Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Solar Nite Eyes: How to Protect Your Poultry, Bees and Trees

2/23/2011 1:40:24 PM

Tags: predators, poultry, bees, trees

Solar Nite EyesI have been using flashing light technology as a protective measure for many years in rural Pennsylvania where predators occupy air and land in abundance.

I was so excited when the Solar Nite Eyes Predator Protect System came out that I had to get some!

I have a free range poultry operation and also a small apiary (honey bee yard), so protection at dusk and night is paramount. Chickens go into the coop buildings at night, so they are at less risk than are the ducks and waterfowl which often have fallen prey to night stalkers.

One of my test sites is the pond, where many animals come at night to drink and hunt the shore line. I put a Solar Nite Eyes unit along this predator path, and the traffic stopped! I found no fresh tracks after placing one unit a couple of feet above the ground.

Every year, I plant 20 new trees on my land and without fail, deer have come and browsed all the buds, and in some cases, taken a young sapling right to the ground. The Solar Nite Eyes unit has two holes for mounting. It occurred to me that I could hook a bungee cord into these holes and wrap it around young trees at “deer height.” This flashing light discouraged the deer, and I haven't seen fresh tracks for days now! Also, by mounting with a bungee cord, I can immediately move the unit from tree to post or adjust the height/direction without screwing or nailing anything into the tree. I love that advantage because some trees are too young and delicate to have screws or nails put into them.

As a photographer, I was traveling with a PA Apiary Inspector and witnessed first hand, the damage a bear can do to honey bee hives in a single visit. Keepers resort to electric fencing and other extreme measures to protect their apiary yard. The company that manufactures Solar Night Eyes has stated that these units work on black bears. So the obvious step for me was to attach them to my six honey bee hives for protection against bear visits. I will also be recommending them to the PA Bee Keepers Association at our next meeting for those with consistent bear problems.

For the ducks that feel they MUST stay on the pond at night, I was always concerned because owls, raccoons and foxes are the top predators for them at night. I was especially concerned for the young developing birds. This systems works because these units are solar powered, and  I don't need wiring. I can actually float them on a post mounted to Styrofoam insulation. This allows the unit to gradually move around which adds to the predator deterrent potential. It's “moving” and blinking with its two red eyes.

I have a free ranging flock of African Guinea Fowl that lay their eggs in grassy patches only to be raided by raccoons and other opportunists at night. Once a clutch of eggs is established and the hen is setting, put the Solar Nite Eyes on nearby tree trunks and other structures to protect the hen during this 28 day incubation period. If not trees, then just drive in a post and bungee the Solar Nite Eyes on it with a unit facing in every direction. I'll keep you posted on how effective this method is.

Solar Nite Eyes 3Several of my chicken coop buildings have metal insulated doors, I was so excited to find that these Solar Nite Eyes units are magnetic! So I can just walk up and let it attach itself to the door. This makes it look like my coop doors have security systems on them. One visitor said they look like the key card swipe units. They also attach magnetically to my iron T-Posts and save me the trouble of screwing or nailing, and then I can periodically relocate them to other posts or at varying heights.

Side note: Ever go canoeing and after sunset, have trouble remembering where you put in? The coast of a large lake can look the same on your return. So I thought, why not put a Solar Nite Eyes around a tree or post with bungees, with the blinking lights facing the water. You see the blinking lights across the lake and can quickly paddle your way to the exact spot you put in. I think that's just cool! You collect it on your way back and put it in your fishing vest.

I know that I am going on and on about this, and you can read more at Solar Nite Eyes. I am writing about uses I think they do not cover in their write ups and testimonials.

So, I like that the units are inexpensive, costing around $20 each. They have two blinking lights like some red eyed protector of my innocent birds and hard working bees. They have two holes which allow me to use string, bungee cords or other temporary attachment methods for shifting them around, keeping the predators and ravenous browsers off my trees, bushes and out of my vegetable gardens.

I also like the magnetic feature. You could even put it on the door and let people think you have an alarm system monitoring that entry.
They are small (fit into your shirt pocket), weather sealed and solar powered.

They are GUARANTEED to work, or your money back!

They have high and low temperature operating ranges from minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit to 131 degrees F, according to their literature. I'm currently using them in winter, and they are blinking away in our frozen countryside.

Solar powered, no wires, no fuss! You can put them where the sun shines to charge up, then put then anywhere you need them! Or just leave them in the sun. I have dark areas I need to protect, so during the day I have them in sunshine. Then when I go out to do chores before sunset, I place them in areas that don't see full sunlight. And they are working!

So in closing, I'm onboard with these, as a poultry man, as a bee keeper and as a permaculture tree nut. They are a must have if you want to avoid chemicals, guns and electric fencing as your means of protection.

Photos by Frederick J. Dunn 



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Post a comment below.

 

martha bright
8/10/2011 6:22:30 AM
These are only guaranteed if they malfunction, not if they don't protect your fowl. I lost chickens and a duck with two of these right beside my coops. So they're not worth it in my experience. The only thing that has worked for me consistently is a livestock guardian dog.

martha bright
8/10/2011 6:21:37 AM
These are only guaranteed if they malfunction, not if they don't protect your fowl. I lost chickens and a duck with two of these right beside my coops. So they're not worth it in my experience. The only thing that has worked for me consistently is a livestock guardian dog.







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