Land of the Predators - non chicken blood pic...

Dec 2, 2020
My chickens will soon be living on an 80 acre mountain property.

Fairly rural. A few neighbors within a mile. I plan to free range.

I have black bears, a periodic mountain lion, bald eagles and various hawks and osprey roaming the property. We do have wolves in the area. I’ve seen them frequently elsewhere, but only suspected tracks. I’m not a wildlife biologist, but 3 friends are. Two state fish and game and one fed. They can’t agree on if it is wolves or not.

The folks I bought the property from live 10 miles away. The husband had to shoot a griz that charged him after killing their hogs.

I know the birds of prey will be an issue. How do chickens deal with wolves, bears and mt lions?

Bonus pics of possible wolf vs grouse below:


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I know the birds of prey will be an issue. How do chickens deal with wolves, bears and mt lions?
Although my personal experience is reduced to foxes, martins, goshawks, raccoons, weasels, eagles, owls, raccoon dogs and wolves, I venture to say they will have a hard time to survive the predators in your area unless kept in a predator proof run.

Maybe some kind of a more feral chicken breed will survive longer, as they would be able to fly up into the trees.
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While that is a huge amount of property, chickens usually only free range within a few acres of their coop, so you could place this close to your house as a deterrent. Besides the obvious answer of no free ranging, I think you have a few options. You could get a livestock guardian dog who lives with them (e.g., great Pyrenees), you could run an electric perimeter wire that the chickens can walk under, but should deter larger animals, or you could simply get a very large flock and expect a certain percentage of loss each year. You may have more or less loss than you expect and it could become sustainable in your view. Flightier birds that can fly up into the trees will help. I also suggest locking them in a coop every night.
I know the birds of prey will be an issue. How do chickens deal with wolves, bears and mt lions?
Chickens dont deal with preditors. Mostly they are killed.
Your flock will be dependent on you and your husband to put protective measures in place for them. Sturdy coop, enclosed run, electric fence, guardian dog.....
If not I expect you will be chicken less in no time.
:welcome :frow Free ranging is a risk you take and you will loose some birds sooner or later. Electric wires can be your best friend. I don't see how you can be out with the birds every second to protect them. Predators will eventually discover your birds and lurk looking for opportunities and will most likely find them. You will probably not see many of the predators but they will see you. Lessons learned the hard way. I don't close the pop doors on the coops but nothing so far has penetrated. I have my pens covered with good heavy duty netting and concrete under the gates. I have electric wires around the coops and the nice large pens for my birds and nothing has messed with the wires. Once the predator gets zapped they don't test the wires again. I believe that once a predator gets zapped the adults teach the young that a chicken is not worth getting zapped. This may help. You need a good strong fence charger and a good ground for predators like bears, otherwise it's just a tickle to them. This will not work for aerial predators but will deter land predators. Good luck and have fun...

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