All Women's Talk

7 Tips on Keeping Chickens Safe from Predators ...

By Aprille

Chickens don’t really have what it takes to defend themselves against wild animals. These little guys depend heavily on the assistance provided by us humans. My chickens and I have a good relationship worked out; they supply me with eggs and I supply them with nourishment and protection. Here are 7 tips on keeping chickens safe from predators on your property. Each of these tips should be useful, no matter what area you live in.

7 Put Chickens in a Coop at Night

Having a secure place for your chickens to hide at night will prevent them from being preyed upon by larger animals. Most animals that are known to attack chickens prowl around the barn yard when it’s dark outside. If the chickens are inside a small building without any holes to the outside, then they will be protected from any wild animals that might be lurking about in the dark.

6 Install Motion Lights

Install Motion LightsPhoto Credit: cdcarter

Most nocturnal animals are scared off by motion-sensory lights. Once these lights suddenly turn on, most wild animals will run away. These lights can serve as a warning that something is out near the chicken pen and enable you to possibly get a glimpse at what is stalking your chickens. Some animals are a bit bolder than others and the light might only work a few times.

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5 Get a Guard Dog

Get a Guard DogPhoto Credit: wogolin

Dogs are great at causing a scene and scaring off unwanted animals. Of course, outside dogs work best to keep varmints away from the chicken coop. My dog spends her evenings making circles around the chicken pen. I have yet to decide if she’s actually keeping watch or looking for a way into the pen itself. Either way, her presence is helpful in keeping the chickens safe and sound during the night.

4 Set Traps

Set TrapsPhoto Credit: leeh10

I’m not one for killing an animal that is simply trying to survive. Live traps can be purchased and set in place for catching animals of different sizes. A difficult part about buying a live trap is deciding which size to get. For instance, if you buy a large trap and the night prowler is too small to trigger the mechanism that causes the door to shut, then the trap is useless. Trying to use a small trap to catch a large animal is equally ineffective. Once you’ve trapped the chicken-stalker, then you can release it elsewhere. I try not to use traps at all, since I’m always afraid of relocating something and causing it to leave its little family behind.

3 Keep Your Chickens Fenced in

Keep Your Chickens Fenced inPhoto Credit: gina pina

Fenced in runs allow chickens to freely peck the ground and not have to worry about being nabbed by a hawk that is flying over. Not only should fencing be placed around the chickens, but also on top of the pen. The fence on top will prevent chickens from flying out of the area and heading off to uncertain parts of the yard where predators might be waiting for them. It will also protect young chicks from being swooped down upon by hawks, owls, and other birds of prey.

2 Make Sure Roosts Are High Enough

Make Sure Roosts Are High EnoughPhoto Credit: Three part harmony

If a predator does make it into the chicken pen, then high roosts might actually save your chickens. When chickens snuggle together on the floor, they have a higher chance of being eaten by an animal that makes its way into the chicken coop than their high-perching companions. Roosts are usually positioned in a way that chickens can fly up to set on them in the evening and these roosts are often high enough that wild animals cannot reach the perching chickens.

1 Don’t Store Feed near the Coop

Don’t Store Feed near the CoopPhoto Credit: Jooliree

Mice and rats tend to be attracted to chicken feed, so they naturally try to find ways to reach the grain. If you have rats and mice making nightly visits to the chicken coop, then there might be larger animals arriving as well. The bigger animals might only be after the mice and rats, but seeing some tasty chickens might entice them to go for these slower moving animals instead. Storing feed well away from your chickens should protect them from becoming an unanticipated midnight snack.

I hope these 7 tips on keeping chickens safe from predators work well for you. These have all worked for me and my chickens are plenty happy. Of course, the more chickens you have, the harder it usually is to keep every one of them safe. Are there any other tips you’d like to add to this list? What types of predators do you have the most difficulty with?

Top Photo Credit: key lime pie yumyum

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