New Chicken keeper needs advice


7 Years
Oct 19, 2012
Birmingham Alabama
We have just got our first chickens and we would like advice about keeping them safe from attacks
our granddaughter loves them and we like to have them roam around but I can not sleep at night worried that they can be attacked at night in the house or during daylight when we can not be watching them so if any body can help it would be great to hear from any one.
they need to be locked up at night. they will never be safe from anything ! Owls, stray dogs, raccoons, etc. a good sized fence will be ok during they day unless you are home to watch them .
You should have a closed in coop, fencing on all sides going about a foot into the ground so rats, moles, and such can't get into the coop. Definitely close them in at night! I used to think there were no predators in my area, didn't close the coop for one night and i lost a pullet to a raccoon. During the day i don't think it should'nt be a problem, raccoons don't come out in the day, possibly if you have any neighborhood cats that hunt, and hawks may be a problem.
I lock mine up every night. You will lose a few until you get it figured out just as I did. As I stated I lock the coop door at night and close and lock the run door and I have a electric fence around all of that. Haven't lost a bird since I started doing all three things. If only I could remember to plug the fence up at night. lol
I have to disagree with the theory that you must "lock up" your flock to keep them safe. We live in the country, surrounded by pasture with the back of the property facing onto a heavily wooded, uninhabited area. Our girls have a 3 sided shelter to let them get out of the weather. That's all.

Our 23 girls (13 chickens and 10 ducks) don't 'roam free'. They have a run that is about 15' wide by 100' long, and they seem happy and are productive. Yes, we did lose 3 hens to predators early on, but none since we got the fencing perfected. None, zero, nada! The fencing includes an electric fence that is about 6 - 8" (Yes, INCHES!) off the ground and is on 24/7. While we have a large owl, hawk and falcon population we've never had a problem with them.
One other thing that we do is to play talk radio on a timer near the run from sunset to sunrise. We think it helps because predators are liberal (or maybe it's the other way around.
I also will note that all of our flock (Red Sex Links and Khaki Campbells) are brown. There are some who say that color makes no difference, but I'm not convinced.
I just know that ours don't get attacked.

Since you're new to Back Yard Chickens I will point out one more salient fact. As of "July 2012, BYC has a vibrant community of more than 145,000 chicken owners who add about 7,000 new posts per DAY (on average 5 new posts every minute of every day, 24/7)!" Since most posts are about problems (a few are good news, but mostly folks come here for answers) the percentage of those losing stock to predators (or illness or whatever) are pretty low. Don't obsess. Just enjoy your flock.
Thank you all for your great advice

I think that I am going to build a compound for our girls

I know that wire fence comes in lots of different thickness so I want to ask
what is the best recommended thickness ?

I dont want to pay for protection against every possible threat but I dont want
to have a mesh fence that any common preditor can get in to

What do you guys use?
I'm a newbie. My 16 chickens are now 5 1/2 and 4 1/2 months old. I thought my chickens would be safe free roaming in my fenced in backyard because I live in the city (St. Paul, Mn) surrounded by freeways, and on a very active public park that is full of people walking dogs, and playing tennis, etc. I lost the kids favorite, (2 month old 'Chirpy"), to a stray cat and after trapping all the cats in the neighborhood, I was heartbroken AGAIN a month later when a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk killed my beloved Polish Chicken (4 1/2 months old). Now I never leave them out unless I am home or someone is in the house to keep a watch on them. They but themselves to bed every night and I close the door. I could not sleep at night if they were not secure. You, and others will become more attached to your chickens than you ever imagined. Avoid heartache and make sure they are safe!
Seems like, even in a basically predator free environment, people have problems with neighbors dogs roaming free. Though most predators attack at night, your best precaution is a well enclosed coop at night. Sometimes it takes awhile for a predator to notice chickens or run low on their usual food source, but everything seems to eat chicken...except my mil.

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