When I began my chicken keeping journey, I decided early on that I wanted to find a way to deter predators without causing them harm. Wildlife has always been very close to my heart, and that didn’t change when I became The President of Chickenlandia. In Chickenlandia, we live in harmony with the predators around us. It’s the least we can do, being that we moved into their home without even asking how they felt about it.
As I write this, I’m aware that many will oppose my viewpoint. They’ll tell me that the moment something enters their chicken yard in search of an easy meal, dispatching them is the only real solution. I respectfully disagree. Not only do I find it unfair to expect an animal to understand an invisible boundary, but I also find the logic flawed. If a hungry raccoon enters a chicken yard and is shot, yes, that particular raccoon will no longer be able to cause harm. But the root of the problem very much remains. If one raccoon was able to access that flock, another one will as well. And another. And another. Ten will come to the first raccoon’s funeral, because the problem has yet to be solved.
If you’re in the country, guard animals are a wonderful option for you. Anything from donkeys to llamas to dogs can offer great protection for your flock. Electrical fencing is another good one, and if you have your chickens in an enclosed run with wire or netting on top, you’ll have way less of an issue with flying predators. Of course, some folks really don’t like the idea of enclosed chickens, and I really do understand that. I don’t know if there’s anything more beautiful than a free ranging chicken! But if you choose this route, you must also be at peace with losing some of your birds to predators. I think either choice is a good one.
If you’re in the city or don’t have much land, I recommend fencing of some type to keep predators out and chickens in. To deter digging, you may even want to reinforce that fencing along the bottom with buried or skirted hardwire mesh. One of the main issues in the city are domestic dogs with a natural prey drive. When a dog attack happens, my first question is how did it access the flock? My own dogs have attacked my chickens so I know just how hard this lesson is. Through much trial and error I have come to understand that protecting my chickens is on me, and no one else.
If chickens and any chicken food/scraps aren’t locked up in a secure area at dusk, they will be extremely vulnerable to nighttime predators. One of the toughest critters to deter from a tasty chicken meal is the raccoon. Walking into a coop that has undergone a raccoon attack is like a scene from a horror movie, and I can’t really blame anyone for questioning the senseless appearance of it. But I still say that the raccoon isn’t to blame. It’s so hard to swallow, but having a coop that isn’t secure at night is like putting a “Buffet” sign up in neon lights. The raccoon was just following its nature. So make sure your coop is closed and difficult for animals to open. That’s really the only way to truly keep them at bay.
Are you still with me? I hope so. I know these ideas will, forgive me, ruffle some feathers. Please know that regardless of how you feel about this, everyone is welcome in Chickenlandia! Perhaps you’ll change your mind after watching my new YouTube Video: How to Deter Predators. There’s definitely some more information I didn’t touch on here. Just click the play button below!
How do you handle predators? Let me know in the comments!