Abby67

Hatching
Sep 12, 2019
2
1
4
We've lost 3 chicks/ducks this summer. We're in western New York for reference... The first we know was a hawk, but in the last week we've lost a duck with no signs of a struggle other than my very distressed flock, and a hen from my favorite flock. With the hen, there was a pile of feathers and obvious sign of struggle. My husband followed the trail across our property, our neighbors, and into his neighbors...
At first I thought it was a fox, but our neighbor says theres been a lot of bear activity in the past few days. For one, he was chased up a tree stand by a young male bear last week. Today he spotted a different young bear on his land, and two others on his trail cams. We've had them back in our berry patch, but never near the house/coop.
The girls have been on lockdown until we figure out whats going on, but my worry is that it's getting close to winter and the bears are trying to get that last bit of food before they hunker down. If the bear is coming near the house, will he try to break into the coop? Has anyone had experience with this? The hens are in a coop, slightly raised off the ground. I'd like to think it's secure. The ducks are in a semi-protected run. The walls come about 3-4 feet off the ground, and the rest is chicken wire.
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,786
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626
Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
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I am highly skeptical it was a bear that got your hen.
Fox or coyote would be my guess.
I purchased one game camera from amazon for 49.00 and free shipping that takes still photos and video clips, and has audio. But i have 7 cameras all together.
The fox, bobcat and coyote come close to the coop and house during the day.
Racoon possum, skunk and porcupine get there pictures taken at night.
The bear pictures only get captured on the 2 cameras out in the woods farthest from the house.
I have my cameras on 2 week rotation as far as switching out clips and viewing photos.
Its nice to know exactly what is out there.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,285
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St. Louis, MO
I concur with what has been said thus far. Sounds like some investment is in order.
One or more game/trail cams and more importantly, electric fencing.
Chicken wire won't even keep a raccoon or big dog out, let alone a bear. If it were a bear and it was determined, almost any coop could be ripped apart. Properly selected and installed electric fencing will keep the bear away from the coops. There are animals it may not completely prevent, like mink.
 

blackandtan

Crowing
Aug 30, 2016
906
4,051
297
Thunder Bay Ontario canada
Yes bears will break into a coop....one of my customers had a bear get into hers and kill/eat all the eggs, all the chicks, and most of the hens before she was stopped...
0C14D44A-833D-4BE6-AA74-7F300A6E0A60.jpeg
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,598
39,717
1,106
southern Michigan
Game cameras are a big help, but realize that every predator will arrive sometime, and build accordingly.
We've all had losses, and learned, and upgraded our coops and runs over time.
Electric fencing, properly set up, and baited at first, will keep out many ground predators, including bears.
Premier1supplies has good products and advice, and @Howard E on this site has excellent advice on set-ups too.
Mary
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,786
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Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
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I must say that an acquaintance of mine has many bee hives and sells honey at farmers markets and told me he set up 6 strand heavy gauge wire 6 ft tall compactly around his hives and the bears over and over utterly destroyed his fence. He used high power electricity and had his electric fence within another fence to keep people away from the danger. He started trapping the bears in live traps provided by the dnr. The bears continued to destroy his fences and hives. He caught so many they told him they were tired of dealing with it.
I think your chickens are less if an enticement than honey comb.
 

Abby67

Hatching
Sep 12, 2019
2
1
4
Thanks for all the input! We've got a few trail cams out, so we'll see whats out there. I just find it odd that the black bears are so active right now. They typically keep to themselves. The snow is about to fly here, so I think it's just a hungry time before winter sets in. For now we'll just be more cognizant about letting the girls out when we're home. Thanks again!
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
28,423
25,409
881
Florida
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My Coop
:welcome :frow I don't have a problem with bears but have about every other predator. I know my electric wire works. I have seen places around my pens where probably a coyote maybe a fox or bobcat have started to dig but quit after coming in contact with the electric wire. On some occasions I have heard a critter come in contact. The fence charger is the most important, the more joules the bigger the zap. My chick coop has a .5 joule charger and it's zap is more like a good bee sting. My fence charger on my outer coops is 1.2 joules and when I have touched that wire, it has made my heart skip a few beats. @Howard E has written a very good thread on types of electric wire (fence). Well worth the read.

Bears want the grain/feed more than the chickens.
HOT wire...start here:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-treatise-on-electric-fencing.1117877/
These are the AC fence chargers I have. No complaints.
Zareba 10 Mile DC Charger.jpg patrioFenceCharger.jpg
 

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