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Good Habits Make Safer Chickens


Predators are a constant consideration when you have chickens.  There are several things that you can do that will help you keep your flock safe.

  1. Build your coop with predator proof and durable materials. Don’t make it easy for a predator to gain access to your flock by using flimsy materials. 
    • Hardware cloth should always be used, to put it as plainly as possible – chicken wire isn’t protection. Save it and use it for craft projects! 
    • Make sure that you have strong and durable walls, doors, roofs and locks! Use locks that require two or more steps to open.  Raccoons are just like monkeys and have all night to figure out a bolt latch or other simple latches.
    • Build the coop with the floor up off of the ground at least 12”. All kinds of animals can take up residence under the floor of a coop – snakes, rodents, weasels, opossums, etc. and enter the coop through the smallest of cracks in the floor.  You DO NOT want a weasel to find a way into your chicken coop!
    • If you can’t raise the floor, fortify the bottom by burying 12” of hardware cloth around the perimeter of the coop and run.
  2. Check and repair fencing. Replace anything that is showing more than normal wear and tear.  Use of electrical poultry fencing is the best material for the job.
  3. Don’t leave treats or food outside. We all give our flocks treats but don’t let those treats stay in the yard/run overnight.  Predators will come for the treats and end up possibly getting a tasty chicken also.
  4. Store your feed in closed, metal containers. All animals enjoy a free meal.
  5. Collect your eggs early and often. Don’t give predators the opportunity to become use to eggs being available.
  6. Don’t allow chickens to roost outside. Train your flock to go in before dusk – every single day.
  7. Be diligent on closing the coop door before dusk. Most predators are nocturnal and begin hunting once the sun sets.  Make this a habit and it will keep your flock safe from harm.
  8. Get LED, motion detector lights put in around the coop and run. There are even products that have an alarm and flashing lights should they be set off!
  9. Keep a radio on overnight. The sounds of talk radio will help deter even the most desperate of predators.
  10. Get a guard. Consider getting a rooster or a very well-trained dog to protect your flock.
  11. Increase visibility. Clear brush and other possible hiding places at least 50-75 feet around the coop.  Predators are less likely to go through such a large open space to get to the house.
  12. If you free range – provide hiding spots for your flock around the property.

 

 

Common Deterrents that can help keep your flock safe

  • Solar, Motion activated lights and alarms
  • Owl decoys
  • Radios
  • Pinwheels, mirrors, stainless steel bird spikes, hanging cd’s – anything that will move in the breeze and reflect light
  • Predator urine. Get urine from your problem predators natural predator – they won’t take a chance of getting hunted themselves.

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