Follow these steps to insure your hen's safety!

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JuniorTheHen

In the Brooder
Dec 19, 2019
6
11
22
Being a chicken keeper, things can get difficult when predators are around. Recently, there has been a fox problem and is an ongoing worry for any owner of chickens. There are several ways to protect your chickens, but here are the most effective ways to ensure your safety over predators e.g foxes.

1) Raise your coop above the ground - If you raise the hen's actual bedroom about 2 meters off the ground, it will provide safety from foxes at night. Foxes can jump as high as 61 centimeters and raccoons can jump as high as 155 centimeters. If you raise your coop over 2 meters off the ground, it will ensure that a predator will fail in its attempt of dinner. Do this and lock your chickens in the room that has been raised on a night and only let them out into the coop if you are present or if your coop has protection (fox-proof). This will also make sure that rats and snakes etc.. don't make themselves at home underneath the coop.

2) Welded Mesh - Chicken Wire is designed to keep chickens in, but it cannot keep the predators out. If you use chicken wire, the, for example, fox will tear through it like paper. Welded Mesh is a reinforced wire-fence that will keep the predators out. If you put the welded mesh down in the ground at least 1 ft-2 ft under, then the predators will not even think of digging that far down, due to the inability to locate the coop that far down. It also can withstand the predators slashes with its sharp claws, making it the perfect fencing-protection for your chickens.

3) Food - Making sure that you don't leave food on the floor can be vital to your hens protection. If you leave lots of food on the floor inside your coop, then foxes or raccoons etc.. will feel invited and will have a scent to follow. Avoid this by having the food inside coop on a hanging feeders. Place a box underneath the hanging feeders while you put some food into it to ensure that no food is scattered on the floor when absent from the coop, making it slightly harder for the fox or predator to locate it. (They may still be able to locate it)

4) Escaping NONO - Make sure that all holes or escape routes are closed off, so one of the hens doesn't escape. The hen may escape during the night and get caught by the fox, so doing this s vital. DO NOT LEAVE CHICKENS OUT AT NIGHT!

5) Having a guard - You may of considered having a guard dog to protect the chickens while your out (look it up on how to do it or hire a trainer) but for the people who don't want a dog, you should have a dummy. Buy a mannequin or make a scarecrow in order to make the illusion to the predator that there is someone there. However, predators rely on their sense of smell and hearing, so place a radio (not a "walkie-talkie" a sports radio or something) next to the dummy. That solves the hearing, but what about the scent? Well, you may choose to rub meat all over the dummy, but the predator will think it is livestock. This is only for the willing, but you may need to wee on the dummy every so often to give it a human scent. The predator will sense the dummy's presence and run off. You may also choose to record your voice and put it on loop next to the dummy over the radio to not only scare off predators, but to comfort chickens.

6) Fox trap - Try installing a fox trap to get the predator before it is too late. Buy a live fox trap and put some food in it and place it down AT NIGHT! If you place it down when the chickens are out, then chances are one of the chickens will get trapped in it. If you place it down at night and leave it until you let them out, it will give your coop's security an extra boost. IF you did catch the predator, take it to a vet or a fox expert, but somewhere away from your chickens. Don't let it out near your hens!

If there are any questions, then feel free to ask them!
 

JuniorTheHen

In the Brooder
Dec 19, 2019
6
11
22
For those who don't understand the 'recent fox problem', basically my neighbors have told me that all 6 of their chickens have been......'caught' by a fox and have gone to little chicken heaven. This is the reason behind this post, as I want to help others protect their chickens!
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
1,688
5,507
377
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to the BYC forums :welcome

Protecting your backyard flock should be a concern to everybody who keeps poultry. Thank you for pointing out many good considerations.

I do, however, not understand the need to have a chicken coop 2 meters off the ground. For those of us in the USA, that is over 6 feet high! You would need a ladder just to get into a coop that is 2 meters high off the ground!

:old At my age, I don't want to be climbing a ladder to access my chicken coop. I think a more reasonable option would be to have a chicken coop that a fox cannot get into once locked up for the night. At least, that was my approach.
 

JuniorTheHen

In the Brooder
Dec 19, 2019
6
11
22
I see your point. That is only for those who have a raccoon problem. If there are foxes nearby, have it 1 meter off the ground.
Unless you have secure protection, I recommend at least 1.5 meters.
Thank you for your comment!
 

JuniorTheHen

In the Brooder
Dec 19, 2019
6
11
22
Understood. Unless you have a very well protected coop, i recommend this. Try placing electric fencing on the outside of their 'bedroom' and only turn it on at night to scare foxes away etc...
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
6,238
11,636
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
No need to elevate a coop at all, not for security. A well built coop with doors secured at night and all other vents/openings covered with 1/4" or 1/2" wire mesh should do the job against pretty much anything short of a very determined bear, regardless if it's on the ground or 2 meters in the air.

Also would help immensely for you to specify your general location as well as the actual predators you're dealing with, as everyone has different predators. For example, we have no foxes around, but maybe you don't have bobcats to deal with?

Regarding run fencing, you suggested welded mesh fencing, which is fine, but no specification as to wire opening size, and given that welded wire comes in many different sizes, you're possibly leaving things open for weasels, rats and mice to get in. You don't have a suggestion to cover the top of the run, which opens up the possibility of birds of prey (plus anything than can physically leap or climb a fence.
 

JuniorTheHen

In the Brooder
Dec 19, 2019
6
11
22
rosemarythyme thank you so much for your comment! I understand the need for additional security, and have checked out 'your coop'! You are right, it is more likely a better defense having a well built coop instead of elevating your coop. You can use the elevation to ward of rats and snakes etc.... The roof of your coop should be made out of thick plastic (1cm thick) and tilted at an angle of 46 degrees This will make the water flow down when raining and you can place guttering on the roof leading down to a bucket or something, creating a water supply for the chickens. Regarding the welded mesh, have the opening size about 1cm wide, and if you have a snake problem, slightly less.
I hope this has answered your question and if you have more, please ask! It's educating for all of us!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
72,735
76,910
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC! @JuniorTheHen
Curious, what's your experience with chicken keeping?
Might want to introduce yourself by looking at these questions and following the 'new thread' button:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/new-member-introductions-sample-questions-template.125892/

Oh, and.....
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
upload_2019-12-20_7-9-59.png
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,415
7,310
517
Western Ohio
Having a decently coop elevated helps with a few things: shade, water/moisture exposure, snakes/rodents. Ours is elevated approx 2’ above the ground, and the chickens hang out there in the shade. Nothing will make its home there either. When we get a lot of rain, the coop stays dry bc water cannot pool up anywhere. We built a deck for access to the coop, with a railing, but I would not want to have built it any higher for ease of access. A raccoon is a very agile animal and I’m not sure that any height will completely deter a raccoon.

electricity is a great thing to have for an e-fence. But, must remember the animal has to be touching the ground for effectiveness. Or there needs to be ground wire installed higher up (along with an electrified wire) for those climbing predators.

don’ t free range if you don’t want to feed the native population of animals. OR plan for replacements. Of course having a secure run available for the chickens to stay inside once a daytime predator has found them, is a very good idea.
 

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