Lost our FOURTH to a Coyote.... HELP

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by hokankai, May 31, 2012.

  1. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I am being worn very thin and about to let my flock die out because I'm so sick and tired of this. Over the two years that I've had chickens we've lost 4 to coyotes, the 4th being this afternoon. What usually happens is someone forgets to lock up the coop and they are taken when they leave the coop early in the morning. This time it was in the middle of the afternoon, RIGHT next to the run. She was off by herself too.

    I'm getting really sick and tired of this and need a solution. Our property is on an incline and is cut in half by a large creek going through it. 2 acres are cleared and the coop is down near-ish to the creek. The attacks take place in the SAME area every time down in the meadow by the coop. Our neighbor who has a coop near ours doesn't lose his chickens to coyotes and the only difference between his flock and ours is his stay up near the houses and they have a rooster. I'm planning on picking up a rooster this weekend and I really hope that makes a difference.

    Is fencing in the property the only solution there is?! We'd have to put a fence across half of our property which is super annoying. I like to have the girls free range and lately they've been staying up near the house where it's safe, but I guess Flo wandered too far by herself in that **** meadow. What else can I do?

    Here's what our property looks like from the deck...

    And the death trap

    And the girl who got taken today...poor Flo
  2. So very sorry for your loss.

    If it were me, I would try to get a coyote proof run, and only allow them to free-range when they were supervised. It seems drastic, but if the run was big enough, then they would adjust. There are also portable runs/chicken tractors that I think a coyote would be discouraged by.

    Here is one example:

    ETA - your place is so beautiful and green! Flo was a pretty hen too.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    If I understand that correctly, you let the birds out to free range.

    Free ranging is also known as "The free, all-you-can-eat buffet".

    Everything likes to eat chicken and if a predator discovers an easy chicken meal, they come back for more.

    In a contest between a coyote and a rooster, the rooster is never going to come out the winner. I suggest that you don't expect a rooster to defend your hens against coyotes.
  4. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I only let me chickens out for a couple hours a day only when we're home. I think the problem was that I let them out earlier than usual and went in to take a shower afterwards. They were still laying their eggs, so they weren't all together in a group.

    Either way, I'm looking into setting up an electric poultry fence so that they aren't really free-ranging, but have access to the grass while we're home. Their run is just gravel...not exciting. They can roam the yard when I'm out there with them.
  5. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Songster

    Jul 22, 2011
    Wright Co Minnesota
    Your property looks like a good home for predators. Not much you can do without drastic changes. I would remove as much low brush as possible. That is used by predators as a recon position to hide comfortably and wait for a target of opportunity. I would definately move the coop far from the creek. Surprised mink and coons haven't gotten inside. Waterways are natural travel corridors for predators. One solution I found that is marginally effective is to use mobile or reactive deterrents. In my horse pasture, I tied strips of flagging to the wire. Kept coyotes from hanging around the fence margins. Windchimes also help. They also make motion activated chirpers with a small solar cell. Not surefire, coyotes will get used to them and need to be shot or trapped, but it will definately keep the passers by from hanging about to scope things out.

    I would also string a piece of white elec. fence wire (don't need to energize it, coyotes know what it is if there's cattle farms nearby) across the creek to 25 yards either side.

    Anytime you hear the SOBs howling at night, yell at them and fire a shot in the general direction (if it's a safe field of fire). Has the added benefit of making the neighbors think you're crazy. They know what gunshots are and tend to avoid the area afterwards unless they get really hungry.

    The only sure solution is secure lockdown and supervised ranging under armed guard. You can also find local trappers to go after your predators in the fall to improve your odds. We're always looking for new trapping spots.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  6. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    Wow, I hadn't heard that about waterways! That's good to know because my dad was planning on just fencing the sides of the property down to the creek, but if they're just going to walk around it then there's no point. I actually don't think we have mink in the area, but I'm not sure. But the end of our property buts up against a road so it's not pure forest back there.

    I plan on mowing and weed-whacking tomorrow because it's so overgrown down there along the edges right now I could see where he jumped out from the pushed down grass.

    We actually very rarely hear them howling...maybe once every few months or so. In fact we heard them a lot more when we lived in the middle of a subdivision!

    I really want to move our coop up by the house but we have NO idea how to do it. It's an 8x6 building and we'd have to redo the run as well. That might be a project for next year but yeah, it definitely needs to be done for more reasons than just the predator problem. We've been lucky that we've had ZERO problems with night predators though; every bird we've lost to predators has been during the day. The shop next to the coop has a flood light so that it never really gets completely dark down there and I think that helps keep some of them away.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    When managing an all you can eat buffet I use a dog that harasses guest.
  8. OKallthis4Eggs---

    Thanks that was a great link with a lot of good information. I'm surprised that no one mentioned Solar Night eyes---or the other flashing red LED solar deterent..I think it is called nite guard.


    In my case, I think it really helps...and I place them about raccoon eye-level...(although some are coyote eye-level)

    ETA - they are so trouble free, I forget that I even have them.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  9. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    I just trap and dispatch the yotes save me a dog food bill

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