Whether you have recently purchased a chicken coop or you are in the thinking-phase, there may come a time at which your chickens will come face-to-face with hungry animals. Here’s some of those predators and how they kill (we know- this isn’t an easy post!):
Raccoons prey on chickens night and sometimes day. They can reach through wire and will often pull the chickens head or legs off. They also can tunnel under runs without wire flooring. Unsecured latches can easily be opened by raccoons.
Most dogs are natural predators and will find chickens very hard to resist. Even family pets, unless trained, will be tempted by your chickens. Most dogs will eat the chicken, leaving only feathers. However, dogs can be trained to leave them alone or even guard them. Some dogs will only chase or ‘play’ with them, but the trauma can keep the hen from laying eggs for months.
Skunks tend to eat chicken eggs more than kill adult poultry, but this is not always the case. In a word, they go for the blood.
Hawks will kill your adult chickens if they are outside without the protection of a cage with a wired roof.
Venomous snakes can kill full sized hens, but most snakes will go for the eggs. Keep the hen house secure with no cracks or holes. Keep tall grass cut and do not have your hen house close to compost piles or piles of logs or rock, as these are snakes’ favorite hideouts.
Cats (even domestic pets) enjoy the thrill of the hunt and can prey on small chickens and chicks. They can be trained to see them as fellow pets, however. Metal mesh, barbed wired picket fence, and tall hedges with thick lower growth can deter them.
Opossum will keep the chicken feed, eggs, chicks, and will attack even grown chickens. Keep a strong cage and your chickens penned at night.
8. Bob Cat, Coyotes, and Fox
All of these enjoy eating chicken. Secure your chickens at dusk in a tight and strong hen house to deter them. Large breed dogs are good to dissuade the animals from the property or at least to alert you to their presence.
In addition to these, rats, mice, owl, crow, squirrel, Fisher cat, bear, mice, mink, weasel, lice, and mites may at some point have an interest in your chickens. If you follow the proper precautions, however, your chickens will value you with their lives. This includes a well-made hen house, proper fencing, and keeping your chickens locked in and away at night.