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Whether you love your chickens or think that they are highly annoying creatures, you want to keep them safe as part of your livelihood.
Chickens are not the easiest birds to care for — they certainly have a lot of predators!
It seems like coyotes are always lurking in the shadows on a farm, and chickens are some of their easiest prey.
Let’s look at how to keep coyotes away from chickens. Hopefully you’ll feel better about protecting your flock after reading this discussion!
How to keep coyotes away from chickens
While chickens may be fairly defenseless creatures, you can take a lot of precautions to protect them from coyotes.
Here’s our list of helpful tips to take care of your chickens and reduce the risk of predators’ success.
- Make sure that the chicken coop is coyote-proof. This includes covering the top.
Coyote-proofing the chicken coop is your strongest line of defense against all predators, including coyotes.
If a coyote cannot find its way into the chicken coop, chances are that other predators will be blocked as well.
What does “coyote-proofing” a chicken coop mean?
Basically, make the chicken coop as strong as possible. Bury boards and chicken wire at least 3-6 inches deep into the ground to prevent coyotes from digging underneath.
Block and repair any holes that you find. Use strong materials like wood and steel to construct the chicken coop.
Chickens are in their most vulnerable state when they are in the coop; this is where they need the most protection.
- Bury chicken wire at least 6 inches into the ground. Use hardware mesh, too.
Coyotes are excellent diggers, and a little chicken wire will not stand in their way.
If you really want to protect your chickens, bury chicken wire a minimum of 6 inches below ground.
Go the extra mile and attach hardware mesh beneath the chicken wire.
Chicken wire is weak and flimsy, so it will not stand up against a determined coyote. Hardware mesh, on the other hand, is much tougher and will do a better job to block coyotes.
Think of it this way: chicken wire serves to keep chickens in; hardware mesh keeps coyotes out.
You can even layer your chicken wire to strengthen it and prevent holes.
If one of your chickens is feeling adventurous, you do not want her to escape in the middle of the night!
Inspect chicken wire frequently and replace weak sections. Promptly mend any holes and make sure that the wire is settled deep into the ground.
- Remove debris and clear away weeds.
While keeping a tidy area may seem unrelated to protecting your girls, there is actually a strong relationship.
If you clear away tall grass, weeds and debris on your property, it will be easier for you to spot potential flaws before they become a problem.
Some people think that tall weeds actually protect chickens by reducing predators’ visibility, but this is simply not the case.
If you have chickens, all of the coyotes in the area will be aware, regardless of the height of your weeds.
However, tall grass and debris can hide potential weak spots in chicken wire and in the area surrounding your chicken coop.
Also, coyotes are great at hiding in tall weeds. Debris makes them feel safe and protected.
The cleaner your property, the less likely coyotes are to feel at home.
- Regularly inspect and repair your chickens’ area.
This follows suit with the remarks above.
If you do not regularly inspect your chickens’ habitat, do so.
Make a checklist of each item to review, and conduct your checks at the same time every week.
Even the sturdiest of structures break down over time; don’t let your lack of vigilance be the reason that a coyote reaches your hens!
- Keep your chickens inside at night and use a predator-proof lock.
If you do not lock your chickens inside at night, you are inviting predators like coyotes to attack.
To protect your chickens against coyotes, lock them in the chicken coop every night.
Make sure that your lock is predator-proof.
A determined coyote will not be deterred by a simple wooden slat. This will not do much to stop a raccoon, either.
Instead, install a lock that only a human could operate. You don’t need to make it super difficult to use, but be sure that a coyote could not figure out how to open the coop.
Also, use a lock that is heavy enough to withstand a substantial amount of pressure.
Coyotes are known to slam their bodies into the sides of chicken coops to break in, and the lock will be the barrier.
One potential option is the Heavy Duty Spring Latch Bolt, 1/2″ Pin Shed, Barn, Chicken Coop Black Powder Coat from Grand Lake Country Store (view at Amazon).
- Remove food sources. Pick up eggs each day. Keep the coop clean.
Keeping the chicken coop clean may be one of the most arduous tasks, but it’s also one of the most important things you can do to protect your hens.
Remove food scraps. Clean out the chicken poop. And, yes, this includes collecting eggs each day.
If you leave the chickens’ area dirty, predators will be drawn in by the smell. If you reduce the smell, you reduce the amount of predators in the area.
- Get a guard dog.
Some farms use guard animals. Depending on the size of your farm and the threat of coyotes, this may be a good idea for you.
A dog can help protect chickens from predators like coyotes. However, please thoughtfully consider whether or not this idea makes sense for you.
- Install motion sensor lights.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions.
For as threatening as coyotes seem, they are very afraid of humans. If they think that people are nearby, they will probably run away.
You can simulate this experience by installing motion sensor lights to scare away predators.
When the coyote gets close, the light will turn on, scaring the coyote.
One good option may be the URPOWER Solar Lights Wireless Waterproof Motion Sensor Outdoor Light for Patio, Deck, Yard, Garden with Motion Activated Auto On/Off (4-Pack) (view at Amazon).
If you are concerned about keeping chickens safe from coyotes, be sure to contact an industry professional for the safest and most effective option for your situation.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com