Would chickens be smart enough to recognize a safe zone?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 23, 2008
Northern WI
Ok, so we live in the middle of the woods. Ever hear of "Little coop in the woods"? That's us. My 7 girls love free ranging when I am home (i'm not always out with them) and I love the fact that they eat less feed. Our biggest daytime preds would probably be fox, coyote, and also weasels, possibly. I was wondering if I set up a safe zone, if they would be smart enough to utilize it when a pred comes around? I have no illusions about the possibility of losing birds to preds with free ranging. I know it probably will happen at some point. My idea for a "safe zone" was to a). set up roosts that they could fly up to during an attack...are chickens even that smart??? OR b). set up a small electric wire fence that they could run back to (probably by their coop) when the monsters come out. Probably 2 low wires so they could duck through and get away???

Am I crazy??


11 Years
Jun 25, 2008
Layton, UT
I appreciate the faith you have in the common sense of your girls to get to a safe place when danger comes. The problem is that the predators have an excellent stalking and killing instinct that they use to survive and our domestic chickens have been bred to be docile, trusting and have been protected from predators for so long the fight just isn't fair any more.
I live in an area that was full of pheasants 20 years ago before foxes came in. Now even those wild pheasants have been cleaned out along with a few of my guineas and turkeys. The predators you mentioned are so fast and efficient your girls would not likely have time to get to a safe place in time to be safe. Good luck keeping them safe.

The Chicken Lady

Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Apr 21, 2008
West Michigan
Chickens are definitely not that smart. What they'll do in a predator attack is scatter -- everywhere. In a non-enclosed situation, they have safety in numbers; that is, the more chickens there are, the more likely the majority of them will escape (more targets vs. less targets).

I'd put my faith in a sturdily-built Fort Knox coop and run over any "chicken logic" any day.


In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 22, 2008
chickens are not very smart,and also not in the habit of growing old, not around here at least. all of the chickens that i intend to keep are securely caged,and only "free ranged" when i am here to watch them. I do have fairly good luck with game chickens though,they will fly to escape predators,and fend for themselves,as far as food.i do lose one off the roost to owls occasionally.

Poulets De Cajun

11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
Houston MetroMess, Texas
My chickens have brains the size of peas, so unless your's are genetically modified with larger brains and a higher intelligence level, I dont think that would work either. I'd go with Fort Knox and a shotgun to keep predators out...

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