2016 - Volume #40, Issue #4, Page #28[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
“HawkStopper” Protects Free-Range Poultry
“A hawk’s eyesight is about 8 times sharper than ours,” explains Ken Johnson, Maine Outdoor Solutions. “They see things sharper and from a greater distance. While we can barely see Hawkstopper netting suspended in the air, it looks like jail bars to hawks.”
Johnson came up with the concept after talking to a friend and former zoology professor. The zoologist had worked with the coastal fish farming industry to stop seabird predation of salmon pens.
“They used gill nets because they were plentiful, but they tangled easily,” says Johnson. “HawkStopper is soft and tangle free. You can wrap it over your arm like you would a rope and then stick it in a bag for storage. It unfurls easily next time you need it.”
Johnson says the HawkStopper is easy to hang and can be quickly suspended from posts, trees or other supports. The 6-in. sq. openings and the light, but strong multi-filament netting provides minimal resistance to wind and rain.
“We’ve had good feedback from customers,” says Johnson. “Wind has not affected nets in place.”
While the product has only been out a few months, Johnson is confident it will last. “We expect at least a 5-year life based on material specifications,” he says.
A single 20 by 75-ft. HawkStopper net provides 1,500 sq. ft. of protection. At $95 and free shipping, it doesn’t have to prevent too many losses to pay for itself.
“It would be hard to cover free-range poultry with any other material economically,” says Johnson. “We think HawkStopper provides excellent coverage for a good price, and our customers do, too. I’ve introduced a lot of new products, and some just sit there. HawkStopper has really taken off.”
Although initial buyers have largely been free-range poultry producers, Johnson is expanding sales into other markets, in particular inland fish farms. “We are now marketing also to owners of Koi ponds and freshwater fish producers,” he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Maine Outdoor Solutions, LLC, 2706 Union St., Hermon, Maine 04401 (ph 207 478-6426; info@MaineOutdoorSolutions.com; www.hawkstopper.com).
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