Letter of the Week

July 14, 2012 

In a week that included debate about health care, pit bulls, an old Fourth Avenue cabin and recent police shootings, the winner is about chickens.

Bruce Orton wrote with some friendly advice in response to a story about predators zeroing on a local coop. His letter of July 11 read, in part:

"Clear the jungle! They need at least 75-100 feet clearance so they can see threats, and threats get shy. Enlist chickens' survival traits. Mine ranged free without fencing, and when a predatory bird appeared, they disappeared into holes, under buildings, and whatever was handy. Poof! Get Banties who will raise the alarm (and sit on theirs and anybody else's eggs too) for those Barred Rocs and New Hampshires. They have more ancient instincts and reproduce their own for fryers too.

"Have smart dogs who leave chickens alone (German shepherds worked for me), but bristle at predators."

Mr. Orton wrote this letter with the authority of experience and packed a lot of images into few words. He put the reader right on his old property in the Talkeetnas. Just good work.

May we all write so well.

As always, thanks. And please keep writing.

-- Frank Gerjevic

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