Discouraging Wild Birds from Free-Range Farms

AUSTRALIA - A survey of free-range broiler farms highlights ways to discourage wild birds.
calendar icon 2 March 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The issue of wild birds on free-range broiler farms was addressed at the Australian Veterinary Poultry Association (AVPA) conference in Sydney in February, reports the latest E-Chook newsletter from Poultry CRC.

Free-range broilers
Photo: Bruce Remington

Dr Bruce Remington gave a presentation about the survey that was conducted on Free Range Egg and Poultry Australia Ltd (FREPA) broiler farms in southern Victoria and south-east Queensland.

The number of free-range broiler chickens processed each week is 620,000 (32 million per year) compared with 2.7 million free-range egg layers in production at any one time.

The survey was conducted on eight farms.

The numbers of wild birds recorded as landing on the range of broiler farms was recorded although some producers reported birds flying over in close proximity to the farms. The number of birds was surprisingly low. The species most commonly recorded were willie wagtails, mynahs, magpies and swallows, pigeons (on two farms with fewer than five recorded for one or two months), ibis (one farm, fewer than five for two weeks), parrots (one farm, fewer than ten for less than one month).

The main things that discourage the presence of wild birds on free-range broiler ranges are:

  • no feed on the range
  • no water on the range
  • no shelter on the range
  • keep grass short so that there is no seed or cover
  • fencing around the range area, and
  • human activity.
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