Top 10 Chicken Predators and How To Protect Your Flock

Top 10 Chicken Predators
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Undoubtedly, all of the chicken keepers are afraid of predators. In order to have safe flock, you have to protect your chickens well. Once you are certain that a predator has visited your flock, try to identify it.

Although it is not always easy to identify the predator, it is very important on the other hand, because there are different types of predators leaving different tracks.

Among most frequent chicken predators appear to be:  dogs, fox, raccoons, hawks, owls, bears, skunks, cats, weasels or snakes.  Our advice for you is to observe thoroughly your flock every morning and if there is a mess inside, it means the predator has been there.

In such case, pay attention to the tracks, all of the predators are different, and that is the way they attack and kill your hens.  Some will just kill your hens and leave them, others will take them away. Then, you may see broken necks, or feathers away from the coop, or stolen eggs and baby chicks as well.

In this article we will talk about the above mentioned predators, and share some tips on how to protect your chickens from the same.

1. Dogs

Many keepers invest in good quality dog guard to protect their coop from any possible predators.

There are several breeds that will work for this, but first you should make sure that they have been bred to guard poultry.

The most common breed is Great Pyrenees. On contrast, when you don’t have a guard dog or any other protection, than the first predator is very close to you. It is your neighbor’s dog. Most of the time, they killed the hens aimlessly and accidentally.

That is how you will find a chicken with broken neck, or mauled and nothing is eaten.

The chicken will usually be left, where it was killed out.

It is like a game for the dog.

Dogs are not known as predators that kill the chickens for feed, but they forgot themselves in the game and hurt the chickens in the end.

Dogs are not justified this way, but we only want to make comparison between them and other possible predators that always kill the chickens on purpose and for feed.

2. Foxes

The chickens being attacked from foxes will not stay alive. Foxes are thought to be very wise and clever in their job, they can dig like a dog, and can climb like a cat, getting over fences just to come closer to the flock.

They are so patient, and will wait for the right moment to attack.

There shouldn’t be mistakes.

The fox will get as many as he can out of the coop, and take them with him. The chickens will often have: broken necks, several will be gone, there will be feathers everywhere in and out from the coop.

3. Raccoon

There are no obstacles for raccoons to attack. They usually find a very small hole they come through and steal eggs. Their primary intention is not to take the adult birds, but the baby chicks.

Unfortunately, raccoons are known to eat the baby chicks, on occasion they will also get an adult bird and killed it by ripping into its neck.

Important to mention is that raccoons will have problems carrying the chickens off, and will leave the killed ones inside the coop.

4. Hawks

If you have your birds free ranging it will be very difficult to protect them from possible predators coming.

Your best option would be to pen them at night, to cut down on the hazards.

Haws usually attack at nights, and the chickens attacked by the hawks will look completely different than any other predator.

The chickens, victims to the hawks will be cut up and those that left will look like being stabbed with a knife. Hawks can really do hard damage.

5. Owls

Free range birds are most in danger from owls and hawks.

Owls have acute visual and hearing senses.

Studies found them to be among the quietest birds when in flight. They are particularly silent and can attack during the day, not just at nights.

If you see dead chickens in your coop with surgical looking cuts on their neck, be sure that there was an owl before.  They have their own specific strategies before they grab the bird.

6. Bears

If you live in an area that has bears, you may consider them a chicken predator as well.

They are easy to detect, because they are so heavy, and leave paw prints behind.  Chicken feed is very high in protein and thus attractive to the bears. 

Make sure that your flock is safe and the chicken feed is covered and locked well. On contrary, all these things may attract the bears to come.

7. Skunks

If skunks gain access to your flock, they will eat on the eggs, and probably kill or hurt your chickens.

They can also try digging under fences in order to attack the chickens.

Skunks are attracted by food, water, shelter, so don’t leave any pet food outside overnight that may attract their attention. 

A cat and dog around your house is often a good deterrent for skunks.  Skunks also usually leave an egg-shell behind, and in many cases it helps one identify that a skunk has been there.

8. Cats

Cats are good hunters, but because they are not that big, they usually attack the baby chicks. Even well-fed house cats still love hunting.  As given the opportunity, some cats can kill and eat chickens, especially the feral cats. Using their retractable claws and sharp teeth they kill small preys.

Even well-fed house cats still love hunting.  As given the opportunity, some cats can kill and eat chickens, especially the feral cats. Using their retractable claws and sharp teeth they kill small preys.

house cats still love hunting.  As given the opportunity, some cats can kill and eat chickens, especially the feral cats. Using their retractable claws and sharp teeth they kill small preys.

9. Weasels

Did you know that weasels kill not only for food, but for fun as well?

Weasels are known to be very cunning. They can easily wiggle through chicken wires, small runways or holes.

Chicken wire will not help to keep the weasels out. Make sure you covered well every possible access point. You can also set a trap.

Considering the fact that weasels are attracted by a fresh meat, you can make a 6×12-inch weasel box with a hole that is about 2 inches in diameter and put a piece of fresh meat inside.

10.Snakes

Chicken eggs and baby chicks are usual victims to snakes. If you ask how to protect your coop from the snakes, then make sure that you mow the tall grass around your chicken coop.

Snakes don’t like open spaces, so eliminate all possible hiding places such as: wood piles and rocks.

Measures to protect your flock from chicken predators

Once you know about the possible chicken predators it is good to protect your coop as much as you can. Therefore, you can always try the following:

  1. Close your flock, especially at nights.
  2. Don’t leave any food outside and nearby your flock.
  3. Chicken wire can help  (although not always)
  4. Have more roosters in your flock, they can be a good protection.
  5. Get a guard dog to protect your flock from predators.
  6. Guineas are known as great protection of your flock.
  7. Noises deter the predators from coming around.
  8. Make sure that there aren’t any access points in your flock. Each hole even the smallest must be fixed.
  9. Collect eggs daily. Don’t leave them to the predators.
  10. Fit motion sensor lightening.
  11. Use electric fences.
  12. Avoid toxic chemicals, because your chickens may ingest it as well.

Finally, we really believe that you find this article as a helpful one in your struggle against the chicken predators.

Also bear in mind the tips listed, in order to avoid the possible damage.

Once you identify the possible predator, it would be easier for you to find the best way to protect the rest of the coop. Therefore, observe deeply the tracks and don’t give up. There must be a proper solution that you should look for.

Top 10 Chicken Predators
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2 Comments on “Top 10 Chicken Predators and How To Protect Your Flock”

  1. I read all but have question. My Young chicken found thismorning predator took only insides of chicken. Legs wings remain have a watch rooster within 10 feet all dark hours also watch dog. Can you ID predator. My first loss in months. Thanks Sonny in ARizona

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