How Do You Protect Your Chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tackyrama, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. tackyrama

    tackyrama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    OK, I know this subject can be controversial so lets keep it cool. I want to say right away that I got a little carried away when I responded to a member who also got carried away in the methods she used. I sincerely apologize.
    I have a new coop this summer with a free range flock.https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=14471-coop-layout
    I would really like to know what methods work. I personally will not kill any predator except maybe a possum which are not native to our area anyway. The way I look at it for the great majority of us, chickens are a luxury. For predators it's a matter of survival for them and their young ones. I'm sure they need that chicken a lot more than I do.

    The trouble is chickens are just so darn lovable but they are just one of God's creatures as is a chicken hawk. When you get right down to it we (humans) are also predators. Unless you happen to be a vegatarian. In the modern world we just have someone else do our killing for us.

    So what works or doesn't work for you?
     
  2. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    First off, I have an electric fence. I use motion light and nosie makers on sensors. I keep a radio on in every coop. There are times when I need to use much more force than that, at those times I have two friends that answre the call (Smith & Wesson). I hope you are never put in position where you need this extra help. But if a large predator (bear or moutian lion) is after your chickens you will run to help them. At that time the bear is going to come after you. That is the time you have a choice, the bear or you. When that happens here the bear doesn't have a chance. Or any predator for that matter.
     
  3. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    I have buried wire mesh all around my runs to try and prevent predators for burrowing in. Additionally, I have a hot wire surrounding all of it. Fortunately, bears, wolves and mountain lions aren't in my area so I can only speak about the smaller predators that are responsible to the majority of poultry losses; skunks, weasels, fox, coyotes and coons. The buried wire with the addition of a hot wire works.
     
  4. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    Here's my set up. Everything has hardware cloth. There is hardware cloth on the bottom of the hen house as well. Our real threat here are raccoons. I suspect we get visitors nightly checking to make sure we locked it all up tight. The first night the chooks spent in their hen house I heard a huge loud thumping on our roof, and when I let the dogs into the back yard they had a fit. My beagle followed its route and the raccoon had circled the entire coop. It's covered with chicken wire at the highest points, with hardware cloth over the space that is lower and underneath our rhodies. My dogs haven't been able to get into the run, either. The locks are padlocks, raccoons will figure out almost anything else. So far, so good. I only free range the girls when I am here to check on them in the backyard. A neighbor had a raccoon trying to get to her chickens mid day. If you free range, you will lose some. But, I think you know that. Make sure they have good cover and a rooster should help as well. I also won't kill any predators (we are urban, and it would be pointless anyhow, more would just fill the vacancy) so it was on us to build it as secure as we could for the predators we know we have. Now, mind you, we don't have bears. It's really just raccoons and possums. I'd research your local predators and build accordingly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  5. tackyrama

    tackyrama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    Thanks for the replies. My coop is actually the fort knox of chicken coops. It has a cement floor and steel siding outside and in. From what I was told about racoons I now know my weak spot. I have simple barrel bolts on the exit doors. Its seems this may be too easy for racoons so I will have to come up with something better.

    Had a close call tonight with a possum. We came home half an hour after dark from an unexpected absence. The coop doors were wide open as we had left them. We let the dogs out right away and in just a few minutes they had a possum treed. I shook it down and let them finish the critter off. All the chickens are present and accounted for. I don't feel bad about the possum as they are not native to our area and nobody around here likes them getting established. That is the only predator I will kill. The chickens will just have to take their chances free ranging and me and the dogs will just have to be more alert.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. 12 Acres

    12 Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    Oak Harbor, OH
    It really depends on a person's location. Obviously, someone in the 'burbs is going to use different methods than someone in the sticks would. I live in the sticks and my birds free range all day. I keep a .22 rifle handy for varmints and a 12 gauge shotgun for bigger varmints. My neighbors understand that I will shoot their dog if she molests my birds. I would expect the same if the tables were turned. These people are my cousins too. Fortunately, she's a good dog and doesn't show interest in them. It may sound tough, but that's how we roll out here in the boonies.

    I keep a live trap baited and set at all times of the year. Any predators (coon, feral cat, possum, skunk) that get caught feed the turkey vultures the next day. No exceptions. My birds are an investment and they feed my family. I will accept losses to raptors because of my deep admiration for them, their plight, and their federal protection status. Anything else better be prepared to meet its maker though. [​IMG]

    The chickens' run is 20 x 22 feet and made of 2' x 4" wire. I'm not stupid enough to think that it will protect them from the coyotes around here. It is only meant to contain them in the evening before roosting time. My birds are locked up securely at night. I have already accepted that I may lose a few birds now and then to predators. It's part of country living.
     
  7. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    Quote:This made me [​IMG] out loud. I'm glad I'm not the only one that says it!


    Our run isn't Fort Knox, that's for sure. I still need quite a bit of wire and cement to finish it up... however, our barn's pretty tight and the pop door itself is hard for ME to lift, so a raccoon is screwed for sure. I do need to get some welded wire on my windows though... [​IMG]
     
  8. 12 Acres

    12 Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    Oak Harbor, OH
    Alright Shellie! *high five* [​IMG]
     
  9. tackyrama

    tackyrama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    I like your attitude 12 acres. I may have to get a little more hard headed. I feel the same way about raptors. By the way, possums are TOUGH. My dogs couldn't finish it off so I relocated it. Ozzie and Jack (my small dogs)will have to toughen up!
     
  10. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I free range my birds during the day but at night they are locked in the coop but far from fort knox and in 2 years i haven't lost one chicken to a predator altho i know i am running the risk in doing so. I have seen hawks, eagles, loose hunting dogs,possum and racoons as well as stray cats who actually like hanging out with the chickens. I feel very fortunate to have been without casualties thus far. I feel that the chickens are much happier when they free range rather then being locked up in a run where the vegitation is unavailable (i tried that when i first began raising chickens as pets) Not that there is anything wrong with having them in a run. There is a pellet gun by the back door but i have never tried to use it. If i loose a few chickens to predators thats the price they had to pay to have such a wonderful free life, it would be no different if they were living in the wild. I would be sad but i would get over it. Everyone around here LOVES seeing the chickens run free in the yard and i wouldn't have it any other way. My chickens, My choice [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008

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