Rearing chicken comes with various challenges, but the most challenging one is dealing with predators. This requires one to understand the predator they are dealing with. Some of the most common predators that can easily attack your chicken include raccoons, foxes, and coyotes.
Knowing how each predator behaves is one of the easiest ways to keep track of them. Coyotes are especially a nuisance to chicken owners since they tend to destroy and attack when you least expect. With their defined canine profile and low hanging bushy tail, you can never mistake a coyote for any other predator. So how do you keep it out of your chicken’s coop? Read on to discover solutions that, when applied, will work perfectly to solve your issue.
How Coyotes Kill Chicken
Do not be mistaken; coyotes can be dangerous to your poultry. They mostly hunt when hungry, but will also not pass the opportunity of easy prey whenever it presents itself. Usually, they are opportunistic hunters who go for the jugular area of the prey they target.
Once they kill the birds, they then drag them away to ravage in a different area, meaning that you will hardly find any dead chicken when you check in the morning. However, these animals should not be underestimated because they have the potential of finishing your entire flock when given a chance to do so, especially when they are extremely hungry.
Handling Coyotes in Your Chicken Farm
Even if you live in an area that is prone to these animals, the last thing you expect is to encounter one in the middle of the day, somewhere in your chicken run. Rather than panic and shout murder, you need to be smarter at handling them.
You need to understand that while coyotes would never go outside their wild jurisdiction, times have changed, and they now find themselves outside the wild areas. They seem to have lost the fear they once had about getting close to human habitation. It is now clear that the coyotes are slowly adapting to the changing conditions, and only smart farmers can protect their chicken.
Remember that coyotes travel in packs most of the time, meaning that they can be detrimental if they land in your chicken coop. Finding measures to deter them is always a better solution. Below are a few suggestions that could work.
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Keep the Poultry Area Clean
Ordinarily, Coyotes would hunt for small animals and gather fruits and wild berries. This means that you should make sure that the area housing your chicken is extremely clean and that you are eliminating all forms of food sources that would attract the coyotes to your home.
Make sure you cover garbage cans tightly (get one of these garbage cans with lids) and never leave leftovers lying carelessly in your barn. When there is nothing to come to your compound for, then the coyotes will most-likely stay away. What’s more, as you manage your property properly, you will not only be keeping the coyotes and other predators away, but you may successfully keep mice infestation on the low.
You should note that mice and other small rodents may also be attracting the coyotes into your farm as they hunt for their natural wild food.
Have a Proper Fence Installed
While most farmers rarely think about erecting a fence around their property, especially if it is vast and in the wild, this is one of the most effective techniques to keep predators away. The last thing you want is your chicken to get ravaged by predators that are lurking and waiting to attack. A fence will minimize entrance and keep off the unwanted guests from accessing your property.
In case it is not practical to fence the entire property, then fence off a small portion near the house and barn, making sure to cover the areas with your chicken coop and runs. This way, you may also take note of any disturbances that may arise as the chicken are alarmed and sense danger before it occurs.
While the option of fencing is viable, it has to be done right to be effective. Make sure the fence is not less than 5.5 feet high. Anything less than that will still be easy for coyotes to jump over as they attempt to reach to your birds.
A solar-powered electric fence would be a good way to keep the predators out. The alternative would be a chicken wire or mesh fence that can’t allow the critters to crawl through
A general fence around the living area of your home is great, but a self-contained run for your chicken are an even better idea and will minimize the chances of any predator accessing your precious birds.
Make sure that the run is well fenced, with a roof that ensures no coyote gets in at all costs. In case the animals successfully get past the first barrier of the fence around your yard, they should have a difficult time accessing the bards in an enclosed run.
Light Up Your Yard
While you may encounter coyotes during the day, many of them never come out in full broad light. These animals are effective hunters when the sun goes down. Seeing that the numbers will increase when nighttime falls, you should attempt to mimic the daytime by putting up floodlights and other motion-activated lights that confuse the animals. The nocturnal will stay off your property when they encounter your motion-sensing lighting system.
Some of the best options of lighting a farmer can go for include night guards and solar-powered lights. Choose an energy-saving lighting system because they have to be on all night long to work. Lights work because most predators interpret them as eyes of other predators.
Since they do not want to clash, the real predator will leave, assuming that the territory has already been conquered. Make sure to place the light, especially the nigh guards, at predator eye-level for it to work.
Have a Livestock Guardian Dog Around
Most farmers, especially those doing commercial range poultry farming, will go to great lengths to ensure their birds are well protected. In addition to taking numerous other precautionary measures, having one or two fierce but well-trained guardian dogs keep watch at night and whenever you are not around is crucial.
These dogs are trained to be aware of any unusual disturbances, and they will always check whenever they sense that the birds are restless. In addition to that, they can always smell the predator from miles and stay alert, waiting to pounce on them. Alternatively, you will also be prepared and come out to check whenever you hear the dogs barking. You can then come out and react accordingly. In case you are not allowed to kill the coyotes, then shooting a few rounds in the air will scare them off and ensure your birds stay safe all night long.
Work on The Safety of the Coop
Most farmers will definitely train their chicken to return to the coop every evening. However, this is not enough if you are doing nothing to ensure the coop is safe. There shouldn’t be gaps that could support the entrance of predators. In addition to that, you may want to raise the coop off the ground to discourage crawling animals such as snakes and rats from running around and attracting the coyotes.
Do everything possible to discourage any attraction to your birds. Electric netting should also be used, whenever possible, to help reinforce the protective measures around your enclosed coop.
Operate Under The Law
Sometimes no amount of precautionary measures can work with coyotes, especially if your chicken keeps attracting them. You may end up with a few dead birds every once in a while, which is a big loss for any dedicated farmer. While the next move may be cruel, especially if you set traps that could be detrimental, you may be forced to do that to save your chicken. However, before you make any major steps, make sure to work with your local authority on this matter.
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Remember that states have different laws on predators and wild animals, with some protecting them. The best thing would be to visit the appropriate department for specialized advice. If you are in an area prone to these animals, then the department will advise on how best to keep them away without causing harm. Do not assume that what works in a different state will apply to yours, as this could lead to you being on the wrong side with the law.
Dealing with coyotes can be as easy or as hard as you choose to respond. A smart farmer will find the safest measures to frighten the predators away and keep them off his or her property. However, if allowed by law, consider taking drastic measures whenever things get out of hand, or when the coyotes keep coming back in packs.
However, this may rarely happen, especially if you have guard dogs on watch and have taken all precautionary measures to help discourage their entrance into your property. The bottom line is to always choose the safer option.