He had left the poison out for coyotes and a bald eagle got it. So stay with me! There all kinds of creatures that will soon take a keen interest in your coop. Total darkness makes chickens go into a kind of stupor. Hawks have extremely good eyesight and like to perch high to scan for prey. I’ve also seen raccoon rip chickens right through chicken wire, pretty much mutilating them to death. What happened was during the struggle, the possum began banging on a brooder that’s against the house. When these predators attack your flock, you will probably not even realize it until it is too late. Using 1” to ½” hardware cloth is best, and I like to staple the hardware cloth to wood on the top and bottom of the coop and run so the opossums can’t fit underneath. by Maat van Uitert | Dec 21, 2015 | Chickens, Podcast | 9 comments, Table of Contents (Quickly Jump To Information). Many will argue this point, but the fact remains that a truly tenacious predator will find a way to access your coop, particularly if given the luxury of time or when aided by inclement weather. Now, let’s get on to why we’re here. Next on our list of chicken predators are hawks. So opossums use their claws to kill chickens, ripping them open and pretty much apart. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress, Tell what predators are attacking your chicken flock based on some tell-tale signs, Stay within the confines of the law when dealing with chicken predators, Now before we get started, I just want to briefly mention a company that I love and that’s. However, any poorly protected livestock, including chickens, can appear on the cougar’s menu. Nocturnal predators (like owls and opossums) will move under the cover of darkness. They also love heat lamps… I have heard some disturbing stories about homesteaders finding snakes curled up in a nest box, full of an egg or two. Using metal such as tin or wood for the coop and run cover, hardware cloth or chicken wire are good options. Now, there are about 270 species of hawks, and the ones pecking off your flock will depend on the species specific to your area. Predators other than domestic dogs usually eat at least part of the chickens in my experience. They picked them off 1 by 1 last year. So know your local laws and have a plan to deal with chicken predators within the confines of these laws so you stay out of trouble. They’re slightly larger than foxes. I would love it if you dropped me a line at [email protected] to let me know how you handle chicken predators or if you have any questions about it. There are certainly breeds like livestock guardian dogs, that are more protective of a flock of chickens. They don’t usually eat the whole chicken, but only part, and many times it’s the head. It is important to note before we begin that there is no such thing as a 100% predator-proof coop. There’s no mistaking the evidence of a chicken attacked by a hawk, the signs are quite different from all other predators. Raccoons will often pull a bird’s head through the wires of your coop enclosure and leave the rest of the body. You should check with your local department of conservation about your state’s laws regarding relocating chicken predators. Most adults weigh between 22 to 25 pounds on average. Dogs like to bite chickens in the middle and aggressively shake them until they’ve done enough internal damage that the chicken dies. In order to protect your poultry from future attacks, it's important to learn how to identify their enemy. Raccoon are extremely smart and can figure out how to open simple latches, so if raccoon are an issue in your area, then using several latches or a single complicated one is a good deterrent. Hawks, like the fox and coyote are well prepared for their attack by staking out the premises beforehand. So when it comes to your chickens, having raw, organic items on hand, That being said, you should know federal and state laws about killing wildlife. In my area, I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any legal consequences if a dog that attacked a chicken flock was shot, but in other areas of the country, especially more urban areas, you might be looking at gun and animal abuse charges. It’s just one of those things that happens to chicken owners from time to time, and I don’t think it’s breed specific. Last week I had my first close-encounter with a predator… Even though I allow my flock to free range during the day and I live among a slew of predators (fox, raccoon, hawk, etc..), Boy was i surprised. Now, the reason I’m telling you about them is because it’s where I source raw, organic items I use on my homestead. Similarly, in some areas is illegal to relocate wildlife, and also you might run into trouble if you shoot them, especially a domestic dog. Top 10 Chicken Predators. Hello there, I just wanted to give a thank you for the post. READ NEXT: ORGANIC CHICKEN FEED RECIPE (THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK). Minks will leave,”vampire marks”,on the neck,drinking the blood and leaving the body intact. There, you’ll find all sorts of information to help you figure out which chicken predators around your coop. I don’t really see many raccoon in our area, but they do pop up every so often. A few days later, the giant drake was killed, left in tact, and again the predator came back and ate him from stomach to spine the following night. Evening. You can access this podcasts show notes at TheFrugalChicken.com/Podcast13, that’s podcast one three all one word. The Top Ten Chicken Predators. All species of hawks have some basic similarities like very good eyesight which is said to be the best in the animal world, talons on their feet and sharp, hooked beaks for capturing and eating prey. Now, remember that hawks are protected by the Migratory Birds Treaty Act, and capturing and killing them might get you into trouble. I looked around the yard and finally found him dead inside an open storage shed. One raccoon will scare al… Over to you. Reading Time: 5 minutes By Gail Damerow – Keep a flock for long and sooner or later you’ll be asking yourself, “What killed my chicken?” Many marauders love our backyard chickens as much as we do, and each leaves a calling card that offers a clue as to which predator you’re dealing with. The dog also had no access to the duck pen, so there is no way he could be responsible for the duck deaths or eating them. They recommend euthanizing chicken predators by gunshot or what they recognize as another humane method of euthanization in accordance with the American Veterinary Medical Association’s recommendations. Another option are predator deterrents that contain a motion sensor that flashes lights if they’re set off. