I started getting nailed by a hawk or owl at night, so I had to start locking mine up before sundown. Ain't lost a bird since then.
I'm more worried about societal collapse then having to make an executive decision, try to save the beef, or put up with them being picked off by poachers/rustlers. And I have no doubt about a week into a famine (loss of grocery food deliveries), this would start to happen..
Just me here to protect them realistically speaking and if I had to stand guard over them 24/7..well, ya gotta sleep sometime and desperate people might want to get rid of the "guard dog", then have easy pickings.
Strong communities might make it OK, but individual farms and homesteads...I dunno. Better than living in town, in some ways, but not perfect.
chickens behind real secure well built wire will be OK, start to let them run around loose,at anytime, you'll lose them eventually, that's inevitable. They taste just like chicken! Everything that eats meat knows this...dogs/cats/wild critters, two and four legged and winged, they all love them some chikken meat.... heck, even cluckers like clucker meat! (which you will find out eventually as well)
If you want eggs year round, I suggest ducks over chickens. Lay year round, big eggs, tame up better than cluckers, and won't tear the garden up. They eat weeds and bugs, cluckers will eat your veggies, and will only lay half the year at best at your latitude.
I like both but can only maintain a "stealth" flock now, so it is the cluckers...well, I get them as small birds for free too, and I don't need a swimming pool for them. If my situation was a little changed, I'd have a buncha ducks, and just a few cluckers for some biodiversity. We had quail too but they need to be caged full time..they fly! You can't let them get out, or goodbye quail.
For tick control around the yard, get guinea hens, or they are called pea hens. Good watchdogs too, they will let out a racket if they see anything strange. Unmistakable, normal sounds, stranger nearby of any kind, animal or man, big racket ensues. You won't miss it, and neither will they miss any interloper.
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