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Bear Buzz - July 9, 2014

A hungry bear is finding garbage and chicken coops on Maple Avenue irresistible and is damaging properties and frightening residents in this area.

Chicken coop raids by local black bears are on the rise, just as Sooke and area moves into its peak season for bear activity. We have had many chicken/bear-related incidents already this year. By the time we recognize our mistakes, it is often too late for the bear.

“Chickens are one of our biggest attractants, aside from garbage and bird seed, and it’s growing because the number of chickens is growing,” says Debbie Read WildSafeBC coordinator for CRD Region.

Bear-proofing means keeping the chickens and their feed in a protected place, where bears can’t get into and stringing up electric fences powerful enough to stop a bear from entering - electric fencing keeps the chickens in and the bears out. Electric fences are inexpensive and easy to set up. There are electric fences that can be set up and functional in less than two hours.

While electric fencing may sound harsh, it is better to deter the bears in the first place than have to deal with them once they’ve got a taste for whatever they’re finding on your property. The shocks are not lethal, or even damaging, but provide for behaviour modification in the animal – which keeps you, your family, and your chickens safe.

Store feed securely in an air-tight container, either indoors or behind the electric fence. It is often the mishandling of the grain, mash and other feed that initially attracts bears, rats and other animals.

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