No matter where you live, predators will always be a problem for your flock. It can be heartbreaking to find that a fox or hawk has killed one of your chickens. As such, it’s always best to be prepared and take steps to protect your flock from predator attacks.
While each predator is different, many will go straight to the chicken coop to catch their prey. Thankfully, there are ways you can protect your chicken coop and, therefore, protect your chickens.
Pick the right location
Where you place your chicken coop will have a big impact on how easy it is for predators to access it. By building your chicken coop and run near your house, you can deter predators from getting too close. This is because most predators are scared of humans. As such, if there is a lot of human activity near your chickens, predators are less likely to get too close.
Build durable fencing
Predators can’t attack your chickens if they can’t get near them. The best way to keep predators away from chickens is to build durable fencing around the coop and run. While regular chicken wire will work, hardware cloth is a step above. It is much harder for predators to bite or squeeze through hardware cloth. We also recommend building a trench around your run that is at least 12 inches deep and then burying the hardware cloth. This will prevent predators from digging underneath the fencing.
And durable flooring
Even if you take the above steps with your fencing, there is still the chance that a predator gets through. They may try tunneling underneath the chicken coop and breaking through the flooring. You can prevent this by using stone or cement flooring in your chicken coop.
Clear away tall grass and shrubbery
Predators like to sneak up on their prey. They do this by hiding in tall grass and shrubbery. If you keep the area near the run and coop clear, then predators won’t have any place to hide. That doesn’t meant you can have some trees and shrubbery, just ensure there are no places that will make it easy for a predator to sneak up on your flock.
Install motion light sensors
Another way to prevent predators from sneaking up on your flock is to install motion light sensors. This will be especially helpful at night when many predators are out and about. If a predator gets too close, these lights will turn on and scare them away.
Have livestock guardians
When all else fails, sometimes you need an animal that is bigger and scarier than the predator to scare them away. You’ll need an animal that will be invested in the flock enough to want to protect them, while also strong enough to fight or scare off predators. Dogs are a favorite amongst backyard flock owners. Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherds, and Komondors are excellent breeds to protect your flock. You can also have a rooster if your town or city allows it or a goose.