Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How to protect your chickens from Predators

Why do we love certain houses, and why do they seem to love us?  It is the warmth of our individual hearts reflected in our surroundings.
~ T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

1. Predators don't like being seen. Which is why they only come out in total darkness. I have our chicken area completely surrounded by solar patio lights that shine like homing beacons in total darkness. Total cost: set of outdoor solar patio lights: $40
2. Don't just throw them out there on the back 40. Chances are, the farther away you have the coop from your house the more likely a predator is to eat your flock. I moved ours closer to the house so that I can see and hear if there is a problem outside. Cost: free
3. Buy a motion sensor alarm to let you and the chickens know when something is afoul. They even sell German Shepherd statues that can sit outside the coop and bark like a dog whenever someone approaches. *priceless* Total cost: $50
4. Be pro-active. If you are in the country, you have predators. don't be in denial thinking "well I'm just going to let them free range it" in an area where by doing this you are only feeding the wild animals. (If you wouldn't leave your toddler out there alone then why are you leaving your chickens?) cost: free
5. Small sized squared stronger wire works better and is safer than larger square flexible, or chicken wire because predators can reach through the pens and literally snatch the heads right off of your sleeping chickens. Total cost: $50+
6. Predators love the smell of chickens. Clean your yard, coop, and roosting area with a sweet smelling deterrent that is safe for chickens.
7. When all else fails have your husband pee in the area often marking the trees. (I know this sounds bad but sometimes it can deter wolves by them smelling "man scent" (our fellas are just musky like that) Total cost: Free
8. Predator alert boxes- which is box you hook on your trees with a red motion sensor laser that comes on and scares the animals whenever there is movement. (In my area if an animals sees the box after a few months isn't really going to hurt it then it comes back into the area making it eventually useless.) Total cost: $25
9. Trap it. Using raw chicken from the grocery store as bait move the trap pen away from the chickens and near the outskirts of the garden area and cover it with a tarp so the animal can't see it is a trap with only the door uncovered. (You may need to wait almost a week for the chicken to get smelly for the animal to come looking for it.) Then either call wildlife services to rehome the animal or a home vet to euthanize it so it doesn't do further harm. Total cost:$95+ ($50 for trap- $45+ for home vet and I can assure you that if you are sick and disgusted with the animal by now this is the fastest and easiest way to go.
10. Let your family dog roam the area where the chickens are to protect from predators. (Dogs must have all vaccinations including Rabies) Cost:$75
11. Buy wolf pee in small capsules you can tie around tree branches and let hang. Raccoons hate this smell and will stay away. Cost:$25 (doesn't last long-may be a few rain showers wears it down a bit)

Tags: Chicken protection, Predators, Wolves, Raccoons, Chicken coops, Chicken care, Free range chickens

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