Whether you have a safe chicken coop is a top priority for every chicken owner. Learn to protect backyard chickens from one of their biggest threats…Predators.
Creating a Safe Chicken Coop to Protect your Flock from Predators
Is YOUR chicken coop safe?
Predators are one of the biggest concerns that chicken keepers face. They’re stealthy, tricky, and strong. A predator such as a fox or a weasel can decimate your flock in one night. It’s up to you to protect your chickens from predators, and it all starts with your chicken coop security.
We’ve lost several hens to predators over the years, and let me tell you, they can be very difficult to keep away once they know you have tasty chickens on your property. It’s shocking and heartbreaking how quickly they can wipe out an entire flock. Sometimes the death toll was completely senseless and it seems the predators killed just for the sport of it.
The best way to predator proof your coop and run is to add several items to your coop plan before you even begin. If you already have a coop, these items can still be attached.
Here are the top ten ways to predator proof your coop as a beginner:
Where you place the coop is one of the first decisions you need to make in keeping your flock safe. Establishing your coop and run near your house and outbuildings is a must. Predators are afraid of humans, so if they hear or see people around the coop area, they are less likely to approach it.
Usually, you are more concerned about what you make a structure out of than what type of floor you put in. However, when you’re dealing with wily predators digging, the flooring you choose can make all the difference.
Inside the coop, we recommend a stone or cement floor to prevent tunneling. In the chicken run laying hardware cloth down and then adding bedding over it is another prevention technique to keep your flock safe.
Hardware cloth is a step above the regular chicken wire, the ¼ inch or ½ inch wire helps to build a fortress against critters trying to get in. Put it overall windows or air ventilation holes in your coop and use as fencing for your run along the sides, on top, and lay as flooring.
As an added deterrent, dig a trench around your run at least 12 inches in depth and bury the hardware cloth. Those unwelcome guests will tire of digging and leave your flock alone.
Latches and Locks
Latches or locks are for those rascally raccoons. Buying a heavy-duty spring-loaded latch or Carabiner latch helps ensure that a raccoon cannot get into your chicken coop. Locks on your windows, ventilation holes and chicken door also help keep unwanted visitors at bay.
Clear the Area
A largely no cost inhibitor of predators is to clear all the area around your coop from tall grass and shrubbery. If a predator has to cross a large open field to get to your coop, they will likely pass.
Motion Light Sensors
Motion Light Sensors are an excellent tool against those middle of the night unwanted guests. As they get near the run fence or coop, they light flashes on scaring them back into the wilderness and away from your coop.
Several guardians can help inside of the coop and outside.
A rooster’s main job is to protect his flock and boy do they take that job seriously. If something enters the coop, the rooster will attack and be able to ward off an intrusion.
Outside of the fence, a dog is the first line of defense for your coop. A canine can hear when things are rustling around your chicken area, and they aren’t afraid to chase anything off your place.
A trick to keep predators away is to have a radio playing by your coop. The unwanted visitors will hear the voices on the radio and steer clear of the area.
Lock them up
As you can imagine, the night time is the most dangerous for a chicken or any animal. Locking them in their formidable fortress of a coop drastically increases their safety.
An automatic door is another one of those tools that help you out with the safety of your flock. Whether you’re away or just forgot to lock them in for the night, the automatic door has you covered.
Check Your Coop/Run
Checking your coop and run regularly helps you to find any holes or breaches in your walls, fencing or doors. A weasel only needs ½ inch to get into your coop and wipe out your flock. Diligence in making a thorough inspection weekly may save you a lot of heartaches.
Those are some of the basics of prepping a predator-proof coop. If you want a more in-depth list, check out: 24 Features on a Predator-Proof Chicken Coop.
For responsible chicken owners, NOW is the best time to make our coops an impenetrable fortress!
Let’s keep those predators away!