Raising chickens is probably every homesteaders dream, the picture of farming perfection. But keeping your chickens safe from predators is one of the hardest things that farmers deal with, because let’s face it. Who doesn’t want to eat a chicken?
Humans like to eat chickens and eggs. That’s the main reason we keep them, but although we are at the very top of the food chain, the poor chickens are quite low on it, and we are not the only ones who like to eat them. Foxes, snakes, coyotes, dogs, weasels, hawks, eagles, and even raccoons and big rats will go for an occasional chicken, if not directly to their eggs.
There are many methods used to keep chicken coops safe, and it is definitely not an impossible task. The key is to foresee every possible source of attack and try to prevent it before it happens.
Chicken wire is a commonly used building material, when making a chicken coop, but hardware cloth is much more effective because it has smaller meshing and is much harder to rip apart. Something that raccoons or weasels can easily do with chicken wire.
Using this hardware cloth for ventilation points and the floor of your coop will ensure that burrowing or chewing animals will have a harder time getting in. If on top of that, you lay down a solid floor, then you will make it even harder for them to find a way in. You can also use this hardware cloth around your coop to make sure that your chickens are protected when venturing outside the coop for a little walk. It will completely insulate your coop from nosey animal visitors and give your chickens a little more freedom to roam.
If you build your chicken coop elevated from the ground, it will remove the advantage to burrowing creatures, and create a space where a cat could easily catch small rodents that are trying to invade. Some farmers use electric wiring around the coop, to scare away any possible intruders, but this could harm small children, pets or absent minded adults.
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We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.