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Best Strategies to Protect Your Chicken Coop from Predators

Racoon climbing on chicken wire to spy on the chicken coop

Ensuring the safety of your feathered companions is a top priority for any chicken keeper. As dusk falls and dawn approaches, various predators, from cunning raccoons to aerial threats like hawks, may be eyeing your chicken coop. In this blog post, we'll explore the best strategies to fortify your coop and shield your flock from the challenges posed by cats, coyotes, raccoons, hawks, and other potential intruders.

Secure Perimeter Fencing

1) Dig Proof Barriers

Install a fence that extends both above and below the ground. Bury the bottom of the fence at least a foot deep to deter diggers like foxes, coyotes, and raccoons

2) Hardware Cloth Vs Chicken Wire

You should use hardware cloth with small mesh openings (the little squares between the wire) rather than traditional chicken wire because hardware cloth provides better protection against predators that might try to squeeze through or through the fencing since its more flimsy and weak.

Fortify Entrances

1) Sturdy Locks and Latches

Use high quality locks and latches on coop doors. Racoons, known for ther dexterous paws, can easily manipulate simple latches. Consider predator proof options, such as padlocks and carabiners!

2) Automatic Chicken Door

Consider investing in an automatic chicken door. These doors can be programmed to close the coop door at dusk, preventing nighttime predators from gaining access to your flock.

 Coop Placement

1) Avoid Open Spaces

Place your coop away from open fiel1)ds and dense woods, as these locations can attract hawks and other aerial predators. Consider positioning the coop closer to your house, making it less tempting for predators to approach.

2) Visibility and Lighting

Ensure the coop is well- lit at night. Adequate lighting can discourage nocturnal predators, and it also provides additional security for your flock. You don't have to hire an electrician to come in and have lights on all night but installing motion lights that you can buy for $15 on Amazon can be sufficient. 

Predator Proof Roofing

1)Wire Mesh or Netting

I'm not talking about the roof where your chickens sleep but in the actual run area. Cover the top of the chicken run or coop with wire mesh or netting. This protects against aerial predators like hawks and owls. This can also work against climbing animals like raccoons.

Companion Animals

1) Guard Dogs 

Consider introducing a guard dog to your homestead. Dogs can form protective bonds with your chickens and act as a deterrent to predators. I have a Australian Shepherd and they have never attacked or hurt the chickens. Be weary of leaving dogs our at night though because pack animals like coyotes will attack them. 

Regular Maintenance

1) Routine Checks

Establish a routine for checking the integrity of fencing, locks, and other security measures. Regular maintenance ensures that potential weak points are identified and addressed promptly. 

2) Remove Attractants 

Lastly, but one of the most important. Minimize attractants around the coop, such as spilled feed and food scraps. Properly secure garbage bins to avoid drawing in raccoons or other scavengers. 

 

Protecting chicken coop from predators requires a combination of vigilance and strategic planning. By fortifying the coop with secure fencing, robust locks, and deterrent measures, you create a haven for your flock. Remember, a proactive approach and regular maintenance are key to ensuring the long term safety and well- being of your feathered companions. With these strategies in place, you can enjoy the rewards of chick keeping without the constant worry of potential threats!