How to Protect my Chickens From Predators
For a farm owner, nothing matters more than the well-being of his or her cattle and poultry flock. Right from the time, the rooster wakes up everyone in the early morning to the time; the animals go to sleep post sunset; the farm is surely chirp-happy.
Chicken raising farms have an enthusiasm of their own and many farm owners wishing to go for a variety of breeds. They might go far lengths to get it right and breed them.
The significant threats that lurk for the chickens are predators that could be anything from raccoons to foxes, dogs, cats, skunks, opossums, bobcats, snakes, rats, hawks, and owls to name a few. Protecting the coops of chicken from these predators is vital to ensure that the chickens live happily and not in terror. This affects their general temperament and health too.
Here are a few tips to put to use to protect the chickens from these predators.
- Know the predators first: It is vital to know who is after the chickens before employing protection methods. Hawks and barn owls can just scoop these chickens and fly away. Snakes usually creep in when they spot a hole and even tend to eat eggs entirely. Opossums, on the other hand, might eat the eggs messily and leave behind paw prints. Usually, an opossum or skunk might just target these eggs or small chicks and not even go far from the coop area. Weasels are dangerous since they can eat a lot at a time and even slip through the mesh or the automatic chicken door. Dogs, bobcats, foxes, and raccoons usually carry away a chicken after strangling them. If you are just planning to make a coop, look at these animals or their habitat nearby. It shall help in making coops protective as per that.
- Build coops: A convenient thing to do is to go for proper housing for the hens and chickens to retire after sunset. Make sure that there is a latch on the automatic chicken coop door for the chicks to remain safe once they enter the home. Setup these houses a foot or two above the ground so that snakes do not just come out of any hole in the ground directly into the coop.
- Get the right fence and netting: Having electric fence is nice but do make sure that the electric fence is just going to stun or shock the predatory animals like a skunk, weasel or foxes. That should be enough to deter them from preying on the chicks in daylight or after sunset. Have small orange-colored mesh netting all around the poultry deck area so that the birds like hawks or owls do not attack from the air.
- Have watchdogs: It is great to train watchdogs to take care of the chicks when they are out in daylight. However, prepare them for the job, and they shall do the right.
Besides all of these measures, be quick to spot the presence of predatory animals as soon as possible. Keep an eye out for missing eggs, or hatchlings so that it shall minimize your losses in the future.