Protecting Backyard Chickens from Predators
To keep the threat of preditors away, chicken coops are necessary to protect your chickens. These days, raising chickens is no longer relegated to country farms but can be done in your own backyard. Chickens are easy to raise, inexpensive to upkeep, make great pets, and offer many more benefits than just eggs. Free roaming chickens control local bug and weed populations because they eat them. The chicken waste (poop) is a great fertilizer to use on your lawn or garden.
To begin your journey into raising chickens, you can either start with baby chicks or buy fully grown chickens. The benefit of raising baby chicks is they get to know you and become familiar with being around humans. You can buy baby chicks at feed stores or with breeders. Make sure the baby chick is in good health before purchasing it. You want one that is active and eating and drinking food and water. Also, check out the beak for any sign of discharge. There are many breeds to choose from. Depending on what your specifications are regarding temperament and egg production, you will find a suitable breed. For the first 60 days or so, keep the chicks in a brooder. A cardboard box or a rubber/plastic storage bin works well. Use a heat lamp to bring warmth to the chicks and a thermometer to measure the temperature. For the first week, keep the chicks at 90 to 100 degrees. After that, reduce the temperature about 10 degrees every week until the chicks feather out.
Chickens have different preditors that won’t hesitate to make a meal out of them and will attack them at every opportunity. To avoid this, you need to invest in a chicken coop. Although they come in a range of sizes and styles, the best chicken coops are both cold and heat hardy but breezy enough to let air flow through. Roosting polls give the chickens a place to sleep and a nesting box a place to lay eggs in. A removable droppings tray makes it easier to handle the chicken waste. A space for food and water is necessary as well. Each chicken needs 2-3 Sq. Ft. of space inside the chicken coop and 4-5 Sq. Ft. of space in the run.
To make the chicken coop completely preditors proof, it’s important to dedicate attention to the outside. Wrap the coop and the chicken run in chicken wire or a wire mesh hardware cloth to protect the chickens from preditors such as raccoons, foxes, coyotes, etc. Make sure to wrap the sides and back of the chicken coop as well. Bury the mesh wire into the ground to prevent rodents from entering. Cover the top of the chicken coop with an aviary type netting to prevent hawks or other predatory birds from entering. Keep a vigilant eye out for any openings because a determined preditors will find its way in even through the smallest of spaces. Taking these steps will keep your chickens preditors free in their chicken coop.