After devoting months to diligently caring for your baby chicks, the last thing you want is to have one become the hapless victim of a hungry hawk. Unfortunately, self-defense isn’t your chickens’ strong suit, so it’s up to you to keep them safe from harm. Birds of prey, coyotes, foxes, and even large domestic dogs can pose a threat to the well-being of your pullets. In this entry, we’ll look at a few ways to fortify your defenses against predators.
Secure Your Coop
Your chicken coop constitutes the first line of defense, particularly at night. Elevate the coop above grade level to protect chickens from small predators such as weasels and foxes. Dig a trench twelve inches deep around the perimeter of the coop and fill it with galvanized hardware cloth to keep burrowing predators out. Enclose the entire coop in a run with poultry wire in order to keep larger predators such as coyotes out. Be sure to enclose the top of the run as well to defend against predatory birds.
Clear the Area
Predators will be less inclined to come snooping around your coop if they don’t have vegetation to conceal themselves in. Mow the space around your coop regularly, and be sure to clean up food scraps after feeding time. Keep compost well away from the coop as well.
Employ Security Lights
A motion sensor light will scare off most nocturnal predators. Install the light so that it’s directed at the run, providing you and your chickens with an early alert system.
Want to learn more about ways to protect your chickens? You’ll find lots of tips in the book What’s Killing My Chickens?
Also check out this video from the folks over at Mother Earth News.