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Is there anything that will protect my chickens/rabbits?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Majikthise, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Majikthise

    Majikthise In the Brooder

    Aug 19, 2013
    For example a donkey protects cows from predators. Is there anything that will coexist with my chickens and protect them?

    Our rooster just disappeared yesterday, feathers everywhere... and our barn cat was walking around the coop. I think he may be the culprit but we have had both cats and chickens for a few months with no problems. I was just assuming that if it were a coyote that the cat probably would not be hanging around.

    I cannot keep them locked up all of the time that just seems cruel but the predators are just never-ending out here. Neighbors let their dogs roam, stray cats, hawks, raccoons, coyotes not to mention if one of our dogs gets loose and now possibly our cats. Poor birds will never get to free range unless we are standing out there with them :(

    I have a neighbor with guinea fowl that he lets free range and they have never been eaten. Are they just smarter birds or would his donkey protect them too?

    Sorry, I am a bit stressed about loosing our bird. RIP Punky Rooster

  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I'd be stunned if it was the cat. I've had cats go after small chicks but never a grown bird. My best guess would be a fox - they hunt during the day, can climb fences, and will carry off the whole bird. Raccoons also can climb and have dexterity in their fingers that allow them to open any door or lock a toddler could open, but they tend to behead and leave remains.

    Dogs may be your best bet, if you have dogs that are poultry safe. Many people swear by the Livestock Guardian Breeds (Maremma, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian, Akbash and a few others) but I've had good success with two 40lb mutts whom I selected after they proved themselves to be poultry safe. They sleep in a dog igloo in the chicken yard at night and the chickens free-range during the day, with the dogs a constant presence. Although the dogs are not specifically livestock guardians - i.e., they don't know that's what they are doing - their presence acts as a deterrent to would-be predators.

    I'm sorry for your loss. Sad to say, if it was a fox, now that he knows where to find food, he will be back.
  3. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    Locking them up isn't as cruel as having the neighbor's dog, stray cats, hawks, raccoons, coyotes not to mention your own dogs kill them.
    That's what you have to do if you want to keep them alive.
  4. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Songster

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    I agree with Chickenlegs, if you choose to free range you have to be prepared to have some losses, any guardian animal is not going to be guaranteed 100% effective against all comers though in the right setup they can certainly improve the situation. I use a combination of strong coop and run with netting over the top to keep chickens in and birds of prey out, and a 12 gauge shotgun while the chickens occasionally free range under supervision.
  5. MommaChicken3

    MommaChicken3 In the Brooder

    Jan 21, 2014
    Wauconda, Illinois
    Agree with bluecoon. My boyfriend is always waiting with a shotgun. We had 25 girls, down to 8. They swept my flock out in 2 days. Needless to say my boyfriend is mad! He loves those birds like I do. And the foxes and coyotes seem to come around more often in the fall. Right before the weather gets cold and food becomes scarce for them.
  6. Majikthise

    Majikthise In the Brooder

    Aug 19, 2013
    Y'all are right of course. I think they will be fine just locked up. We have 2 dog runs that we keep 4 chickens and 2 rabbits in. One is an open run and the other run has a roof and is completely closed, they are connected and there is fence on the floor of both so nothing can dig up and through and the rabbits have a hutch (outside of these runs) and the chickens have a coop (also outside of the run) should I just clip their wings so they do not fly the runs? Or maybe it would be best to get bird netting to go on top of the open run.

    We may have to get a new run just for the rabbits b/c we went to a poultry auction yesterday and I do not know how these older chickens will do with the rabbits. Our previous birds were small when we got them and they coexisted just fine.

    Thank BYC for existing or else I would never know what to do with the eggs my 7 year old accidentally bought us... or the chicks and chickens for that matter.

    We got two hens and a rooster all quarantined for now, but I think the set up will have to change when they do go in with the others.

    I am a bit worried b/c our hen is now solo in the coup. I was thinking about taking the silkie out to friend our hen when the time comes and just do one at a time after that. What do you think? Maybe save the rooster for last?

    [​IMG] I am not worthy. thank you all for your help. Ima totally get a shotgun now
  7. lovingmyhens

    lovingmyhens Songster

    Oct 20, 2013
    Katy, tx
    I've heard to let them roost together at night and separate during they day, for a few days. Then a little during the day adding more time together daily. Hope it goes well!

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