20 Tips on how to protects your poultry from predators
If you train chickens for commercial or for self or you are planning to, then one thing you always have to think about is farm security and how best to guard against predators. If you do not give this issue attention, unfortunately, you may have a gruesome discovery come morning when you feed the flock.
Most of the time we spend our time learning of how to make our birds healthy so no sickness would wipe them off. Its quite good but its not only sickness we should be worried about but also predators, they could do a lots of damage than you can imagine in a night. After many years of experience in poultry farming and some private research i have come up with some possible ways you can use in protecting your farm from predators.
1.Do know what predators are in your area. If you’re new to the area, you may want to check with your neighbors or the local extension agency to find a list of local culprits. Many predators, such as raccoons and snakes, can be found nationwide, but others are more local and may require some extra protection to keep them away.
2. Do use 1/2 inch hardware cloth to secure openings in your farm. Hardware cloth is welded wire. It’s sturdy and not easily ripped open, unlike chicken wire which is not predator-proof and better left for the craft cabinet. Make sure even the smallest of holes are secured. If you find weasels killing chickens, check for mouse and rodent tunnels. Weasels like to use those tunnels to gain entry to the pen house. Also be sure to bury your hardware cloth at least six inches down into the ground and a foot out horizontally from the coop. This will stop digging predators. Even if you have windows with screens in your coop, make sure to add the welded wire too. Screens help keep the bugs out. Hardware cloth keeps the predators out.
3. Put lights around the coop at night; motion-sensor lights work well. many of this predators are scared of light so do not go close to the area that is lightened up, like rats and snakes. the bird also would be able to notice them and try facing them to scare them away or shout around the pen, by then someone would notice and check them.
4. Keep your compose pile far away from the pen. Do not allow food scraps to linger. Clean up any food scraps that the chickens do not eat before nightfall. If you noticed rats are always common in dirty areas.
5.Mow the grass or field near or around the pen. An open field without cover is a deterrent to predators
6. Block Any Access Holes. Make sure you regularly check your pen for any access holes. Even small trivial gaps/holes can be used by predators to gain access to the coop- a weasel can squeeze through a ½ inch hole.
7. Do change up your protection techniques on a regular basis. Predators are smart and they get used to routines and things that stay in place for a long time. For example, if you’ve got a scarecrow in the yard, move it to a different place every few days.
8. Check Your Biosecurity. Make sure you clean up your pen in the evening after your chickens have gone to roost- pay special attention to any scraps and food lying around. We may not think of rats as predators, but they are attracted by leftover food. Once they have moved in to the neighborhood, they can and will eat eggs and chicks. If you see rats during the daytime, it’s likely you have a serious problem.
9. Weapons and Traps. The final layer of predator protection is a gun. Without getting into the politics of gun ownership, shooting the offending animal or firing a shotgun in the direction of the offending predator will certainly scare away or get rid of the problem. For example, a weasel was shot and killed after eating the faces off of several hens in the coop. If the weasel was not dispatched it is highly likely it would have come back night after night to feast on nicely fattened hens.
10. Hang Your Old CDs. If you have free ranging hens it can be more difficult to protect them against birds of prey. One effective way I’ve found is to hang unwanted CDs from trees, posts etc. The reflection of the sun from the CD will deter them. You can also use pie pans, disco balls – anything that will reflect light.
Note: Do not use mirrors; you don’t want to accidentally start a fire!
11. Use Guard Dogs. A guard dog does the same job as a rooster – only better. Dogs can range further away from the flock and the scent of a dog is very disturbing to most predators, so they will likely leave your flock in peace. Make sure your dog is good with your chickens before you leave them together unattended. You don’t want your guard dog turning into the predator!
12.Collect Eggs Daily. A lot of predators will only break into your coop to get eggs. If you make sure to collect your eggs frequently during the day you will deter many predators- especially rats and snakes!
13. Do embrace technology. Yes, we chicken keepers are a hardy sort, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use some extra help. Things like automatic chicken coop doors with built-in predator motion detection that can send you email alerts, night guard solar lights, and wildlife cameras can make all the difference.
14. Don’t leave your chickens in an open area. One of the best ways to protect chickens from hawks, owls, and eagles is to make sure your chickens have lots of places to hide when a predator is flying overhead. Bushes, large grasses, decks, and overhangs can be a perfect place to take shelter.
15. Don’t forget the seasons. While we tend to think of our chicken keeping chores as seasonal, predator protection can have highs and lows based on the seasons. During the spring and fall, many flying predators will migrate. If you’re in a natural flyway, then business at that time will be brisk. Spring is the time that most predators are reproducing. They’ll require more food during this time to feed their young and themselves.
16. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over with the same results. Logically, this makes sense in life. It also makes sense for protecting chickens from predators. For instance, if you experience fox attacks early in the morning, then don’t let your chickens out early in the morning. Wait until a little later in the day.
17. Don’t assume your pets will love your chickens as much as you do. While many chicken keepers are most concerned about wild predators, domestic dogs are actually said to be the number one predator of chickens. Never leave your own pet dog alone in the yard with your chickens until you are 100 percent sure he or she can be trusted. Also, beware of roaming neighborhood dogs. While wild predators kill for food, domestic dogs will kill for the sport of it. They can kill an entire flock just for the fun of it. Domestic cats are not considered a predator of full-size standard chickens, but baby chicks and tiny bantams are bite-sized. So, make sure your brooder is secure and your smallest bantams are kept away from domestic cats.
18. Don’t discount the worth of a good rooster. Yes, roosters aren’t allowed in many neighborhoods, but if you don’t face any restrictions, then consider getting a rooster. If you think about it, a rooster’s sole job in life is to reproduce. To do that, the “ladies” have to be safe. So, a good rooster will always keep an eye out for danger. If he spots anything, he’ll sound the alarm and gather his hens in a safe place. Some roosters have even been known to lose their lives while defending the flock.
19.Don’t always assume missing eggs or missing chickens are the end result of a wild predator. Hens can go on laying strikes for a number of reasons including stress, lack of water, time of year or lack of nutrition. Also, hens have been known to go broody and hide their nest really well, only to appear almost a month later with babies in tow.
20. Let us learn from you to.. comment in the box bellow.. Hope you pick one or two and try them in your farm. Please make sure you leave a comment about what you think also browse through some other articles that could be useful to you thanks.