Rasiing chickens in Michigan

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Unsworth, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Unsworth

    Unsworth In the Brooder

    We have not lived too long in Michigan (about three years) and I am planning on building a chicken house. I have had chickens over the years but not in Michigan. I want to have a fenced outdoor area for the chickens. I was wondering if there are chicken hawks or other predator birds that would dive and take the chickens. Is this something that happens in Michigan? Also, what about predators on the ground? Do I need to make a super secure chicken house? Are there predators that dig under the house that are a problem in Michigan? We live out in the country. I know we have coyotes, woodchucks and raccoons. I think I will have more to deal with in Michigan than where I came from. Thanks for your help.
  2. matt44644

    matt44644 Songster

    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
    Depends on what part of the state you are in .But yes Michigan has a lot of predators.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Yes, there are aerial predators in your area who will come in and take birds from above. Yes there are predators who will dig under or go through enclosure structure. Security is a personal choice - some are okay with accepting the risk of keeping birds completely free-range and others keep their flocks completely enclosed in secure pens 24/7 - others choose a middle ground and have the enclosure but free range with supervision, during low risk times, etc. Would you be devastated to lose birds now and then? If so, the totally secure approach is probably for you, if not you might be okay with the middle ground or free ranging.
    How many birds are you going to keep and what size of an area are you planning to keep them in? This will help with suggestions on specific types of structures you might want to consider.
  4. Unsworth

    Unsworth In the Brooder

    I was thinking of about 30 birds. I would sell extra eggs. The outdoor fence area would be partly in a wooded area and partly and open area. I do not like to lose chickens. I could build a chicken fortress but I would like them to roam some. I guess I could have a part covered and part open yard and let them out when I am there to supervise. In another place I had chickens I let them out in the afternoon and they free ranged for a while and they put themselves to bed at dusk. It worked out well but I am concerned about the predators in this area.
  5. MI chickens

    MI chickens In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2011
    Zeeland, Michigan
    I live in W. Mich. and my experience is I've had problems with #1 racoons, #2 dogs, #3 possums(usually looking for eggs). We have predatory birds but I think they're too occupied with catching rodents, so they haven't been a problem. Racoons and possums have only been a problem when I was using a temporary coop, now that I have secure, tightly built coop, no problem. Dogs, I'm not sure what to do about, they've only attacked during the day when I'm not at home and the birds are free ranging.
  6. MI chickens

    MI chickens In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2011
    Zeeland, Michigan
    I forgot to mention, coyote too, they're just starting to be seen in my area.
  7. Unsworth

    Unsworth In the Brooder

    MI Chickens, Thanks for the reply. I have not seen any loose dogs around but I sure those racoons and possums will be a problem.
  8. Rocky64

    Rocky64 Chirping

    Jan 25, 2015
    Don't forget foxes, mink, and the occasional skunk, although skunks go for eggs. I had major quail losses due to a cat who would come to the cage at night, put its paw through the wire, pull the bird to the wire, and eat part of it. Coons did the same thing.
  9. Michelle2639

    Michelle2639 In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2014
    Southern Michigan
    I live very close to you in Jackson. I do let my chickens free range in the nice weather and then coop them at night. Right now, they're pretty much staying in the run during the day. They don't like the snow. The predators that I've had to be concerned with mostly are coyote, fox, hawks and coons. I lost one girl to a predator early last summer. I know it's the risk you take while letting them free range. I haven't had any critters try and get into the coop or run though. My set up is in my forum pic. I feel like the coop should be off the ground and just a basic secure run. If you're going to do a fenced in area, the safest would be to have some sort of netting or something covering it and I'd still secure the coop at night.

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