Protecting against chicken predators is a nasty business. But if you have chickens it’s something you need to address. Chicken predators come in all shapes and sizes and the list is long. We won’t get into the particular predators in this post but look for another article showing specifics tracks and signs to identify them coming soon.
We take several steps to keep our flock safe from chicken predators.
Close off any gaps and holes: The roofline is a common place to look. Often times a chicken predator can climb up to the roof and enter through a gap in the construction of the coop. Our coop had several gaps we needed to address. We took 2 x 4 boards and nailed them along the roof line from the inside of the coop. This way if the predator tried to get in, the board blocked his path. This may be true for your coop even if you build it yourself. Any hole that is larger than the holes found in chicken wire is too big.
Use fencing sturdier than chicken wire: Chicken wire is made to contain your chickens, not keep predators out. So whether you are adding protection to your coop or building a chicken run, use fencing that is sturdier than chicken wire. Chicken predators can rip right through that stuff and even reach in and pull a bird to them, so you want a barrier with small holes. We use welded wire fencing or hardware cloth. Both of these are strong enough to protect our flock from chicken predators and versatile enough to use for many purposes.
Secure the perimeter: If chicken predators can’t get in from the top or side, they’ll go under. That’s right. It’s not uncommon for them to dig their way in. For this reason, we buried hardware cloth along the perimeter of the coop. Bury it about six inches deep. This way if an animal tries to dig beneath the coop, they hit that hardware cloth and can’t get under. It works wonders! Stopping a chicken predator in their tracks by securing the perimeter is one of the best ways to protect your flock.
Keep Food off the ground: This sounds silly, but chicken attracts rodents and other chicken predators. We hang our feed and water containers from the rafters of the coop. There is less waste and the birds don’t scatter feed all over the place. This is one of the easiest steps you can take to prevent predators.
Guard Dog: Some people train their dogs to protect the chickens. We’ve read the Pyrenees is a great dog breed for guarding your flock. They’ll sit with the birds and watch out for anything that could be harmful. They will mark their territory to keep other animals away and will fight an aggressive predator if need be.
Hang Shiny Objects: Some chicken predators are other birds of prey. You’ll find hanging aluminum pie plates or old CDs around the coop will keep most birds of prey away. When the sun hits the shiny objects and reflects it messes with chicken predator’s vision and they fly over the area.
Natural animals: Not only are dogs a great idea but sometimes, animals that are indigenous to your area are a good thing. We have crows. They are territorial and do not like other birds of prey flying into their area. So having these birds around keep the hawks and owls away!
Protecting your flock against chicken predators isn’t hard, it just takes some forethought. Whether you have two birds or fifty birds it’s important to take predators seriously. Believe us when we say, losing your flock to the enemy is frustrating, sad and disheartening. We lost three flocks to predators before we got our coop proofed. Let us know if you have any questions or comments on your chicken predator proofing experiences!
~Until Next Time,
Question: What ways do you protect your flock from chicken predators?