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Keep Your Chickens Safe - Protect Them from Predators

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Keep Your Chickens Safe - Protect Them from Predators
By Little Fields Farm 3 years ago 912 Views

Are you wondering over the mysterious deaths of your chickens?

Do you often find yourself asking the question “Who's been killing my chickens?”

Think a little more and you would know the answer.

The realisation that many other creatures love your hens and little chicks as much as you do is very painful.

While you show your love by taking care and nurturing them, other creatures have their own way to show their love for chickens.

Going to the chicken coop to feed your pets is probably the first thing you do every morning. Imagine how it might feel to see the remains of your chickens instead? Traumatising is probably the right word to explain your feelings when your nightmare becomes true.

Just as your chickens depend upon you for food, housing, and health, they also depend upon you for safety and security. Knowing about the common predators that pose a threat to your chickens' lives will help you to take protective measures. Some of the most common chicken predators in the UK include:

  • Foxes
  • Dogs
  • Badgers
  • Owls
  • Hawks
  • Weasels
  • Stoats

These predators either eat the whole chicken or the insides leaving feathers behind. There are some other animals that like your hens' eggs more. They include:

  • Rats
  • Crows
  • Skunks
  • Magpies

Cats do not usually prey upon grown up chickens, but those little innocent chicks are their favourite. So, if you have a cat at home or in your street, never trust it with your chicks.

It Is Important To Identify Predator(s)

Only after identifying who's after your chickens you can take effective protective measures. Therefore, spend a little time observing the signs that predator has left in your garden/ backyard or farm or in remains of your chickens (this would be painful, we know, but you have to do this if you do not want to put the lives of remaining ones at risk).

Take a look at the following table to know who might be preying upon your feathered friends:

Predator Signs
Fox More than 1 killed/ missing bird. Piles of feathers.

Some of the living birds are missing neck feathers or have broken necks.
Dog Signs of attack on many chickens with no or a few missing
Weasels and Stoats Dead or missing young chickens. Weasels and stoats can easily enter the chicken run through small gaps. They are also good climbers.
Owl/ Hawk Only one killed or missed chicken. If killed, only head eaten. The remaining birds usually get terrified and huddle under an overhead cover if there's one.
Crows Missing chicken food as it is their favourite, but not the only target. Crows can attack and eat eggs and chicks as well.
Rat Missing eggs and bites on chickens' legs.
Cat Missing chicks.

Protective Measures

While you cannot completely eliminate the chances of losing chickens to predators, you can definitely reduce the risks by taking certain preventative measures:

  • Train your chickens from the start to return to their coop in the evening. When you train them for this, your chickens will also lay eggs in the coop.
  • Always make sure to close the coop once the chickens are inside.
  • Protect the chickens' house by building fences or protective boundaries suing wires. You can also use electric netting. This will help keeping dogs, bobcats and many other four legged chicken predators. If you are sold to the idea of building an electric fence, make sure to get the high quality equipment so that you get stress free for a long time. Click here to buy the excellent quality Electric Fence Equipment.
  • Also, cover the chicken run from above to keep owls, crows, hawks and other predating birds at bay.
  • If rats and other such predators are your problem, raise the chicken coop from the ground. About a foot of lifting would be enough. While doing this, make sure that the coop, particularly the floor, is strong enough.
  • Install a bulb or light in the chicken run area to keep the nocturnal animals away.
  • Get a dog trained to be friendly and protective towards your chickens. Leave him in the chicken run at night to eliminate the chances of losing your chickens to a predator.