Tuck them in at night?


10 Years
Sep 27, 2009
OBX, NC (Roanoke Island)
I was sitting on my patio a few minutes ago and heard two owls hooting to one another in my side yard. Sounded beautiful...almost romantic. But now I'm worried that my new flock will be in danger. We are getting them next week (coop in progress).

There are raccoon, possum, and other small wildlife here. LOTS of squirrel. We live on a small island and there are NO deer or bear here. I've only seen deer, bear and fox on the mainland and the bigger islands around us. We are not near enough to the water to be bothered by nutria, but we have osprey nesting nearby. Any other critters we should be keeping an eye out for?

If we only keep our chickens in the run and we shut them inside the coop at night will they be safe? What about eventually letting them out of the run in the daytime?
You should definitely always put them in at night time. Try to make the indoor part of your coop fort knox by covering any little windows or ventilation areas near the roof with hardware cloth.

Lots of people cover their runs. You can use wire, fishing line, or just regular chicken wire fencing to guard against big birds coming down after your chickens.

When you free range them, you always take an additional risk. If you have a rooster, that helps because a good rooster will watch out for predators and warn the hens to go for cover.

Also, a well-trained, loyal dog can be helpful, especially at night, but also during the day if you have one you can trust with your chickens.

Don't worry too much; it will take the joy out of it.
I live in an area with a lot of predators too. Since your coop is still under construction, you still have time to make adjustments! I have owls, hawks, coyotes, deer, bears, moose, raccoons, etc, etc, etc. For ground dwellers, dig your fencing at least 6 preferrably 12 inches into the ground, the ground is too rocky where I live and this wasn't an option for me, so I placed bricks along the bottom of my run both along the fence and the bottom of my coop, then i put stakes in the ground every 4 feet around the coop about 1 foot out and a 8 inches high and strung barbed wire around the coop as well to discourage digging in. Works great! For the air dwellers, I put a lighter plastic mesh over the top and the owls and hawks don't even try to get in though they will sit right on the posts and watch the chickens run around. I haven't had a break in yet! Put a nice little pop door on your coop and open it in the morning and close it at night and that will be enough. Chickens have pretty good instincts, if they are scared, they won't hesitate to run inside and HIDE
The squirrels won't be an issue except for the chickens food, even if they do get in they won't touch your chickens just their feed. Good Luck!

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