In one sense, chickens are easy to care for. They don't require much daily maintenance. However, chickens prove prey to a surprising array of predators. If you're going to keep your chickens safe, you'll want to know the main predators in your area and do what you can to prevent them from harming your flock.
5 Chicken Predators and How to Prevent Them
Though it's unlikely you'll face all these predators at the same time, chances are high you'll deal with at least one at some point.
Whether local domesticated dogs or wild dogs, these predators are most active at night. Though they are unlikely to eat a chicken whole, they will kill it and ravage its body, leaving the carcass nearby.
In order to keep your chickens safe from dogs, be sure to close and secure your coop every night. Keep it well-mended and well-maintained.
Snakes like to sneak and slither into chicken coops, killing chicks and swallowing eggs.
Keeping snakes out of your coop is more challenging. Be sure to check your coop for holes and cracks in the walls and around doors, filling them with caulking or foam. Watch to be sure no small animals have burrowed or tunneled into the ground around the coop as well, leaving easy access for snakes.
3. Birds of Prey
Birds of prey are a special threat to free-range chickens. They will swoop down and snag one bird at a time, slowly diminishing your flock one by one. The best way to deal with birds of prey is to invest in bird netting.
Raccoons are amazingly crafty and have dexterous hands. They are a threat to coops everywhere. Installing motion-activated lights can often be a deterrent since they are active at night. If you're having an ongoing raccoon problem, be sure to invest in heavy mesh wire instead of regular chicken wire, which they can rip with their claws.
Foxes love chicken and are extremely smart. Fencing and mesh can both help guard against foxes, as can keeping your coop in excellent repair.
Here at PopWorms!, we're proud to support you as you care for your feathered friends. To learn more about our premium products, please feel free to contact us at any time.
As lovers of chickens, we want to give the most nutritious, most delicious food to our feathered friends. But, you may be curious as to what organic foods your flock will love and that you can grow yourself!
The good news is lots of fresh edible greens that your chickens love are likely already growing in abundance in your backyard. Weeds such as plantain, clover, chickweed, purslane, and dandelion will delight your chickens and your wallet. Weeds are nutrient-dense and provide many health benefits. Why not plant a weed garden especially for your chickens to feast on? Include such nutritious selections as wood sorrel, nettles, and bee balm.
Grow Fresh Herbs
A household herb garden (whether indoor or outdoor) will not only enhance your culinary adventures but will also supply many benefits to your flock. Adding fresh herbs, such as dill, cilantro, basil, and parsley, to a bowlful of backyard weeds makes for a healthy wholesome chicken salad (Steele, Lisa. "Make a Weed Salad with Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Chickens." Backyard Poultry, April/May 2017, pp. 76-78). Herbs can also be dried and added to feed for a nutritional boost. Other garden delights your chickens will love include pumpkins, sunflowers, and berries.
Sunflower seeds are also a natural way to add nutrition and cut your feed costs. Black oil sunflower seeds are the most common variety fed to chickens, but any variety of sunflower will produce heads of healthy seeds. The larger the sunflower head, the more seeds you will get. The Russian Mammoth sunflower is one of the largest out there and is also easy to grow. Each flower grows 8 to 14 inches in diameter and produces a bumper crop of plump seeds, often over 1000 seeds per head (Why Grow The Russian Mammoth Sunflower The Homesteading Hippy). They grow in just about any growing zone and your soil does not need to be exceptional for them to thrive. The flowers are attractive to pollinators and, drum-roll please, are deer resistant. A visually stunning, low-maintenance plant with minimal watering needs that will supply your flock with delicious, wholesome food from your backyard.
I hope these tips are helpful! And don’t forget that PopWorms! gives your chickens a variety of all-natural, wholesome treats!