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One post mentioned that trees provide perches for avian predators but said that chickens can tolerate some trees. Otherwise, I believe Edge is right that there has been no mention of predators, and they may be an important factor.
 
I once flushed a hen Greater Prairie Chicken off a nest of a dozen eggs while walking Taberville Prairie for Henslow's Sparrows. I found the nest only because she exploded almost from under my feet. The nest was in thick tall grass, not the kind of stuff I would expect most of the predators Edge mentioned to be wandering about in. Without having done any research, I have the feeling that chickens can protect themselves pretty well in their native habitat.  I'm not sure how vulnerable the adults are when they forage on neighboring farmland or whether Edge's idea that the same number of predators that formerly existed in a larger area would now be present in a smaller area. Certainly dogs and cats are a new addition. I suspect that bobcat and fox numbers are down,  while coyotes may be more numerous than previously. I speculate that the chickens' greatest adversay may be the Great Horned Owl, and there may be more of them around now than in prehistoric times.
 
If someone knows the answers, I'd be interested to learn them.
 
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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