Homesteading is a lot of fun and a lot of work. Aside from daily chores, homesteading also comes with the headaches of keeping your chickens alive and well. The biggest culprit? Predators. Chicken raising comes with its fair share of heartache, particularly if you have foxes, possums, and wildcats in your midst.
While there’s no such thing as being 100% predator-proof, you can take steps to protect your flock. Here are my favorite predator-proofing measures. Add yours in the comments!
No chicken wire
I know it’s called chicken wire, but it’s not the best option to protect your chickens. It’s designed to keep chickens in, but it doesn’t keep predators out. Opt for stronger hardware cloth instead. Use it anywhere you would normally use chicken wire, like the sides of the coop or windows.
Digging animals are a huge threat to grounded coops. It can cost a little more, but elevating your coop is an easier way to dig-proof. If you’d like to keep your coop on the ground, bury hardware cloth two feet below the surface. Sure, it’s extra work, but it can be the difference between having chickens and having a lot of feathers. For extra dig-proofing, design your coop to have solid floors. It’s much harder to dig through wood than dirt!
Lock it up
Always bring your chickens inside the coop before nightfall. They should be locked up safely from sunset to sunrise every day to protect against predators. Remember to choose a complex lock for your coop, too. Raccoons are very cunning critters and have been known to open simple hatch-based locks.
Hens aren’t known for their fighting skills. However, other farm animals can defend your ladies. Roosters are a bit of a handful, but if you can tolerate them, they will protect your chickens. In fact, roosters are known to herd the hens to a safe area and sacrifice themselves protecting the flock. If you don’t want the work of keeping a rooster, guard dogs can also keep your hens safe in the event of a predator invasion.
Motion activated lights
Nighttime predators despise light. To deter predators from pestering your hens, install bright LED motion-activated lights.
The bottom line
Homesteaders are no strangers to heartbreak. However, you should take every precaution possible to prevent tragedy from befalling your chickens. Use these tips to strengthen your hens’ home and protect against pesky predators.