tweak" nature; that simply is not possible. That is arrogance. It is the attempted "tweaking" of
nature, or perhaps it could be considered "rationalizing" nature, that has led to the decay of the inner cities.
Nature decrees two basic principles: nothing is ever wasted and everything attempts to survive. Those two principles can never be broken, no matter
how deeply one contemplates their relationship with nature. If I place food out for an animal, that food will not be wasted; it will be eaten by
something. That something will be whatever is best suited to be able to eat it, and in the world of predator/prey, that means the animal that is the
strongest, the fastest, or the smartest.
I choose to ensure that my chickens are kept secure, both by building a suitable enclosure for them and by putting out dog food and water for
What you have done may work now, but the side effect is that the foxes are now attracted to your place. That is their feeding ground, and they will
continue to come there to feed. They are not appreciative of the food you put out; they are simply taking advantage of free food. The more a predator
eats, the better that predator can reproduce, so soon you will have a population explosion of foxes. All of those foxes are going to be hungry too,
and since your place is their feeding ground, they will be looking for food there.
This does not include other predators that will find the food as well. Weasels, possums, dogs from the neighborhood, coyotes... all of them want to
eat too, and since food is available at your place, they will begin to eat there as soon as they find it. That food is an open invitation for as many
predators as can possibly find it. You might even pick up a bobcat or cougar before all is said and done.
Now, what do you think will happen as the predator population increases and the food supply is kept steady? The predators will be hungry again. But
that's not a problem for them, because there's more food there: your chickens. It may be a little more work to get through the wire, but sooner or
later it will happen, and you will no longer have chickens. You will still have foxes, though, probably for years to come.
My neighbor used to have a commercial chicken house a half-mile from me. It took about six months of operation before the coyotes moved in. I can't
say they weren't here before, but we hadn't seen them before. They were drawn to his chicken house, and we had to kill quite a few coyotes as they
were killing other domestic animals... including some of the smaller pet dogs around. The chicken house is long gone now (the poor guy died a while
back), but we still have quite a few coyotes around.
My chickens are well-fenced, but they still manage to break out now and then. So far we have not lost a single one to predators (knock on wood!), but
I attribute that to the two dogs and me with a gun. We also have rabbits, a goat, and a sheep. Coyotes can kill any one of those (although I think the
goat would be a challenge), and thus I kill every coyote that shows up. The ones who stay away get to live.
The foxes I know of live a little ways down the mountain. They have never bothered the chickens, probably because of the dogs, and thus there is no
reason to hurt them. Possums are killed whenever they show up; they are extremely destructive, potentially dangerous, and one of the prime carriers of
rabies in this area. Coons are left alone as long as they leave us alone, and the dogs, again, see that they leave us alone.
Should we have an animal get sick and die, we make a special effort to haul the dead animal up to the top of the mountain, far away from our place.
Why? Because something is going to eat it, and we don't want that something to get the idea that our place is a feeding ground. That way it doesn't
try to eat our animals and we don't have to kill it. It's the same reason zoos have "Do Not Feed The Animals" signs up; they're not there because
the zoos are just afraid of what we'll feed them. They're there because people feeding predators teaches the predators that people equal feeding
time, and sooner or later someone without food to appease them will become food. That's rationalizing nature... understanding how nature really works
and living within those rules. Not trying to change the rules nature follows because we don't like how they work.
Our way works, and has worked since people have lived here. Your way has worked since you had chickens. Good luck; you will need all the luck you can