Do bears eat chickens??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Lothiriel, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Lothiriel

    Lothiriel Crowing Premium Member

    Aug 30, 2007
    New York State
    My Coop
    Yesterday we heard from our neighbor who lives just down our road that a big black bear came to parents' house (just a little further down) and tore down their bird feeders and ate all the honey from their beehives. He said that the footprints were huge. I got scared - of course - that maybe bears eat chickens... I have already lost so many chickens to foxes and hawks - do I have to worry about bears now too? During spring/summer/fall I let my girls free-range. But if there are bears roaming around loose, I don't feel comfortable letting them do that.

    So my main question is this: do bears really eat chickens? Or, like the neighbors said, would chickens be too fast for a bear to catch easily?

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  2. jbowyer01

    jbowyer01 Just Me!

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hogansville, Georgia
    I've read on BYC of individuals having problems with bears breaking into their coops and killing their chickens.
  3. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    Does this answer the question - Does a bear poop in the woods? Apparently the answer is yes...chicken. A bear not fast enough? Never seen animal planet or national geographic! Saw a grizzly chase down an elk calf...COOL!
  4. Tn Gamebirds

    Tn Gamebirds Songster

    Sorry to say, but yes bears will eat chickens
  5. Lothiriel

    Lothiriel Crowing Premium Member

    Aug 30, 2007
    New York State
    My Coop
    Ooooookaaayyy... well, thanks folks for letting me know for sure. I just hope the bear doesn't know that they are here... they're inside - don't like coming out in cold weather. [​IMG]
    *sigh* Why did those people have to dump those bears here? Couldn't they have picked someplace else? Oh well. [​IMG]
  6. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    New Durham NH
    We have a large male black bird in our area, we saw him a lot this spring until I got the nerve to let my dogs out after him. (I have BIG smart dogs who never got too close, just barked and chased) We havent seen him since.

    However, during the times when he cam by on a weekly basis to rip down my feeders, I was in touch with my local wildlife dept, and asked questions. He told me that most healthy bears will not bother free range chickens during the day. Too much effort for too little return. Daytime Cooped, or high concentrations easily scooped might be at risk. (but he had never heard of it in 20 years of service) At night however, any active bear is a hunting bear. Make sure your coop is sturdy, and relatively bear proof (Ha ha ha) at least resistant until you can get there.

    I installed a cheap baby monitor during this time, and have gotten so used to it, that I keep it in my room, and take great comfort in the fact that I would hear any major disturbance! Our guy told us that it was a very minnimal risk, but simple precautions were wise.

    Remove or secure any potential food sources...Bird seed, feed, trash, grain, chickens.

    security lights that are motion activated tend to spook most acclimated bears.

    Have a a noise maker, blank bullets, fireworks, or bear spray handy for those late night moments.

    Contact your authorities if he becomes a regular, they have the numbers of people with special dogs that can come and drive the bear away, or in worse case shoot or relocate a problem bear.

    Be vigilant, and cautious when you go out at night for a late night check on your lil ones, you dont want to startle him yourself! Eeeep!

    Good Luck!!
  7. Lothiriel

    Lothiriel Crowing Premium Member

    Aug 30, 2007
    New York State
    My Coop
    Thanks, chickenpiedpiper! I'll tell my parents about those ideas. We have an old baby monitor laying around here, so maybe that would be something we could put in the coop. I think the coop is pretty well made and bear-proof. The "back room" definitely isn't. It's like a solar room on the south side of the coop and sends heat into the coop when the sun shines well on it. It is made out of that heavy duty plastic stuff. [​IMG] It covers the trap door and window, so if the bear ever came around and tore it off, he'd be able to tear off the trap door too.

    I hope he's healthy... LOL "Here's to your health, Mr. Bear!! Keep it long and don't get sick!" And stay away from my chickens....
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  8. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member 10 Years

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    I think the Alaskan BYCers use electric fencing to keep the bears away.
  9. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

    Nov 12, 2008
    EVERYTHING but VEGANS eat chicken![​IMG]
  10. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    If you see him, scare him. Hoot, hollar, and yell. Throw things at him. Shoot him with paintballs or rubber bullets. If you scare the thing enough, it won't bother hanging around long enough to mess with your birds.
    I've got a local 600lber myself. Lovesssss garbage. [​IMG]

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