raccoonIt's something out of a horror movie.

You come home from a fun, barn dance/Halloween party with your young family to find your livestock slaughtered in their pen, blood spattered everywhere, corpses ripped to shreds.  A gory end to a family's pets - and food supply.

This happened to my son's teacher recently, and it got me to thinking about the buildings people use for chicken coops, thinking 'they'll do' against poultry predators.  That wasn't necessarily the case here, but I've seen some pretty rickety set-ups that are just massacres waiting to happen.

With the cost (in time mostly) involved in raising chickens for eggs or meat, you really don't want to lose even one bird.  So how do you keep your chickens safe from predators?

The House

It's a common thought to want to 'repurpose' an existing building for use as a chicken coop.  I mean, why not use that neat old shed?  Seems like a logical thought.  I thought it myself - we've got a perfect one here.  Problem is, an old building will likely be full of holes or weak spots where a poultry predator could dig or chew through, gaining access and obliterating your stock.

So what to do?

9/25/2015 9:51:53 PM

My cat got ensnared in a let trap in a neighborhood backyard...It is legal in this suburban street, steps away from city limit. How many raccoon.s, possum.s, cat's and precious foxes, etc must be painfully executed to justify fresh eggs and a chicken dinner. We, as a humane society need to do better at educating and promoting these stronger chicken coops. Thank you

7/11/2013 4:34:55 AM

Call me a cheapskate, but I can't buy into the $3000 hen house.  And, I'll tell you why...

For less than $400 I have a Livestock Guardian Dog that not only protects my poultry, but also my goats, cattle, and horses.  He's a great pal, to boot.  Chases down any critter, including predatory dogs.  (If a friendly dog wanders onto the farm he'll just go say hi - he can tell the difference).

Now, if you're not intersted in a LGD, or not willing to do what it takes to own one, then by all means build Fort Knox, because that's what you probably need!  These dogs are not for everyone.  While they keep your stock safe, they can be a pain in the kiester once in a while.

We have 1/2 Anatolian Shepherd, 1/2 Great Pyrenees at our place.

You can see them at:


8/22/2012 2:41:48 AM

300 years!? even if they dont do it thats a lot of travel.

victoria gazeley
1/28/2012 8:40:20 PM

We've got a super thick wood floor on the coop/house and ran sheet metal strips around the exterior where the walls meet the floor to alleviate this issue. That said, we don't have rats here, but weasels...

victoria gazeley
1/28/2012 8:39:28 PM

It's something we're considering, for sure. Just need to weigh the pros and cons of that decision... :) Thanks so much for the suggestion! It would solve a lot of problems, for sure.

victoria gazeley
1/28/2012 8:38:38 PM


jeana dinkelspiel
11/10/2011 4:24:11 PM

What breed? And how did you know, before getting her, that she would leave the small game alone but harass the nuisance animals? Thanks!

elizabeth pepper
11/10/2011 2:00:29 AM

Rats more than likely are not after your hens but after their feed. You need to trap or bait the rat. Their main living space can be anywhere and they will build a burrow under ground. More than likely you have Norway Rats. The never travel more than 300 years from their nest and they almost always follow the same routes. Rats are afraid of new things so baiting them can be hard but rat traps will work (use peanut butter as bait). Spring traps can be put directly in their normal travel ways but if baiting it should be place just off their trail. If you live inside a city with street drains then they can be coming from there. If rats are getting out of hand I would contact your city rep and complain. Most cities have a pest control system to control rats.

l. crandall
11/10/2011 1:11:15 AM

How much of a predator do rats count as? These guys are persistant, tunneling under the coop, trying to get through the wire mesh floor. I think that a couple hens have injured their hips tripping in holes in the yard but I'm only guessing.

elizabeth pepper
11/9/2011 9:12:19 PM

It doesn't hurt to have a dog that leaves the chickens alone but will deter predators. Our dog has killed two opossums who have attempted to gain entry into the chicken coop. She ignores rabbits and squirrels and loves birds but not so much the opossums and we have seen her run off a Red Fox 3 times.

dennis todaro
11/3/2011 1:49:20 PM

Chicken homeland security - The Poultryot Act

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