Getting to know your everyday chicken predators

  1. chicken4prez
    Please note: This article is still in progress. Thanks.

    So everyone has a chicken pest problem. We have had it more then once and it's not pretty. Some predators like to take it away or eat it there or don't eat it at all and kill for fun. Today I'm going to show and tell you about your common chicken pests and how to get rid of them.

    Dogs
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    Dogs usually don't eat chickens but they love to chase them. I've had a couple of dogs chase our chickens and they thankfully didn't kill anyone but I have heard of dogs eating chickens. Here is a helpful article on BYC that tells you the easiest way to get rid of them: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/dealing-with-dogs-who-kill-chickens
    The other problem is that when chickens see dogs they start freaking out and running everywhere. This makes dogs even more exited and they start to chase them.

    Badgers
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    Badgers are incredibly strong and if they are hungry, they have been known to tear off wooden panels of chicken houses that aren’t secure and tear open pop holes to get to chickens. They will usually kill and take one bird but might come back for a second. They usually work alone. Like most of these predators I would recommend at least one light on your chicken coop. We have a solar power light and we haven't had a night predator since.


    Cougars
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    My cousins have a cougar around their house and they do eat chickens. Like I said with the other predators I would highly recommend a light around the fence or your coop. Here is a website that tells you the easiest way to get rid of these huge creatures: http://www.ehow.com/how_7731175_rid-bobcat-cougar.html
    These tips work great for other big cats as well.

    Coyotes
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    We've never had a coyote kill one of our chickens but I have heard of them eating chickens. Wolves generally hunt in packs. Coyotes may sometimes hunt singly or in pairs. However, you will probably rarely actually see any take your birds. They tend to avoid humans, so the evidence they leave will be remarkably similar. Wolves and coyotes are fairly uncommon predators of chickens, so you are unlikely to have predation by these creatures. They tend to avoid areas of human habitation, wolves especially. Plus, since they hunt at night, if your birds are securely locked in their coop, you will probably have no problems with them. With that said, if there is a food shortage in their area and they get hungry, it is possible they might venture out in the day time. Double check that any wire mesh on your coop is securely attached, because if they want in, wolves and coyotes will simply muscle through areas with weak points. They will find holes in your fence, or areas where the fence does not meet the ground. They can jump low fences 4 feet tall, and sometimes higher, but they will rarely climb a very tall fence. To exclude wolves and coyotes, be sure your fence is strong and 5 1/2 or 6 feet tall. For further security from digging, make sure to bury the fence about a foot deep, or to create an apron. Small runs may be completely enclosed on the bottom to keep your flock safe from diggers.

    Fox
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    I've lost a hen to a fox once and they kill so fast.


    Hawks or Eagles
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    These sharp-clawed birds are a huge problem for a chicken coop. They usually kill one bird at a time but they will probably come back the next day for more. Hawks and eagles usually kill the same but eagles are stronger. There isn't really an easy way to get rid of these large birds because most laws say that you can't kill them but BB guns work for scaring them away and just being down at your coop often scares big birds away. Crows aren't a problem for chickens because they have a different diet so don't mistake crows for hawks or eagles because core actually help scare away hawks and eagles. You can use decoys to scare away these birds and I have heard other people use decoys.

    Owls
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    Owls can wipe out your whole coop at once. My cousins had a coop under their trampoline and an owl got in it and it killed everything. Decoys work great for scaring owls away and a good, hardy coop. If you let your chickens out then make sure you lock them up when it gets dark.

    Opossum
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    These smart animals can kill your whole coop at once. I don't think that we've ever lost a chicken to a possum but I know that it's very common. Again, lights and traps work the best for these nocturnal animals. Here's some tips for getting rid of these creatures: http://www.wildlife-removal.com/possumproblems.htm

    Raccoon
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    These are probably #1 on my chicken predator list. Raccoons are everywhere and love killing and eating chickens. It depends if they will take out your whole coop but if they kill one they will most likely come back for more. Traps work the best for these creatures and again, lots of lights. We have had a coon get our chickens countless times and one of the ways we get rid of them are spraying vinegar on old pieces of clothe because apparently most nighttime predators don't like the smell of vinegar. This has proved successful as we have not had a raccoon in a couple of years.


    Rats
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    Rats will generally only prey on chicks and eggs, but if you have a serious infestation and food is scarce, they can also raid your coop at night and attack your juvenile and adult birds. Rats kill by biting the head or neck, like those from the weasel family. You can put rat poison out but you have to be careful because the chickens might eat it.


    Weasels
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    Weasels are a terrible problem for chicken owners. They will most likely kill your whole coop and if not they will come back. The easiest way to get rid of them in traps and lots of lights. Obviously lights aren't going to kill them but most night hunters hate light.


    Please note: This article is still in progress. Thanks.

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    About Author

    chicken4prez
    I'm a Christian homeschooled teenager who lives in Canada with 40 amazing chickens! I also have 3 cats, 4 budgies, and 1 fish. I have a wonderful life!

Comments

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  1. chicken4prez
    Sorry this article is taking so long! I'm really busy. It still might be a bit till this gets finished.
  2. Cluckcluck1215
    But this looks like its gonna be good when it's finished!
  3. Cluckcluck1215
    Aww, lily!I was going to wright a predator article for the article contest!
  4. chicken4prez
  5. Chicken Girl1
    Excited for it to be finished!

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