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that free-range chickens used for meat have access to the outdoors, but many never make it outside because theyâ ve been bred and drugged to grow so obese that they can hardly move. If you don’t know what Thrive Market is, it’s an online organic supermarket, and it’s a little like Costco meets your favorite farmers market. These chicken predators particularly like to go after chickens because they’re easy prey. Hawks, for example, don’t just come in brown, so the author’s claim that hawks are identifiable by the “dark brown” coloring of their feathers is limited to a few very specific species and excludes varieties that are the most likely to hunt chickens. Chickens, after all, look for ways to die. Chicken Predators – What You Need to Know. But I’ve also seen lap dogs, like Pomeranians, kill chicks, so while certainly some breeds are  more predisposed to hunting instincts, I think it just depends on the individual dog. Including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls eye your chickens from the sky. The crop may be torn open, along with the breast, and the entrails eaten. I’ve heard they just eat the heads. If feeding your family the most nutritious food possible is important to you, then you’ll want to check out my course. But I’m back, and in this episode we’ll talk about 5 common chicken predators, these are the ones I personally have the most experience with, how to identify which of these predators killed your hens based on some tell-tale signs, and what you can do to prevent them from killing your even more of your chicken flock. Predator-Proof Chicken Coops? The easiest way to protect your flock from chicken predators like hawks is by constructing a secure coop with a covered run. Raccoons will eat the head off of your chicken and let the rest of the bird lay for other predators to eat. It’s pretty ugly. I found this article to help you learn how to identify a chicken predator by … While opossums will eat chickens where they’ve killed them, raccoon will sometimes eat them there, but they’ll also strew the bodies yards away from the kill site, so if you come across a number of dead chickens, and they’re all over the place, it’s more likely a raccoon than a opossum. Here's a predator solution that works well for free range chickens...This Northwest Farm Terrier puppy is being trained to protect the chickens. But in this podcast, we’ll go over some of the more common chicken predators, and these are ones that I have experience with. These birds will kill only one or two of your flock at a time, saving the rest for later. Foxes, coyotes, raccoons, dogs, mink, owls, and some hawks also find chickens a meaty, easy-to-catch meal. Their barks are rapid and high pitched and you usually hear a lot of them at once. However, because they aren’t very big, they usually try to attack chicks. Coyotes are third on our list of chicken predators, and if you don’t know what that is, a coyote is a species of canine that hunts in packs. Both were very large, especially the drake. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. For the chicken coops we built, we used tin for the roof, and chicken wire to cover the runout area. They will kill more than one chicken, but opossums usually only kill for the food they need that day. We have listed some of the most common predators below to make sure that you know why you need your coop built so sturdy. That being said, you should know federal and state laws about killing wildlife. We couldn’t find out how they were getting in though. Keeping the area clean of trash and removing chicken feed at night is another way to deter these chicken predators. Watching a flock of chickens can be as entertaining as watching teenagers at the mall. Chicken Predators Chart. Now a word about relocation. My dog was an indoor dog that I’d had for years, and he was gentle with people and my cats. To prevent opossums from killing your chickens, it’s best to have a secure coop with no entry points. The Department of Natural Resources was able to trace the poison back to that chicken owner. Now, one thing I must mention before we proceed. Weasel might be a strong possibility, they can get through tiny cracks. Believe it or not, raccoons came in with a whopping total nearly one and a half times that of the runner-up, which was dogs. Coyotes kill by going for the jugular with their teeth, and if possible, they take their prey away from the scene of the kill to eat. For now, feel free to continue reading. Often, you will find the head of a bird a distance away. Dogs usually kill for sport by gripping the chicken in the middle, then shaking the bird until it’s mortally wounded. In this episode of What The Cluck?! You should check with your local wildlife authority about whether you’re allowed to kill coyotes before shooting one, to be on the safe side, but you can always let a few rounds off which might scare them away. If digging underground to get into the coop becomes an issue, then letting your chicken wire go 4 inches below the surface of the soil will deter the digging. So, are there chicken predators in your area that you regularly contend with? Chicken predators are usually not that big of an issue for commercial operations as the birds are under lock and key all the time. Finally, we do have a 10-year old dachshund who we let outside to relieve himself. I would love it if you dropped me a line at. By using this website, you agree that the information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure illnesses or diseases. Lisa Steele, a 5th generation chicken keeper and Master Gardener, and author of the popular books Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens Naturally and Gardening with Chickens lives with her husband on a small hobby farm in Maine where she raises a mixed flock of chickens and ducks, grows herbs and enjoys cooking using fresh vegetables from her garden and fresh eggs from her coop. You can grab it at http://FeedingYourHensRight.com. Foxes Anyone who has a wheat allergy and can’t eat store bought eggs will understand what I mean. Of course, if you see raccoon tracks, which are bigger than opossum tracks, you’ll know your culprit that way too. First, I also lost two four-year old ducks this winter. And just as a reminder, you can access this podcast’s show notes at TheFrugalChicken.com/podcast13, that’s Podcast one three all one word. I’ve walked into coops after a possum attack and there’s just pieces of chickens everywhere, it’s pretty disgusting. 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