KEEPING YOUR FLOCK SAFE FROM PREDATORS
Keeping your Flock Safe from Predators
It is well known that a chicken's number one enemy is Mr Fox, and we know that the results of a fox in a coop can be absolutely devastating - but unfortunately these aren't the only predators to chickens out there! Depending on where you are based, predators can include: dogs, raccoons, skunks, opossums, owls, mink, and weasels!
It is so important to keep your flock safe from predators - here at Team Titan we thought it was necessary for some hints and tips on how to keep your flock safe! Ultimately, the best defence against these predators is making sure that entry to your coop is extremely hard (which we know can be difficult since animals like weasels can get through the smallest of gaps!). Here are 6 suggestions for making entry to your chicken coop harder for potential predators:
1. Strong fencing - Welded wire (also known as hard cloth wire) is a good type of wire to use around your run. You would be looking to have a wire with extremely small holes (1-1/2 inch), this means that the wire will stop larger predators such as foxes and dogs but also much smaller ones such as mice, weasels and snakes (depending on your location).
When it comes to deciding your fencing, it is important to note that the fence ideally needs to be around 6 ft to prevent foxes from jumping up and over it (they are surprisingly like cats when it comes to jumping - rather than dogs!). Further, the fencing should go underground around 8 inches and taper out in a "J" / "L" shape to prevent predators digging to go under the fence.
2. Guard Dogs - Another option to consider when making your chicken run predator-proof is having a guard dog although this might not applicable to everyone! Guard dogs are a great deterrent to foxes since they can chase them away at great speeds and foxes will begin to learn not to come back as it is not a successful journey for them!
3. Remove potential predator hideouts - Clearing away any potential hiding spots for predators near the chicken coop/run will prevent or slow down your predators as they will not have anywhere to hide before attempting an attack on the run and they are less likely to cross a large open area. Hiding spots include piles of wood, long grass, shrubbery, and anything that predators can live in or stalk from!
4. Aviary/poultry netting - this type of netting is great for the top of your chicken coop run during the day in order to prevent birds (such as hawks) getting to your flock. This material is not ideal for using on the sides of the run as it can be quite flimsy and would not stop a smaller animal from getting in (or getting your chickens out!).
5. Security cameras - Setting up security cameras can help you identify a pattern if predators keep getting in. Once you have seen how the predators are able to get in to your run or where they like to hide out it is much easier to prevent this from happening again! Unfortunately, predators to chickens are not just animals. Theft of chickens by humans is on the rise so installing security cameras will either help you identify and catch them - or hopefully deter them from stealing the chickens in the first place.
6. Motion Activated Lights - A final suggestion is having lights which turn on after detecting motion. These bright lights can scare and cause the intruders to run away - preventing any damage to your chicken run or coop!