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How To Protect Chickens From Predators
Predators are always a concern when raising chickens, as they can quickly kill off the flock if they aren’t dealt with swiftly. Farmers play a substantial role in protecting chickens from predators so build your chicken coop as securely as Fort Knox. Protecting the chicken run from predators is a bit more complicated, but can be accomplished with a few simple steps. Here we will look at which predators are looking to feast on your chickens and how to minimize the risk of casualties.
Which Predators Are Eyeing Up Your Chickens For An Easy Meal?
Many animals eat chickens including hawks, owls, dogs, weasels, snakes, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, rats, cats, bobcats, possums, bears, and other humans. Additionally, many of these animals and others eat chicken eggs so securing your chicken coop is the first order of business.
Build A Sturdy Chicken Coop
Building a sturdy chicken coop that is resistant to predators is the first step in securing your flock. Since chickens will sleep and sprint to the coop when in distress, this area serves as their base against invaders. For that reason, don’t skimp on building materials, but instead, create a sturdy chicken coop that will last for years.
There are an infinite number of ways to build a secure chicken coop. All chicken coops have certain things in common like a solid frame, walls that don’t allow predators in, doors that close securely, and a roof that keeps both predators and the elements out.
For the walls, use wooden planks or wire Hardware Cloth that has ¼ inch to ½ inch holes. Hardware Cloth is recommended over Chicken Wire because it is thicker. For the best protection against predators, secure the Hardware Cloth in the ground by digging a trench around the coop and placing it at least 1 foot deep. This prevents animals from burrowing into the chicken coop.
Construct a nice wooden door with a latch to keep predators out. The latch should be sophisticated enough so raccoons can’t figure out how to open the door. Since raccoons are more intelligent than we give them credit for, you might want to secure the door with a padlock just to make sure your chicken coop remains closed.
Elevated Chicken Coop
Another option is to build a chicken coop that is raised off the ground so most predators can’t get in it. After the chickens have entered the chicken coop, remove the ramp from the entrance and close the door so the chickens are safe inside during the nighttime.
Yes, You Can Train A Chicken
Train chickens to return to the chicken coop every night by luring them in with food. After a while, the chickens will naturally go into the chicken coop night after night. After the chickens have settled down for the night, close the door and secure it so no nocturnal predators can get in.
Defending The Chicken Run Against Predators
Defending the chicken run against predators is necessary to protect the flock. First, place a fence around the chicken run so no uninvited guests enter. Ideally, secure the chicken run with an electric fence that will keep most four-legged animals out. Alternatively, cap the top of the fence so animals can’t crawl over.
Unfortunately, hawks and owls still have access to chickens from the air so consider setting up hawk netting above the chicken run so your flock has maximum security. Another option to protect chickens from predators like hawks is to have bushes and trees where chickens can hide. Chickens love to spend time beneath bushes, as they provide shade, protection, and a surplus of insects to eat.
Setting Up A Camera And Motion-Activated Light
Predators that get too close to the chicken coop may panic and flee if a motion-activated light turns on. If not, the light in conjunction with a camera gives farmers a visual of the predator, while also giving chickens enough light to react to the situation.
Roosters Defend Chickens From Some Predators
If possible, have roosters around to protect chickens from predators. Not only will roosters fight off some predators like hawks, but they will also inform the rest of the flock when predators are near. This enables the more vulnerable chickens to find shelter quickly and stay out of harm’s way.
Donkeys Defend Chickens From Predators
Donkeys are known to protect chickens from predators as well. Donkeys are territorial animals and don’t take kindly to new animals on their property. If you have a donkey or are thinking about getting one, keep it close to your chickens.
Dogs Ward Off Predators
Having dogs around is one of the best ways to keep predators away from your chickens. Dogs serve as both a deterrent and an alarm to let you know that predators might be in the area. Highly trained guard dogs are the best, but nearly any dog will be ecstatic to chase down a predator and send them on their way.
Dogs must be trained not to eat the chickens, but after that, having man’s best friend around will give your chickens far more protection from predators.
Collect Eggs From The Chicken Coop Twice A Day
Along with being a good practice to collect chicken eggs from the coop twice a day, removing them reduces the chances of a predator looking to feast on the eggs. Some animals like snakes, skunks, rats, and possums are more interested in consuming eggs than eating your chickens.
Every Homestead Or Farm Should Have A Gun
Politics aside, every homestead or farm should have a gun. Oftentimes, the only way to get rid of predators that return night after night is to either shoot them or scare them off with a gunshot.
Another option is to trap predators and remove them from the area. Use an animal trap that baits predators into it and closes the door behind them. Upon waking, you will quickly know whether this trap was successful.
How To Protect Chickens From Predators
The list of animals that are looking to feast on chickens or their eggs is nearly endless so farmers must set up proper protection from predators on the ground and in the sky. The first line of defense involves building a sturdy chicken coop that is designed to keep predators out. Also, secure the perimeter of the chicken run with an electric fence and a hawk net so virtually no animals can enter. Roosters, guard dogs, and even donkeys can deter predators from eating your chickens. If all else fails, hunt down or trap a predator so it doesn’t end up decimating your flock.