Any advice on anticipating coyotes and how to deter them?

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
131
196
Minnesota
I've raised chickens for eight years in the pure wilderness of Minnesota in a very safe, secure coop that was designed to prevent all kinds of predators. I've never had a single chicken taken by a predator, and we live where there have been wolves, hawks, falcons, eagles, foxes, coyotes, and even bears.

So today, I was down by the house watering my garden at about 3:00 in the afternoon. I suddenly heard all of the chickens start squawking and making such a racket that I ran up the hill to check on them. I didn't see anything at first, but I heard a rustling in the leaves by the fence (the coop is surrounded on three sides by a thicket/forest) and saw an animal running away. It looked to be canine, so I thought it was a fox, but then it turned back and looked at me, and I could see it was obviously a coyote. It was long gone by the time I returned with my bow and arrow, but I was so worried it would come back that I spent an hour no more than 100 feet away from the coop. Feeling glad that I got two roosters to protect the flock.

I confused because I've never had coyotes bother the chickens before, and I've never seen one in that general area either. Luckily there was no damage, so I think the coyote was just prowling around. Still scared the chickens half to death, poor things. I know coyotes are opportunistic animals, but it strikes me odd that it would attack during the afternoon since they are generally nocturnal

Will the coyote come back? If so, how soon? Any products I could use to prevent an attack or discourage them? Thanks in advance.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,897
33,237
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Do your chickens free range? Do they have a run attached to their coop? If they do free range and have the benefit of a run attached to their coop, I'd get them in there and lock them up for at least a couple of weeks to discourage the coyote. Is there electricity accessible to your run? If so, you can put a few strands of electric wire around your run to further discourage it from nosing around. I lost several birds in a very short time one afternoon to a coyote. It took my rooster and several hens. (I'm sure the rooster was taken first, but a rooster is no match for a coyote - just a speed bump to get out of the way before it starts on the rest of the flock. The only thing left of my rooster was one of his tail feathers.) We were on vacation, my mom was taking care of the birds. I asked her to let them out to free range. She was over around noon, all was well. She was over around 3:00, the rooster and 4 or 5 hens were gone. Vanished. Just one tail feather from the rooster.
 

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
131
196
Minnesota
Do your chickens free range? Do they have a run attached to their coop? If they do free range and have the benefit of a run attached to their coop, I'd get them in there and lock them up for at least a couple of weeks to discourage the coyote. Is there electricity accessible to your run? If so, you can put a few strands of electric wire around your run to further discourage it from nosing around. I lost several birds in a very short time one afternoon to a coyote. It took my rooster and several hens. (I'm sure the rooster was taken first, but a rooster is no match for a coyote - just a speed bump to get out of the way before it starts on the rest of the flock. The only thing left of my rooster was one of his tail feathers.) We were on vacation, my mom was taking care of the birds. I asked her to let them out to free range. She was over around noon, all was well. She was over around 3:00, the rooster and 4 or 5 hens were gone. Vanished. Just one tail feather from the rooster.
My chickens have a large, fenced-in run with wire fencing that's pretty secure. They were in there at the time, and the coyote didn't do any damage to the fence, so I'm assuming he was just prowling around, looking for a way in.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,454
18,031
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
Consider putting a little hot-wire around the coop / run to stop coyote from probing. Coyote may very well be coming in after rodents supported by your chicken feed although a chicken will be taken if opportunity presents itself. You do not want coyote digging for rodents around coop to accidentally dig its way into run area.
 

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
131
196
Minnesota
How tall is 'pretty tall' in feet?
What is top wired with?
Do you have anti dig mesh apron around the bottom of run walls?
Fence is about five feet tall. The top is wired with the same fencing as the sides, which is standard 1" by 2" welded wire. We don't have an anti-dig mesh apron.
 

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