While closing the coop door at dusk is the most efficient way to keep enemies out of your coop, these six tips can help you stay one step ahead of those pesky predators:
Understand Your Enemy
Before you install new hardware or hang deterrents such as reflective discs in the trees, become familiar with what types of predators are prone to the environment around you.
Different types of varmints require different types of coop security based on the approaches they take to intrude your chickens’ home. The most common predators of backyard coops include foxes, raccoons, opossums, hawks, owls, and coyotes. Some predators dig, while others patiently wait for small spaces to open up. So, knowing what plan of attack to prepare for is the first step toward keeping your chickens safe and secure.
A hungry predator is a determined predator. Red foxes in particular are great at digging and won’t mind putting in the extra effort if it results in a healthy hen supper.
To prevent a determined fox from gaining access to your coop, bury chicken wire or hardware mesh 2 to 4 feet below and around your entire coop enclosure.
Remember though, chicken wire keeps chickens in and hardware mesh keeps predators out. If predators aren’t a huge issue where you live, then chicken wire will suffice. However, animals like raccoons can easily break through the larger openings. Hardware mesh may cost a little more, but there’s less of a chance it will need to be replaced down the road.
Clear Your Coop
When you think of the word “predator,” words like “hide” or “stalk” may come to mind. If the area around your coop is left wild and overgrown, hunters will have an easier time calculating their attacks as they patiently wait safe from sight. Increase visibility for your chickens by clearing any brush around your coop’s perimeter.
Clearing your coop also means keeping the area clean. Taking the time to discard any leftover scraps will prevent smaller rodents from coming around for easy eats (then sticking around for the eggs and baby chicks).
Beware of Small Spaces
Keeping a chicken coop safe is like keeping your house clean. If you stay on top of it rather than waiting weeks between each cleaning, it’s a quick and painless process. Your coop is exposed to the elements all day every day, so small access holes will appear one way or another. Snakes and rats find these spaces quickly and will take advantage of the exposed eggs and small chicks. If you regularly keep up with cleaning, you’ll notice them and be able to take action before it’s too late.
No Skip Days
While larger predators are after your hens, other animals will attempt to breach your coop strictly for eggs. However, they can’t chase after something that isn’t there for them to catch. Gather your eggs daily so these smaller critters won’t be as tempted to come after your coop.
Add a Coop Controls Kit
Consider an investment in Coop Controls so that you won’t forget to secure the coop door each night, putting your entire flock at risk. The beauty in this smart controller is that it will sense daylight and open your coop at sunrise as well as close your coop at sunset. Coop Controls also has a feature that can delay the open or close times for up to one hour. Check out our videos on YouTube or CoopControls.com for more inform