Let’s face it, chickens are a natural prey animal, and there are many predators who wouldn’t mind some chicken dinner. Us chicken keepers aren’t here to give them an easy meal, so let’s make sure we’re doing all we can to protect them. Here’s my blog on making a chicken run, were I explain all about protection measures and more, so visit there next! For now, let’s get into what animals are a threat to your chickens, and seeing if they are a threat to your area.
I’ve witnessed some predator attacks, and they are the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. These animals have no mercy in your flock, and they can wipe out a whole flock or just a single chicken, and I don’t want anyone to go through that. It’s terrible, and can be easily prevented, especially if you know what animals are craving some chicken. Here’s a list of the most common chicken predators and where they are most commonly found. Keep in mind however, that just because you live in town or where that predator isn’t typically found, it can still happen, and a predator attack will happen if you’re not prepared.
- Hawks: They have the sharpest eyes you can imagine, so it’s important to use poultry netting or build a covered run in order to make sure your birds stay safe. Also, using hardware cloth for your run fencing is ideal as I’ve seen a hawk try to pull chickens through chicken wire! It’s important to outsmart them before it’s to late!
- Dogs: Dogs are the most common predator along with hawks. If a neighbor’s hungry dog gets loose and their hunting instinct kicks in, an unprotected flock of chickens could be in real danger.
- Foxes: Even though fox attacks aren’t as common, they still happen. Foxes will take just one chicken and leave the rest of the flock undisturbed, which is why I always lock my chickens up every night so nothing can get at them. I’m extra diligent about foxes as there’s been a few that have walked around my run at night, but luckily didn’t go in and my birds were locked up!
- Weasels: I’ve read some people who posted about weasel massacres, and they’re quite horrifying. Weasels kill for fun, and sometimes won’t eat the chicken at all, but rather their organs.
- Owls: They hunt at night, which is another reason I keep my chickens in a safe coop locked up at night. Even though I’ve never seen an owl around my house, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Raccoons: Raccoons are smart, and they will work together in a group to get into coops and kill chickens. They undo many types of latches, so make sure you buy predator proof latches for your coop.
- Snakes: I let my chickens range around for a while one day, leaving the coop door open, and an hour later I went to check for eggs. I lift the lid to see a snake eating eggs! Since then I make sure snakes can’t get in, even though I haven’t seen any around here in NC since I moved. Not only do they eat eggs, but they prey on chickens as well.
- Cats: House cats, bobcats, whatever kind of cat lives by you. I’ve had a cat sneak in and kill three chickens, and it was a horrifying massacre. They can take chickens, or just kill them, eat them, and leave the feathers.
- Opossums: They most commonly attack the breast and legs of a chicken, and thankfully I haven’t seen any here.
- Skunks: Don’t typically attack older birds, but can kill them and not eat them. They are also known to eat eggs.
Chickens are defiantly a prey animal, so I hope this list helps you protect your flock from predators! Thanks for reading!
Dancing with Chickens