When you start to keep backyard chickens, you quickly become attached to the members of your flock. If one day you come outside to greet them and find a few birds missing or worse, a gruesome scene of their demise, not only is it inconvenient, but heartbreaking as well.
As a flock owner, it is your job to keep your chickens as safe from harm as possible. The biggest threat to your birds? Predators. While a good quality coop is the first step in keeping your chickens safe from predators, there are a few additional things you can and should do to protect them.
Know which predators you’re dealing with.
In order to put the most effective defenses in place, you need to identify the animals that are a threat to your flock. Look for any scat or track marks nearby that can giveaway the perpetrators. If this evidence is not readily apparent, the way in which your chickens have been attacked can point the finger in the right direction.
Use chicken wire and hardwire mesh.
Using chicken wire and mesh to enclose your coop and run will help eliminate any gaps where predators can sneak in and wreak havoc. After you enclose your coop, use the wire to set up a fence perimeter around the area where your birds free range. You’ll also want to bury a perimeter of mesh about 2-4 feet underground surrounding your run to deter predators that dig.
Inspect for and block any holes in the coop.
Keep in mind that small predators, such as snakes, weasels, and cats, can do just as much damage to your flock as larger animals. That’s why it’s important to check your coop regularly for any small holes one of these small but dangerous nuisances can wriggle into. Patch any holes you find immediately, and don’t forget to cover ventilation openings with mesh to keep out small and large predators alike as well.
Train your flock to sleep in their coop.
Ultimately, the best way to protect your chickens from predation is to keep them indoors at night, when most predators strike. You can train them to return to their coop at night by getting in the routine of feeding and watering them inside around dusk. Once they’re in, lock them up safely. Eventually, returning to the coop around this time should become habit for them.
A safe, sturdy, and well-ventilated coop is the most important tool for keeping your chickens safe from predators, weather, and any other harm. At Deer Creek Structures, we offer prefab and custom-size chicken coops equipped with everything your flock needs to thrive, including two sides covered in hardwire cloth mesh to protect against predators.
To order the home your chickens need and deserve for their comfort and health, get in contact with our team today!