Will my chickens be safe?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Rabbitlover1, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. Rabbitlover1

    Rabbitlover1 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm trying (and getting quite successful) to convince my family that we should get chickens,and my brother is against it. One of the ways he is trying to discourage me is he keeps saying that no matter what we do some of our chickens will be killed by a predator. Is this true? Is there no possible way to make sure that my chickens will stay safe. One of my friends had like 30 something chickens and had like one problem with a predator, and they have a lot of land full of animals that love to eat chickens. I live in a suburban neighborhood and my chickens are going to be in a chicken tractor most of the day and only come out when either me my sister or mom are watching them. Below are a list of potential predators I have seen/heard.

    dogs-there is at lest 3+ dogs that wonder around my neighborhood(but that might change since there are a lot of complaints about that)

    Cats -there are a lot of cats that are outside cats a will come into my yard occasionally also I have found several semi bloody piles of feahers

    Skunks-I've never seen one but there all around where I live and I've smelt their spray in my yard before and next to my rabbit's hutch.

    Hawks- I saw one one siting on my porch and then one other one flew past me when I startled it a couple days latter

    Crows- We get a lot in the fall not sure if this is a problem

    Opossums-Saw one once next to the cow pastures not sure if this will be a problem to

    Snakes- there is supposedly a hole bunch of them that live in my ditch according to my neighbors but I only saw one tiny dead one and it was not even in my ditch

    Coyotes-I heard them a couple of times in the summer never saw one and I don't think any one in my neighborhood has seen one either


    My neighborhood is surrounded by cow pastures and is in some what of the middle of rolling hills. Also any suggestions on ways to protect my maybe chickens and how to convince my family that chickens will live a happy secure life will be great.Thanks!
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    There are many variables when it comes to predator losses and chicken keeping, no two of us are exactly the same in how we keep our birds or prevent losses. So you really just have to take stock of your most likely predators where you live and try to house your birds accordingly. I've kept chickens for over 20 years, the only time I have lost birds to a predator, in this case coyotes, was when I free ranged in the very beginning in a very rural area. These days my birds "free range" on about 3/4 acre of well fenced pasture and I have not lost a bird to a predator since those early years.

    Having a very secure coop at night is one of your best defenses. What you have to protect against during the day depends on your area. Where I live roaming dogs and coyotes are a big daytime threat. We have many hawks here that hunt our hay fields but I have never lost a chicken to a hawk. Other people have nothing but trouble with hawks.

    Crows are not a problem except perhaps if you have very young chicks running around, they actually will chase off hawks so I consider them beneficial. Skunks and possums may be a problem if you allow them access, especially at night. If you coop is secure and feed/chickens/eggs are not available then it's not usually an issue. I see their tracks all the time but they can't get a meal here so they move on and we've co-existed just fine for all these years.

    Cats, you never know. I've never had a housecat attack a chicken, a chick would be another story. And if there are feral cats around those might go for a chicken as well.

    With all of that said, I would never not keep chickens just because I might loose some at some point. Your going to loose chickens at some point no matter what, whether it's to a predator or disease it's going to happen. But taking a few simple security measures can greatly reduce your losses to predators.
     
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  3. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built my first coop and have the run completely wrapped in hardware cloth. I am still taking precautions against predators. I went to a neighbors house two doors down who has about 20 hens, and he just bought 100 chicks this week. The 20 hens are three years old. He has a pole barn with a roost built in the back of it. There is a 2x2 hole cut in the barn with no door and no sort of protection. We live in the country away from town and have a state park fishing hunting area adjoining us. There are tons of predators around, he does have a dog but it stays inside at night. I was talking to him last week. He said he lost one chicken a couple of years ago but he has never lost another. They free range and have zero protection from predators. I am sure his time is coming but it makes me feel a little better about mine.
     
  4. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens are a really good stress release, I call mine "Pets with benefits". Agree with cafarmgirl, having a secure enclosure for you're not there is the best security/insurance you can get. A tractor is a good idea for them good even when you're home, you can't be out standing guard all the time, added protection. You need a secure Coop/Run for nights.
     
  5. Rabbitlover1

    Rabbitlover1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Since I don't have as much space as I would like to have and I want to keep cost kinda low I was going to build like a coop tractor combination. The coop will be on top of the run like some of the designs in the coop page on BYC and it will have all the features of a coop except it will be movable . Do you think that will work ?
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Should be fine as long as you allow enough space for however many hens you plan to have. As mentioned, use hardware cloth to cover ventilation openings or windows as well as the run is a very good idea. Chicken wire keeps chickens in and that's about it, it won't keep predators out.
    I got away with free ranging in a very rural area for quite some time as well. However, once a predator discovers the free chicken buffet it will keep returning until the easy food source is depleted. Some people don't care and are willing to take the risk, especially if they have large flocks. They don't mind absorbing losses. I personally just prefer to prevent that situation in the first place.
     
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  7. Rabbitlover1

    Rabbitlover1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah when I first started my quest on getting chickens I planed to use chicken wire but once I posted a couple things on BYC I'm going to spend the money on hard wire cloth.How much sq feet do you think 6 chickens in a chicken tractor will need?
     
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Well the so called minimum space requirements you will see often quoted are four square feet of floor space per bird in the coop and 10 square feet per bird in the run. However those are bare minimum suggestions. I have always housed birds in much larger spaces, usually double that amount, to avoid the behavior problems associated with overcrowding. Especially in a situation where they will be in their coop/run most of the time. Breed of chickens makes a difference to, some are more aggressive then others.
     
  9. Rabbitlover1

    Rabbitlover1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Is 4sq feet and 10 sq feet for a chicken tractor also? I heard that you need less run space in a chicken tractor since you move it around giving them new grass every day or so?
     
  10. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is 4 square foot per bird. So if you plan on 4 birds you would need 16 square foot coop and 40 square foot run. The fact the tractor is moved doesn't really mean it can be smaller. The size is for them to have space to move around in. If you had a 400 square foot run the chickens will still have it down to bare dirt. So the fact you can move a tractor to a new spot will not reduce the run space needed.
     

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