If you farm and/or keep chickens, you know the very real trouble of dealing with predators. In their endless quest for a free, easy meal, wildlife can (and will) attack a beloved hen or decimate a row of carefully tended produce. While we can’t blame these creatures for seeking out food to survive, it’s normal to feel frustrated or even heartbroken when an unexpected animal causes harm on our growing space.
There are different methods for dealing with different predators, each with its own set of pros and cons. And of course securing against predators is the first step in preventing an animal intrusion.
But it’s also endlessly helpful to know what animal you’re dealing with. After an attack, it’s true that various predators leave telltale signs. But you can also know what’s sneaking around before an attack using a scent station.
Scent Station: An Easy ID Concept
What’s a scent station? Well, it’s really just a trap, of sorts, meant to attract predators for easier identification.
Here’s what we do on our farm.
- Rake a dirt area clear of debris for a smooth-as-possible surface. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but try to get it as flat and smooth as possible.
- Put down some regular white flour in a hula-hoop sized circle, starting with the outline then filling it in with flour for a big, flour circle. You can rake this circle of flour to even things out, but ideally the flour will cover all the dirt.
- For step three, we put the “scent” in our scent station to attract animals. I like to just dump a can of wet cat food in the middle of the flour circle.
- This step is optional, but if you have some kind of surveillance camera such as a trail camera or just basic weather-proof security camera, you can set it up to monitor the scent station. In the video above, you’ll see that’s what I did—and I got a lot of answers about the predators on my farm!
Check out the video above to see what our scent station attracted, as well as what you can do to identify the predators on your land using a scent station of your own.