At some point in our keeping of chickens, we decided to let them have the run of the back yard, a semi-free range condition. This made them very happy, and reduced our food bill, but flock security was compromised. We have had many critters to visit our backyard in search of an easy meal, including hawks, owls, foxes, cats, and snakes. Thankfully, only the hawks and the snakes were successful. There are many ways to protect your flock, not all of them legal where you live. We did learn to strengthen and raise our fencing, shut our flock inside a specially made house during darkness, put a string of cheap red LED christmas tree lights on the house with a light sensor, string 20lb fishing line between all the trees and the house at about a 7 foot level, and pray. In casting about for any further help in that area, I lit upon the idea of using airsoft guns. Why? 1. They are nonlethal 2. They look like real firearms, and the better ones have the same heft and feel of real firearms, meaning most predators won’t know the difference and will run like hell 3. It’s not illegal to fire them in our neighborhood. 4. The electric, full auto versions can throw alot of bb’s at something, and should one connect, it stings pretty bad. Win-win.
Here, you see the weapons Little Man and I ended-up with. They have about the same amount of power a Red Ryder has, but with a much higher rate of fire and no need to cock them. I have found that predators know the sound of a bb gun being cocked or pumped and are gone almost before you can aim and fire. I can now surprise many intruders with a hail of bb’s before they even know I am there. Sometimes, I only open the screen back door enough to poke the muzzle of the gun out and fire. This is the Kalasnikov, one of our earlier airsoft guns. There was a pump shotgun before it. The shotgun’s trigger wore out too quickly. This Kalashnikov is cheap, highly inaccurate, and cannot even lob bb’s 25 feet effectively. I keep it now as a flock discipline tool. If one of them is misbehaving, they may get a few bb’s lobbed in their general direction. Not likely to hit anything, and not powerful enough to injure. Tried the shotgun for flock discipline and broke a hen’s leg:( She recovered, wearing a splint and duct tape for a month.
Targets from our latest practice. It may not seem that Little Man is doing well compared to me, but at 7 years old, I think he does well to even hit the target,especially at approximately 50 feet. One side benefit to this new hobby is the amount of time I am able to spend with my son, us both doing something we are interested in. I also get to teach LM about firearm safety on something not quite as dangerous.This is our bb trap. Targets can be clipped to the yellow cord, or cans can be set up on a board underneath. We do crawl under there and pick up bb’s. Used bb’s go in the Kalashnikov, which couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn to begin-with. We use .25 gram bb’s. .12’s are rediculously light, and of no effect whatsoever. I found .20’s to be too light for the Thompsons, curving upward even with no hop-up applied. Hop-up is an adjustment designed to give a certain amount of underspin to the bb so that it doesn’t prematurely curve downward from gravity.
Here is Little Man, carrying his weapon. It is almost as big as he is. It is really too heavy for him, but he will grow into it. We get around the weight and size when he is firing by resting it on the table or Daddy helping him hold it. One of LM’s favorite things to do is to go “adventuring” in the woods behind our house, beyond the poultry fence. We tromp around with our weapons and fire at leaves and cans, and have a good time.