Whether you free range your birds or pasture raise as we do, predators are out there and with these tried and true tips, you’ll have better protection for chickens.
When we lived in the city across from Walmart, we had six hens in a small chicken coop. It is two stories, and the bottom was tight, but they could scratch the dirt. We have over 20 chickens who freely roam our acreage sun up to sundown out here in the country.
Well, moving from the city to the country was a wake-up call for us. We didn’t even hear coyotes in the city. This was a new adventure and one we needed to learn about quickly.
We chose to pasture range our birds for a few reasons. First, I love seeing the birds roaming the yard enjoying life. The second biggest reason is we spend a lot less on feed. You can read more about why we pasture raises here.
It’s been four years out here in the country now, and we only lost chickens our very first year to a fox during the day.
New to Raising Chickens?
- Things You Need to Know About Raising Chickens
- How the Weather Affects the Look of Your Eggs
- 8 Do’s and Don’ts of a Life With a Baby Mini Pig
- The First Taste of Our Own Home Grown Chicken
- Why We Choose to Free Range Chickens- Even After a Raccoon Attack
Here are 10 Ways You Can Keep Your Hens Protected if You Choose to Free Range
Get a Rooster.
There is no denying a rooster lives up to his duty! So many times, our Rooster has told all the girls a sky predator is lurking, they run under my husband’s work van or the porch, and he is the only one out- defending his ladies.
The Rooster will allow all the hens to eat the treat he has found before he takes a peck! Well, I suppose he makes up for it by mounting whoever when ever right!
Have a place for your flock to hide
It is so important to have a place for your birds to be able to hide. A big Raspberry bush, trees, cars, porches. It all helps when a hawk is roaming the sky. This is a big help when it comes to keeping our chickens safe. They can scatter quickly in multiple places while having a safe place to hide.
Have your flock securely locked up at night.
If you pasture raise them, they will instinctively go back to the coop at night. I loved this when we started with our six hens because I had no idea they did this. Sometimes I think chickens are smarter than others give credit for. I mean, they do actually come when you call them.
Lock your chickens up as soon as the sun sets.
As the weather changes, the sun starts to set, and predators are out lurking. I think spring and fall around our homestead are the busiest times when I’m keeping an ear out for serious squawking in the coop.
We had our raccoon attack in October because we lost track of time and didn’t close the coop door right away. You can read the story here.
Use Guard Dogs
When we first got a new flock of chickens and had a whopping 13 roosters roaming around our German Shepard lab- we gave a friendly snip to the Roosters who were going crazy on our first flock of chickens. I keep our dog out to help keep predators away- and keep the peace 😉
It helps to have a light on your barn and near your chicken coop. So predators are less likely to visit. If you do not have power near your chicken coop, check out this solar-powered Barn light.
Otherwise, Home Depot has some good ones. You can see ours here.
If you can bury the chicken wire under the ground
We did this with my garden to keep pests out, and it works just as well with your chicken coop.
Always be looking for holes or loose wire/boards
Every month do a once over in your chicken coop and keep things closed up tightly. This will help keep your chickens protected from predators and warmer in the winter.
Related: How To Keep Your Chickens Warm For Cheap
Keep any cat food away from the coop.
Cat food will draw in predators- especially those raccoons! We had raccoons coming into our old barn a lot, and I didn’t realize it was the cat food. In our new barn here, I haven’t seen any raccoons near it. Well, that is during the day, at least.
Keep up with collecting eggs.
Eggs left out can attract predators as well. I also find with our chickens; one will be the eater if we don’t scoop them up soon.
Be ready to defend your chickens if you find a predator in or near your coop.
I always seem to grab our ancient pitchfork every time I peek in the coop throughout the day. 🙂 Here, my husband is the one who can quickly grab the gun. I, on the other hand, well, not so much.
I am confident our German Shepard dog would go after a fox or raccoon, so I plan to send him out if things get heated!
I hope these tips will help you when it comes to keeping an eye on your chickens. It truly is an awesome thing if you can free-range them.
If you can’t and still have chickens, that is an awesome thing too. Being able to eat fresh eggs daily is pure joy.
Tuesday 8th of January 2019
A week ago we had raccoon paw prints near out chicken coop when we got up to let them out
Tuesday 8th of January 2019
Better out than in :)
Friday 4th of January 2019
I went out to the chicken coop tonight and i saw fox prints in the snow i am kinda worried any helpful hints?
Friday 4th of January 2019
Hi Elle, oh boy that is always unsettleing. I suggest looking over your coop making sure it is secure. Make sure there is a light outside of it at night. And lastly keep your gun loaded.
Wednesday 14th of November 2018
That's nice .