Trapping and relocating, unless done by a licensed professional, is actually rather cruel and can cause more harm than good, both to the animal and to the greater environment. Here are a few of the reasons that trapping and relocating is a bad idea:
- It’s ineffective. Another animal of the same species will likely claim the territory left behind by the animal you removed. Some species will attempt to return to their home and familiar territory, dying either by traffic or predators along the way.
- Who did you move? There are no guarantees that you are trapping the animal that has attacked your flock.
- Trapping and relocating can cause injuries. The trapped animal may sustain minor to major injuries, potentially broken bones, claws, wings or teeth in an attempt to escape the trap, not to mention that you may sustain injuries in attempting to handle the animal yourself.
- Trapping creates orphans. If the animal you capture is a mother with a nest or den nearby, her offspring will starve and die when she doesn’t return.
- Relocation causes starvation. Relocated animals do not know where sources of food and water are, resulting in some cases of starvation and eventually death.
- Relocation disrupts existing wildlife. Wild animals don’t just settle in and make new friends wherever they end up. A new animal that has appeared on another animal’s turf will spark territory disputes in which one or more animals will likely sustain injuries or death.
- It spreads disease. If the animal you capture is ill, relocating it may spread disease.
The most compelling argument against trapping and relocating wild animals is that it simply doesn’t work. Territorial holes left in the ecosystem will be filled by another animal of that species. If you don’t remove or remedy what is attracting the animal in the first place, wild animals will continue to show up and make attempts on your flock.
If that’s not incentive enough, trapping and relocating wildlife without a license is illegal in many states. Trapping some species, including protected birds of prey, could result in hefty fines and jail time. Trapping and relocating should only be conducted by trained professionals who are well-versed on the individual species, its mating habits and the animals’ behavior during that time of year. These wildlife professionals are meticulous about how they reintegrate the relocated animals, which requires skill and training that most of us don’t have. Contact your county extension office for guidance finding a wildlife expert to assist you. The laws differ state by state, so be sure to do your research before taking action.
Remember, the best way to protect your flock from unwanted advances by local wildlife is to take the protective measures. A solid defense of your coop and flock’s space is better than an aggressive offense. Batten down the hatches at home and leave the wildlife alone.
This article first appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of Chickens magazine.