Predator Deterrance - Does the worry ever ease?!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Blue Bubbles, May 18, 2016.

  1. Blue Bubbles

    Blue Bubbles In the Brooder

    May 18, 2016
    Northants, UK

    I am very new to chicken keeping and am probably not doing myself any favours by repeatedly looking up how to prevent predator attacks... The worry of something getting to my girls is literally keeping me up at night!

    The set up we have is a secure coop and run which the hens have access to during the day - the hens are closed in the coop over night and our garden is surrounded by a 6ft 2 fence. We are planning on letting our chickens free range during the day when we are at home but the more I read about Fox attacks the less I am inclined to do this.

    For extra security I was thinking of adding-
    - small spikes on the top of the fence (the fence itself is secure - no holes etc)
    - I am considering locking the hens in at night - at the moment we close the door out to the run (the rest of the coop is already enclosed) however I am worried about the welfare issues to the chickens of adding locks to the coop
    - I was also considering adding one of the fox deterrent flash lights but I am not sure if they actually work.

    Any tips and advice is appreciated!

    Thank you
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! The short answer is "NO!" We are all aware of risks to our birds, and are watchful. After many years, both my coop and run are very safe, (at least until the bears arrive). My flock free ranges on my farm nearly every day, and there have been losses, occasionally to hawks, and once to a sick mangy fox. Before my run was really secure, everyone was locked in the coop every evening, because missing that step didn't work out well (more losses!). Spikes on the fence aren't useful, except maybe for children. Flashing lights are annoying and also useless. Chickens are so happy out there grubbing in the dirt, it's just a shame to not let them enjoy, even though there are risks involved. Electrified poultry fencing is great if allowed where you live, but isn't practical in smaller yards. Raccoons can open many types of latches, so plan for them with upgraded locks. Mary[​IMG]


    [​IMG] It's ugly, but works fine.
  3. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I have my coop surrounded by 650' of electrified poultry net. I do not worry. I have not had a loss to a ground predator in over 4yrs. I have fox, coons, really just about every ground predator, short of a bear. They get a snootful of that fence (Excess of 7000Vs) they forget all about chicken dinner. I don't even bother shutting the pop-door any more at night.

    As far as aerial based threats, we have those too. But, the chickens have the coop, and a nice sized brushy area to hide in/under. They become well tuned to their environment, they hear a hawk, they will quickly scat to cover. I have even seen them react and scatter, when they hear a crow giving out, what must be, their hawk warning call.
  4. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    The short answer is no. In my experience the main threat comes at night and as long as the coop is predator proof and you close the doors you are doing the best you can.

    I would like to let my hens run the entire yard all day but with the presence of red tails, coopers and the occasional bald eagle I just cannot.

    I have hedge row about 25 feet long by 4 feet wide for the hens to hide under but I saw a red tail hawk land once and chase the hens out and then nail one as she ran/flapped for the coop. Fortunately I happened to be at the kitchen window and saw it and was able to save the hen with only a couple talon holes and a whole lot of missing feathers.

    We also have a coyote that I've seen hunting several times during the day.

    So for those reasons mine have to stay in their secure run and coop.

    I do let them out into the yard when I will be out in the yard and have had very few issues while I am out with them.

    Jacke my hens stand to attention when the crows caw too. Sometimes they run for cover sometimes not. I suspect when they run for cover they see the hawk and I don't.
  5. Blue Bubbles

    Blue Bubbles In the Brooder

    May 18, 2016
    Northants, UK
    Thanks for your advice! Definately fitting some locks onto the coop today! I live in the UK and the main predator we have to worry about is foxes. My partner woke me up at 3 this morning saying he could hear something outside, my immediate reaction was to go out and check on the hens.. all was fine [​IMG] I'm beginning to realise this is the life of a hen keeper and really wouldn't change it!

    It's funny you should mention the crows, if my girls hear them bubbles and Claret run inside... Bluebell will stay outside give it the 'evil eye' and start shouting at it!
    Last edited: May 19, 2016

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