Getting chickens as rescues or simply for their eggs, people tend to forget how vulnerable these prey animals actually are. Having a secure coop with high fences that are dug into the ground and an indoor area for your chickens to roost are simply not enough to keep them safe unfortunately.
Predators like foxes, coyotes, and even large lizards are incredibly smart animals that shouldn’t be underestimated; if there is a way to get into the coop, they’ll find it. But that is where we come in to help you defend your flock from those nasty carnivores!
Here are some easy tips to protect your chickens without having to sit outside every day with them as their personal bodyguard…
1. Switch Up Your Routine
Animals all have a sense of time and routine in their lives, albeit very relaxed compared to our daily human deadlines.
Staying on a schedule can actually be detrimental, as predators will notice when you or any other threats are away for them to snatch a chicken. Switching your routine will confuse and derail any plans of attack on the girls!
If you let out your chickens from the coop to roam the yard at a certain time, let them out an hour earlier or later. If they tend to roam by themselves, stick with them by doing yard work or lounge on the porch with a drink in hand.
Walk the area with your dog, as their smell and large presence wards off the opportunistic hunter. Make the yard more lived in with occasional bonfires, if the weather permits, or have a few friends over to light enjoy some safe and legal fireworks.
The noise by itself is enough to scare any animal, effectively deterring cowardly predators. If you are experiencing brave activity or attacks from local predators at certain times of the day, simply avoid letting your chickens out at those times.
2. Technology is Your Friend
Let’s face it, you can not always be there to be hyper vigilant for your chickens. That is where technology comes in! It is 2020 and technology is better than ever while keeping you from emptying your pockets.
Motion detector lights are an inexpensive and easy way to keep curious foxes or coyotes away from the property. Not only will it flood the area in a bright light, it confuses the predator’s eyesight and scares them off.
It also alerts you without a loud alarm to scare yourself. Lights like these can come in a variety of quality, range of sensors, and even have the ability to add extra security with a camera.
Speaking of cameras, a security camera is an awesome accessory for your chicken coop. Many systems have an app that can be downloaded right onto your phone, allowing a livestream of the coop at all hours of the day. Placing a camera inside where the chickens roost and outside where they can roam is a great advantage for you, especially if you are away from home or heard something in the night without having to get up.
The ultimate luxury security accessory for your chickens is an automatic coop door.
These are designed to open and close at set times of the day, giving your chickens a routine about when it is time to go out or come back in for the night. You might be thinking, “I thought routine was bad?” but routine is necessary as well as change.
Instead of roaming at all times of the day and forcing you to go out to round up the chickens into their coop, the automatic door teaches the chickens to be inside at a certain time before they get stuck. Of course, when you first introduce this, there will be a few stragglers that need a little more time to get it but their need to be with the flock will definitely help them out.
3. Use Animal Bodyguards!
Having someone on the inside that you can trust is a huge advantage when protecting your chickens. You might be thinking of a dog or cat, but they are tricky and might actually harm your flock instead of protecting them. What you need is another bird to live with the girls: either a rooster or a goose will do the trick
The rooster will add a sense of order to the flock, making the chickens more relaxed throughout their days. His loud crow can be heard miles around which acts as a brilliant alarm system for both you and the chickens. Not only that, the rooster will fearlessly chase off any intruder no matter how big they are compared to him.
There is the point that having a rooster leads to fertilized eggs; that will not affect the quality of the eggs as long as you refrigerate them quickly after they were laid.
Another classic bodyguard for hens is a goose. Geese are notoriously cranky animals that chase off anyone that simply looks at them wrong. However, introducing a grown goose into an established flock is a recipe for disaster as the goose will try to rule the roost.
To successfully introduce a goose into your flock is to introduce a fertile goose egg for your chickens to raise. The goose will learn to protect its mothers from any perceived and real threats, their giant size an advantage against any foes.
David Woods is a carpenter, outdoorsman, and author with more than 30 years of professional woodworking experience. He is the author of best-seller How to Build a Log Home and has educated more than half a million people on how to build a log cabin via his blog, Log Cabin Hub. You can read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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