Tips to Predator-Proof Your Coop

Whether you live in town or live in the suburbs, keeping your birds safe is a challenging task as they attract all kinds of predators. Nothing is worse than finding an injured, dead or missing flock member, so we decided to compile ten tips that will help you predator-proof your birds and ensure their safety and minimize loss and/or injury:

  1. Train your flock to return to the coop every night. If they are raised in a coop, they will naturally return at night to lay eggs and roost after being out all day. Make sure you lock and secure the coop every night.
  2. Ensure your coop is free of any holes in the walls, doors and floors. Cover any openings, including windows, with a tight, heavy-gauge wire or hardware cloth. Softer chicken wire or plastic mesh screens can easily be chewed, pried or torn open by outside predators.
  3. Raise your coop at least a foot off the ground to keep predators such as snakes, rats, skunks from living underneath and stealing eggs, chickens or younger chicks. Also, if you have cats, this allows them to crawl under the coop floor and eliminate any rodent or other small annoying visitors.
  4. To deter predators that are diggers, create a 12” trench all the way around the perimeter of the coop and bury hardware cloth.
  5. For maximize security, cover the run to protect against climbing or flying predators using welded-wire fencing, chicken wire or game-bird netting. You can also install a random array of crisscrossing wires overhead to discourage flying predators from grabbing your flock from above.
  6. Use a 2-step locks on door latches, such as spring locks and barrel-style locks, as raccoons and other fairly dexterous animals are able to easily unlatch simple locks and turn basic door handles.
  7. Use a motion-sensor-activated night light to flood the run with light after dark will keep most nocturnal predators away from the coop.
  8. Plant bushes inside the chicken run as your birds will like the shade and to nibble on the leaves but be sure to leave the perimeter as open as you can. Predators such as raccoons are less likely to try to work to get into a closure when they have to sit in the open to do it.
  9. Having chicken-friendly dogs around help serve as deterrents for predators hesitant to approach. A dog’s urine and feces smell serves as a natural deterrent as well. With this said, be sure your dog is trained not to go after your flock.
  10. Don’t leave uneaten food in the run or uncollected eggs in the coop as they both will attract rodents and predators. Although rodents will not go after your chickens they can spread disease. Be sure to store feed and water away from the coop or secure them tightly.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Tips to Predator-Proof Your Coop

  1. Jack Speese says:

    Thanks for a helpful article. I have had poultry most of my life and I’ve been blessed with only having to deal with one disease incident in all my years, but predators are the worst problem. We recently moved and I’m getting ready to build a new coop and pen. I’d put hawks at the top of the list because other than a pen with a top it’s nearly impossible to defend from an aerial attack. And second on my list would be dogs. Even a small but vicious dog can tear into a “secure” pen. In cases where digging a one foot trench would be impossible because of stones, roots, or whatever (even without such obstacles it could be more of a physical challenge than many folks could handle, especially ones like me who are getting older!), I’ve fastened landscape posts or other suitable, rot-resistant (I know some folks are against salt-treated lumber but something rot- and termite-proof is a must in the humid south) heavy duty lumber between the upright posts of my pen and nailed the bottom of the wire to them, and that has worked well too. And we had plenty of digging predators like dogs, raccoons, foxes, etc. and it kept them out. Electric fence works well too. And I second the advice not to use chicken wire. Yes, it’s lightweight, easier to work with, and less expensive but as I said, even a small but vicious dog can tear through it. And in the humid deep south it can also rust within a single season.

  2. Glen Warren says:

    Some very good tips. I have one more idea I placed an electric fence around my coop on the top and bottom to stop predators from climbing over you coop fence.

  3. Ethel says:

    for got to add my coop is 8ft h x8ft, w 2.5 ft. deep I have an old dead oak branch for their roost

  4. Ethel says:

    we have a closet type coop with small cicular holes about 1/2way for ventilation , hot texas summers , my hens are pastured . I have really enjoyed your news letters have learned a lot of very helpful information.

  5. The automatic chicken Coop door, and the hanging 5 gallon bucket waterers(with birdbath heaters inside) have made winter care so much quicker and easier. We can fill the buckets from the top, and the birds drink from the nipples with no messy troughs or spilled waterers. The chicken door have to make sure to flip the switch (ours is on a switch too), so if the power goes out/on the door doesn’t move.

  6. Herbert Logan says:

    Thank you for the tips at the beginning at end of each season. good reminders.

    Logan sends

  7. karen jackson says:

    also I have very good luck with wolf pee

  8. Johnny Lenard Price Sr says:

    I wish I would have had this information sooner. I lost five of my ten hens last week. John

  9. Michael Klopp says:

    Step 4, rather than dig a trench 12″ deep, I found to be too labor intensive even with a narrow trenching shovel; I dig 12″ out from the sides (Including building parts) at an angle, 1″ deep at the coop to 3-4″ deep on the outside and bury poultry wire (Galvanized!) attached to the sides and building, then simply back-fill. Predators seem to be too intent on going forward or down and have never backed up to find the edge of the wire. 24″ wire gives 12″ to bury and the rest to attached to the coop.
    I recently had a coyote or juvenile bear rip through the side and kill over a dozen birds. After repairing the wire I installed 4′ high pasture fencing around all wire areas and doors and have not had anymore problems.

Comments are closed.