How to Protect Chickens from Predators

There are as many different ways of keeping your chickens and other domestic outdoor pets, similar to chickens, safe from predators as there are chicken owners. Here are a couple ideas that might spark your imagination.


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    Keep your chickens confined and somewhat protected. Keeping your chickens (all small outdoor pets such as chickens will be called "chickens" from here on) safe from predators during the day is a little tougher than at night. This is because chickens like to be busy, out and about, feeding on bugs during the day. Here are a few methods to can consider:
    • Chicken coop - The advantage to having your chickens in a coop is that the area is confined. The chickens have a limited range of movement. Usually they are not very visible to overhead predators and are safe from ground predators (assuming your coop is sturdily built). The "cons" of the coop arrangement are: there is lots of cleaning of poop, you must supplement your chickens with oyster shell, grit and they tend to eat more feed than if they were free-ranging.
    • Chicken yard - This is a combination of a coop attached to an enclosed area so that the chickens can roam, yet still have the protection of the coop. The best way to keep your chickens safe in this situation is to outline an area that you will make as your chicken yard. Use what your budget allows. Never bust your budget to make your chicken area pretty or safer than you think you need. Your chickens are not concerned with how pretty the area is and they trust that you will keep them safe. After all, if the yard isn't safe enough, they can stay in the coop...right? If you have overhead predators, hunt for additional fencing for over top of the fencing so that even if something lands on top of the yard area, it can't grab your chickens. Don't be afraid, just do it. If it doesn't come out sturdy enough, do it again!
    • Free-ranging in the yard and garden - I would only suggest someone letting their chickens out in the yard and garden if the yard or garden the chickens are in is fenced off. It would be very easy for a neighbor's dog to think it is playing with a chicken, then take off with it. In the yard or garden, make sure there is enough thick and high foliage so that your chickens can hide and feel safe when they want to. It's pretty funny that they blend so well, and they can be quiet.
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    Lock them up at night. Even using the free-ranging methods, at night you keep your chickens in a locked chicken coop. This is the only way to keep them safe at night. See what works for you. In the chicken coop they should have a place to hide so they are somewhat hidden to passersby. If a chicken gets too scared, it is true that they can die. If chickens are in a small place, like a dog crate, and the dog crate is out in the open and a dog comes up to the crate and barks and paws at the bird in the crate, you will certainly wake to a dead bird in the morning. One effective coop has the roosts, behind a hanging, heavy wool blanket, like the kind you find at an army surplus store. During the day, the chickens can go into a place that is not as sunny, and at night, they can be "in stealth mode"!


  • When making a safe place for your chickens, try to make it big enough so that you can get inside easily to check for drafts, leaks, comfort and, also, clean it.
  • Use your imagination and don't be too critical about what you build. As you progress in your building skills, or your budget increases, you can build a bigger and better area to keep your chickens safe from predators.
  • You can find tools at yard sales and flea markets. It's best to get your own if you can.
  • Don't be afraid to ask those who have chickens for help. Most people who have animals, especially fun animals like chickens, love their animals and will impart a wheelbarrow of knowledge on anyone who asks.
  • Don't be afraid to use "recyclable" items and found items. If you see someone throwing out a few 2" x 4"s, don't be afraid to ask if you can have them. While you are at it, ask them if they have any other building materials they want to get rid of. Once you tell them what you are doing, you might be surprised as to what they might give you, maybe enough for a great little coop for a couple of beautiful show roosters.

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Categories: Chickens