John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Wildlife Management

Wildlife management for the small farm increases the enjoyment of country living as well as raising property values. Ponds, streams, trees, shrubs and pasture can all play a role in establishing an environment conducive to wildlife. A well managed small farm integrates itself into the environment in a pleasing synthesis of human, animal and nature.

Wildlife habitat is being lost as more land is subdivided, bringing houses, people, livestock, dogs, cats and other intrusions. As a landowner, small farm owners can help offset this loss of wildlife habitat by growing a diversity of vegetation that provides food and cover for wildlife.

Gateway Farm, sitting on only ten acres is blessed with a creek, several ponds, and a variety of wildlife. We have seen Blue Herons feeding in our large pond, have wild pairs of nesting ducks, wild turkeys, hawks and other raptors, amphibians,and a large variety of song birds. The creek forming our southern property line is home to mergansers, Canadian geese, mink, otter, muskrat, and of course, fish. This year, for the first time. we have enjoyed the presence of a bald eagles and osprey working the creek.

Managing one's land to encourage wildlife is not particularly difficult. Wildlife has the same needs as any other animal - food, water and cover.

Food requirements will naturally vary by wildlife species, from the seeds and berries required by birds, to the grasses, forbs and shrubs preferred by deer and elk.

Water on or near your property in the form of a pond, stream or developed stockwater will increase the variety of wildlife you can attract

Cover is needed for hiding from predators, travel corridors, nesting and shelter.

Upland Birds and Raptors

Areas of tall grass, thickets of shrubs, and plots of wheat, barley and other small grains provide food and habitat diversity for quail and other field birds. When harvesting crops, begin cutting from the center of the field outward to flush the birds away

Trees and shrubs can provide seeds, fruits and berries that birds like. Streams, ponds or stocktanks can provide water. Place a stationary ramp in stocktanks to prevent birds from drowning while watering.

Song birds require a diversity of vegetation heights (tall grass, shrubs, trees) and a variety of foliage densities (evergreen and deciduous trees) for nesting an safety from predators.

Plant tall grass along roadsides and ditch banks and shrubs along fence lines or as part of a windbreak to provide nesting an cover. Since some of these birds nest on the ground in the spring, avoid mowing or using weed control chemicals on your tall grass until birds are out of the nest in mid-July. (Some weeds should be sprayed prior to July 15 to control their spread effectively, so weigh your priorities.)

Perches of many heights, such as old snags, fences and telephone poles are used by many birds (from bluebirds to hawks) for resting and searching for food.

Amphibians and Reptiles

Toads, frogs, lizards turtles and snakes eat plants, insects and small animals. Water holding structures like well vegetated ponds, rain puddles, logs and rocks can provide drinking water and a source of food. While there has been a lot of press about mosquito abatement in the news lately due to West Nile Virus, we have found our huge frog population to be a very effective control for these insects.

Reptiles and amphibians are cold-blooded animals. They need sunny areas to warm up in the morning, and cool areas in the heat of the day. Rock piles in the sun provide basking areas. Stumps, logs, shaded rocks and ground cover provide cool areas.

Waterfowl

Waterfowl like aquatic plants, small insects, snails and crustaceans. They also feed on grains and other green forage.

Ponds are natural for attracting ducks, geese and other waterfowl. Ponds should have shallow and deep areas, and well vegetated banks. Vegetated islands are the safest and are preferred for nesting.

Large areas of tall, dense undisturbed vegetation near open water are needed for successful nesting. A tangle of dead plants from last year's growth will hide nesting hens from predators. This dense, dead vegetation also creates better temperature and moisture conditions for egg hatching.

Conclusion

A small acreage farm can be successfully developed and maintained so as to integrate the best of nature, man and livestock into a wonderful lifestyle. When all the pieces are working together overall maintenance and production costs are decreased while property values increase. All it takes is a little bit of planning and an integrated approach to managing your property.

 
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"It was a heavily built old gentleman in a suit of black alpaca, somewhat frayed and baggy at the knees, but still respectable..."

- Thomas Aldrich
The Queen of Sheba & My Cousin the Colonel
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