Chickens – Protection from Predators

Q: I have had chickens in the past but I now live in the Cohutta’s and am afraid to start again because of predators like coyotes. What suggestions do you have for a secure coop?

A: Andy Schneider, The Chicken Whisperer, says, “There will always be something that “loves” your chickens more than you.”

He suggests small runs covered with bird netting to protect against hawks. Coyotes are more difficult to deter. Chicken owners have resorted to tall fences, electric fencing and guard dogs.

I’ve put together a web page of sites you can visit to see solutions others have tried here.

Andy’s complete answer:

“I always tell them that there will always be something that will love your chickens more than you. This being said there are several things we can do to try to prevent this from happening, but nothing is perfect.

“If you are going to allow your chickens to free range some during the day there will always be a chance that a predator will get one or two on occasion. However we can make sure that the chickens are secure at night.

“The bigger your run the harder it is to protect from predators coming from the air. However, an area of 15′ to 20′ square is manageable. I currently have two areas in my backyard that are about 15′ square and have them covered with bird netting. This works very well, but can sometimes be aggravating when your trying to work inside the run.

“Some chicken owners use fishing line and criss cross it all across the top of the run. This may be a less expensive alternative, but the bird netting is not that expensive, and can be found at Home Depot, and Lowe’s.

“Securing your run from ground predators is a little more difficult, and labor intensive, but can be done. Some chicken owners will bury the fence that surrounds their run/coop at least 12 inches deep. Some have actually hammered in steel re-bar into the ground all around the base of the fence line, and others have placed rocks, stone, or block around the bottom of the fence to discourage the predators from digging under.

“If at all possible the chickens need to be put inside a secure coop at night that is completely predator proof.”