Will my chickens be safe?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MermanMike, May 20, 2008.

  1. MermanMike

    MermanMike In the Brooder

    May 20, 2008
    Northeastern PA
    I have a neighbor with two beautiful ducks in his pond. They don't have a coop, they just sleep below a little hill in a pile of hay. They are a few years old and have never had any problems with predators, other than a neighboring dog coming once and stealing some eggs. But, the neighbor now keep sher dog chained up.

    We live in an agricultural area...one lady about 10 miles away has last 15 lambs this year to coyotes, so we are not immune to predators. We are by the Delaware river, so we have lot's of hawks. We are surrounded on four sides by a 700 acre cattle farm, with dogs that patrol to protect the cattle. Do you think that's why the ducks have been safe? Are there predators that don't care about ducks but would love to munch on a chicken?

    I am just wondering because my neighbor is cool and would be fine with my chickens running around both of our yards, but I want them to be safe too, and if there are chicken specific issues he hasn't had to deal with it, I'd rather keep'em protected.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
  2. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Do you have a coop to lock them up in at night?
  3. MermanMike

    MermanMike In the Brooder

    May 20, 2008
    Northeastern PA
    They'll have a coop, but I'd rather not lock it unless the consensus says that's the best thing to do. I was thinking with the ducks surviving with no problems, the chicken may not need to be locked up.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You may have not quite so many predators in your very-local area because of the cattle farm, yeah.

    However I absolutely guarantee there are, at least sometimes, SOME predators. And all it takes is one, once.

    Far and away the smartest thing would be to lock them up at night. If you don't want to be as tied down as this implies, build good strong secure run attached to the coop. (Having a secure run means that if necessary you could think about leaving the door between coop and run open at night so that you didn't have to be there at dusk to shut them in and at dawn to let them out. Bear in mind though that few runs are truly 100% predator-proof). Of course you can let them out of the run to free-range during the day.

    The thing is, two lil' ducks may go unnoticed -- the more meals there are wandering around, the more likely a predator is to notice. And as soon as one predator, once, gets your chickens, it is likely to come around for seconds and bring its friends.

    All of which may be a Bad Thing for the neighbor's ducks as well as for your own flock. Erring on the side of caution now has a good chance of preventing major, and difficult-to-remedy, problems later on.


    Last edited: May 20, 2008
  5. MermanMike

    MermanMike In the Brooder

    May 20, 2008
    Northeastern PA
    Thanks for your reply...your advice makes a lot of sense. I work from home and I get up early, and have neighbors who are happy to pitch if I'm not around, so I'm not worries so much about the effort of it all but just thought it'd be nice to let them be totally free, but I think I will stick to the usual approach of containing them at night.
  6. The ducks may be retreating to water when coyotes are present. We have coyotes and I'm finishing a fortress for the hens![​IMG]
  7. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    I let my chickens out all day, but they do like to come into their house at night. I think they feel safer there at night.
  8. jaku

    jaku Songster

    Seems like adult ducks would be A LOT harder to catch than chickens.

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