New home with plenty of predators - looking for wisdom

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by homesteadlizzy, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. homesteadlizzy

    homesteadlizzy Out Of The Brooder

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    We moved into our new home right before Thanksgiving. There is a shed out back that would be perfect for a coop - I would start my flock this spring however..... since we have lived here I have seen a HUGE hawk, an owl, racoons in my yard, heard coyotes and have been told about foxes. I'm sure there are more preds around.... as I prepare, I would appreciate any advice as to methods and/or steps I need to take to keep the birds safe. I was hoping to free range in the day, but now I am not sure. We don't have a dog right now, so that won't be a deterrant for the wildlife around...[​IMG]
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like where I live! If you range your birds, you are bound to lose one sooner or later. It's just part of it. Dogs certainly help, whether they are livestock trained or not (mine chase after every animal that comes in the yard, even the chickens sometimes, which is a BIG no no). I would get a rooster too, to protect, lead, and signal to go to cover if there happens to be a bigger bird in the area. Honestly, the only way to 100% guarantee the safety of your chickens is to keep them confined. Of course, ranging is when chickens are happiest which is why I love ranging mine. When there have been a couple of disappearances, I break out the traps and keep the girls and guys locked up for a few days. I also just kind of take a walk every evening to check for tracks, see if anything's out of place etc. For the airborne predators, a covered run or area to take shelter could be the save a few lives as well. Hope I helped!
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Here are articles on nearly all the common predators and pests that threaten chickens, with preventative measures for each of them:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-predators-pests-how-to-protect-treat-your-flock

    You will notice that some things, like securing the windows of the coop with hardware cloth and fitting an apron of hardware cloth around the run will take care of more than one predator, so don't feel too daunted by the challenge. Best of luck and enjoy your new home!
     
  4. homesteadlizzy

    homesteadlizzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for your input - Funny, we had four dogs (a mother, two of her puppies, and a "stray") for 17 years - after all the heartbreak of losing them at their times my husband and I were over dogs for a while - it's been about a year and a couple months since the last of them... but now we are looking for the "right" one to come along, and I know that will really help my cause as well... again, I thank you for your help!!!

    Merry Christmas!
     
  5. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your biggest daytime predator will probably be hawks or other raptors. I've seen foxes come out in the daylight as well. Is your back yard fenced in or wide open? A solidly fenced in yard is a first good step in keeping out predators like foxes and coyotes if the fence is tall enough of course. A secured coop at night will also help against the night time dwellers like raccoon's, opossums, skunks, weasels etc. I have hawks in my area as well and have lost a couple of birds to them so what I do now is leave them in their run during the day when I am at work and then when I come home and I am out around the yard I let them free range for an hour or so. It gives them the best of both worlds, safety and free ranging.
     
  6. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I had to do on my farm, which has a long list of predators all around, was to remove ambush sites from where the chickens ranged. My chickens ranged in the lawn area, but it was bordered by woods which had bushes and tall grass right at the edge of the mowed area. This allowed predators to hide and then simply grab a chicken as they wandered by. If you can eliminate the hiding places for predators, they will have to come out in the open to get the chickens, and this will help reduce the number of attacks. After losing one too many chickens, ducks and guineas, I put up an electric net fence around their free range area, and I have not lost a single bird since.
     

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