Keeping Chickens Safe from Predators
The pleasures of keeping chickens are plenty. If you are anything like me and thousands of other people, you not only appreciate the eggs, but have come to love those sweet things. The loss of one hen can be devastating emotionally, as well as, the investment lost made for the sake of egg production. That’s why we not only want to keep them healthy, but we want to keep them safe too. Chickens have many predators. It seems EVERYTHING wants to eat chicken. This makes it a challenge to keep them safe.
Since chickens have so many predators, the best way to work on keeping them safe is to do a little research on what may live in your area and then work on methods specifically suited to protect from those predators.
When I was growing up in the mountains of Virginia, I remember some of the predators that would harass my dad’s flocks were the weasels, skunks, bobcats, and opossums. But living here in South Carolina the thing that plagues us the most are hawks, foxes, Bobcats, coyotes, and the neighbor’s dogs. That’s why knowing your area is the number one step in knowing how to protect your flock.
Give your flock a secured location to sleep safely at night. If possible, keep them inside a coop with doors that can be secured with a lock. Some predators such as racoons can unlock some latches, so outsmart the predators and make the latch on the door predator proof.
There are electronic doors available for those who can’t get out to open the coop every morning and close every night. They can be set to close at dark and reopen in the day.
For our chickens’ run we use avian netting to protect from hawks. This netting has saved our girls plenty of times.