Lost another flock!!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Dec 8, 2010
Bonsall, CA
Well, I just lost 9 more birds today. Seems like I plump them and the coyotes eat them! I lock my birds in a coop at night. During the day they free range. First 4 chickens were taken out by a neighbors dog. Secon flock of six was fine for a year. Then my dog died and shortly there after coyotes ate all of them. Early FebI started 9 more. Coyotes ate all 9 today. Great Pyr 7month puppy apparently slept through the carnage. Okay, so it's time to get serious about coyote control. I only want chickens if they can free range around the property; they love it...until the day they get eaten...

The previous owner kept sheep and he electrified the fence to control coyotes. I removed it when I moved in but now I'm going to put something back up. Anybody have recommendations between bare wire and poly wire for coyote control?

Free ranging flocks in the face of predators can be challenging. I do free-range rearing with multiple flocks on what are called walks.

Mobility of chickens and wIld predators is not limited by fences but when fences are in place they can contain my dog(s) and exclude the dogs of others. If you introduce a chicken freindly dog with such a fenced-in option you will also be able to exclude most if not all predators that would otherwise go through fence.

Manage your land to provide more cover so birds can avoid detection by predators and refuges so birds can fly / run to them when predators do call. The refuges will not / need not work every time to greatly reduce losses.

Another option is to use gamechickens, specifically old english or American game. They are wiley about predators and can fly well enough to evade predators if refugia are close. They do not produce as many eggs.

Best option for me involves multiple options above used. When done properly birds can live very happy and productive lives. Some hens so maintained can live to be several years of age.
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You say that you don't want chickens unless they can free range, yet how kind is it to allow them to be eaten?! I would rather protect my chickens, which I do, who sure probably would love to free range our pasture and pick through the horse manure piles, but, because I am their owner it is my responsibility to protect them from harm as well as I can. Our chickens are in a 100ftx100ft pen, they are safe from the foxes that come through our property and I have only lost 2 to a hawk, who's days are numbered if they keep hanging around. We have already shot a fox who also realized that we have chickens and was caught a few feet from our chicken yard. There is nothing wrong with containing them in a large pen.

However, if you can't protect them properly, and hot wire and or barbed wire isn't going to do it, then don't have any. As now that the coyotes and other wildlife know you have a walking buffet, they will come back for the easy pickings.
I keep a radio on 24/7 on a talk station...The coyotes, and fox and other predators will not come up to humans talking.....It will not keep Hawks away though....Good luck...mine only free range when I am home to watch them.~Charm1704
We have a radio on and a scare crow dressed in our cloths that we move around....We very rarely loose any adults, and they free range all day and we live way out in the country and they have been fine for two years but I have the hardest time getting the biddies up to that age....I cannot figure it out, we do have dogs that tend to be our biggest problem and will wipe out several at a time if they free range...so I moved the babies to a yard beside the house with small wire (two sides of the yard is the house as our house is L shaped...and did not loose even one until yesterday? I'm thinking either a hawk which I did not see but that does not mean anything or one of the babies flew up the hose (which was over the fence to fill the duck pool) and I had seen one babies sitting on it...and as soon as it was on the other side was eaten....by maybe the cat? the cat likes to sit by the free range yard chickens (some banies) and had never ate one, but when he sits next to the baby chick yard he will run at them and act like he just might eat one if he could catch it...they are bigger than the banies are so I though that they would be fine, but they are still babies and make thous baby sounds that pr editors seem to love so much and maybe are not intimidating enough? But we did see a fox at the edge of our yard a few weeks ago.... I don't know what happened but I am sitting by the window "on watch" to see if it happens again today....I would rather it be the cat than anything wild...as the cat cannot get into the fence and does not even try, so as long as I am careful about that hose till the babies finish growing up I should be fine....if it is a hawk...well, I'll try fishing line over the yard...they cannot see it and I hear if they get tangled in it once they will never come back. Foxes and Coyotes are my biggest fear, they just keep coming back, unless you do something about it, luckily most of our neighbors have outside packs of dogs....the neighbors are still quite far away but their dogs help alot, and a fence will keep them out of our property (I need to get on that)....and I raise great Danes, they are inside dogs but do have free access to an outside 3 acer yard right beside the chicken yard and nothing and I mean nothing goes near that! I keep thinking I'll make a run around our whole property for our dogs to patrol, as they love to patrol and we have 7-9 at most times :) lets see anything get past them :) .... and we may just do that before I allow my ducks and geese to go free range at the pond...it is further away from the house and dogs and is much more dangerous!
If you free range birds, then something is going to have a good opportunity to eat them. Losing 9 in one day and losing 3 entire flocks, every bird, I suspect that free ranging is not going to work for you in your area.
I keep a radio on 24/7 on a talk station...The coyotes, and fox and other predators will not come up to humans talking.....It will not keep Hawks away though....Good luck...mine only free range when I am home to watch them.~Charm1704

I wish that were true but the one time we saw a coyote and then a fox 4 days later, we had talk radio playing both times! And our neighbor was building his shed, hammering away, making a lot of noise. We live in a remote area so I'd be surprised if the animals were comfortable with humans. More so they haven't encountered enough to be frightened.

To the OP - Free ranging birds unattended by a human is only asking for trouble. An electric fence is a good start. For your future birds, I hope you find a good solution. It's not fair to keep letting chickens die a terrifying death because you want a situation to be the way you want it and not the way it should be to keep your birds safe.
So far so good. My Great Pyr and Golden Retreiver are a bit older and doing a their job. Okay, mostly the Great Pyr. The golden retreiver likes to "play" with the rooster and the great pyr comes over and distracts the golden retreiver so he forgets about it. Rather interesting to watch. Like redirecting a childs behavior.

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