Keeping Your Chicken Safe This Winter
If you own a flock of chicken, you already know how exciting it is to witness their growth and development. Nothing breaks your heart like losing chickens to predators, especially when you’ve done so much to raise them from a young age.
All in all, visits from intruders are inevitable and all you can do is put the right measures in place. The fear of intruders attacking your flock should not hold you back. It is possible to raise chickens safely, here are some tips that you will find useful.
Identify the Potential Predators
Before you build a chicken coop, you should do some research to know the potential predators in your area. If it’s the first time you are thinking of raising poultry, you may not be aware of the chicken killers. Being in a safe city or suburb doesn't mean your area is free of predators. There are so many animals that are a threat to the well-being of your chickens. The most notorious chicken predators to be on the lookout for include:
Foxes are cunning and can kill your flock in a single sitting. They are present in both urban and rural areas. To keep foxes away, ensure your coop is sturdy and elevated. The only area where you cannot find foxes in the UK is the Isle of Man, so if you live here, you may consider yourself lucky.
Crows and Magpies
Crows and magpies can be a problem when raising chickens. They eat most of the poultry food and put them at risk of various diseases. Besides this, they kill young chicks and steal eggs.
Stoats and Weasels
Stoats and weasels are ruthless; they kill your birds and take them away. Since they have a high metabolism, these animals are always hungry and looking for something to eat. Weasels and stoats are some of the most difficult predators to keep away. They fit in small gaps and can climb high to reach your chickens.
A mink is bigger than a weasel and stoat, but is also brutal and kills chicken fast. The worst thing about a Mink is that it can kill every bird in the coop.
Cats are friendly to their owner and will easily fall in love with them. However, some of them kill and eat small chicks. Even domesticated cats can kill chicks despite being provided with enough food. Luckily most wild cats are not a problem in the UK.
Badgers are talented in digging and have large strong claws. They are capable of grabbing a chicken and running fast without dropping it. These predators are considerably strong with an adult weighing about 17 kg. They leave significant damage behind once they get into a coop.
Rats are a nuisance in the countryside and in urban areas. They can get into the coop to feed or drink water. They are dangerous can pass on diseases to your poultry and attack little chicks, especially at night.
Take solid steps to ensure coop security
- When making a coop for your chicken, you should take all measures to ensure safety. A solidly constructed coop that shuts appropriately will protect your poultry from predation. Some of the steps that you should take include.
- Dig a trench and bury hardware cloth around the chicken coop. It should be about 12 inches deep; the strong mesh product keeps away any digging predators.
- Ensure that the coop is elevated to prevent animals such as weasels, rats, mice, and snakes.
- Check around the area where you want to build your chicken coop for holes that could be a home for predators. If predators have a home near the coop, then it’s easier to gain access and do a lot of damage.
- Use lights that sense motion around your coop.
- Remove any food left by your chicken before nightfall. In addition, you should avoid having a compost pile near the coop.
- Clear any bushes near the coop. Predators are discouraged by an open field as they have no way to hide as they ‘make plans’ on attacking your poultry.
- To keep away owls and other birds of prey, cover the area where you chicken to use during the day.
Use Modern Technology
While having a professionally designed coop can keep your chicken safe, using modern technology can ensure additional safety. Some of the ideas that you can incorporate include a door that can sense the motion of a predator, cameras, and a motion sensor that sends you email alerts in case of an attack.
Get to know about the laws
As you protect your chicken, be sure to observe the law. Some means of preventing predation can land you into legal problems. Some of the things that may not be allowed include killing an animal or laying traps. Therefore, you should know how to protect your chickens from predators in a proactive and harmless but not lethal way.
Now you know the best ways to protect your chicken, even though there are others as well. No matter the method you choose, always ensure that it’s effective and legal. That way, you will never have any issues keeping your chickens safe.
We hope that this blog has been informative, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0845 873 0253 or head over to our contact page and fill in the enquiry form if you have any questions.