Posted in Animals/Chickens

Keeping Chickens Safe From Predators

It looked like an Alfred Hitchcock movie in there.  I may have acted too quickly.  I saw that Ethel was bleeding from the top of her head and quickly put her in the bathroom.  The freshly painted bathroom.  Ethel shook her head.  Oh my, there was blood everywhere!  I then moved her to a kennel.  It looked like she may have snagged her comb on something, nothing life threatening but I didn’t want the crazy chicken dinosaurs to catch sight of it and come finish the job.  Those kids aren’t quite right.  She stayed in the bathroom (in a kennel) overnight until it scabbed over.  She spends most of her time in the driveway hiding from Henry the Perv anyway.  It is important though, that if you see a chicken that is bleeding that you separate them immediately.  Sometimes the other chickens are the predators!


Now, everybody loves a good chicken dinner.  Raccoons, coyotes, and foxes love them some chicken.  Luckily, these guys work mostly at night, so that is an advantage.  The chickens will put themselves to bed at night at dusk without fail.  Close them up.  We never go to bed without closing their doors.  That is the number one way to keep chickens safe.  Close them up securely at night.


I have seen more and more coyotes during the day.  They came in broad daylight and took out almost an entire flock from Jill’s house.  The more we move into their territory, and kill off rabbits, and mice, and prairie dogs, and everyone else, the hungrier these dogs get.  Chicken looks mighty good to them.  I have an advantage that even though I back to the fairgrounds, I live in town and don’t have as many predators walking down the sidewalk in the middle of the day.  Once we move out further in the country, we will not be able to let the chickens run buck wild around the yard unchecked.  They will have to have a larger, fenced in area to keep them safe.


Larger animals can dissuade coyotes and other predators from entering the yard.  A large dog (even my old, tired greyhound), a donkey, a llama, even our ornery alpacas seem to keep outside animals out.


A good fence, larger animals, and locking up the chickies at night is the best way to make sure you aren’t feeding the neighborhood and can keep all the missies safe and laying eggs!


Katie Lynn Sanders is the author of seven books, has been a speaker on sustainable living, and loves all things wine, regenerative agriculture, homesteading, travel, food, arts, crafts, books, and finding enchantment and inspiration in the smallest things. She lives on a one acre farm and vineyard, Pumpkin Hollow Farm, with her husband, fourteen chickens, three ducks, a giant Pyrenees, two goats, five cats, and visiting children and grandchildren in southern Colorado.

8 thoughts on “Keeping Chickens Safe From Predators

  1. Oh yes, chickens and their pecking order. The weakest don’t always fair well. Nature is amazing that way, but not always understood by humans.

    Hubby and I have had many discussions about guarding the flock when we are on our homestead. I had decided some time ago that we would having Great Pyrenees to help us keep predators at bay. Hubby wasn’t as convinced until a few weeks ago when he listened to a homesteading pod cast. He seems to be on board now and feels this particular breed of dog would be perfect for our future farm. If handled appropriately, they should do an excellent job of keeping our chickens safe so they can roam about the yard, scratching, pecking and eating all those little insects they love so much. Of course based on the number of animals that are on our list of farm animal must haves, I’m not sure how many Great Pyrenees we will need. I think it may be several though 🙂

    1. We looked at Great Pyrenees as well. They are prone to hip dysplasia and a short lifespan though so we started looking at Akbashes. Neat dogs!

      1. The general rule of thumb is the larger the dog, the shorter the life span. Larger breeds tend to be more prone to hip dysplasia as well, although some more than others. While it is certainly a controversial subject, for very personal reasons, we choose to get our dogs from a reputable breeder who test their dogs for the most common diseases and afflictions. It’s not a guarantee, but a better guarantee than other routes.

        There are some wonderful LGD’s out there and the Akbashes are beautiful LGD’s though, just not quite the right temperament for our family.

        Just like everything else in life, dogs are not one size fits all and with so many breeds to choose from, anyone who is looking for any kind of dog will find the one that is perfect for their needs and desires.

      2. You are so right! And every dog that we have had never matched their supposed disposition! They are all different and wonderful in their own right.

  2. Keeping chickens safe can be a real challenge sometimes. The biggest problem we have is hawks, because they attack during the day when our chickens are free-ranging. At night, as you say, they’re safely locked up in their coop. But at least a hawk will only kill one chicken at at time. We had some wild dogs come through one time and kill most of our flock. They just killed them for fun.

    1. Yes, hawks! We have those too. Thanks to the lilac bushes and various places to hide, the birds have more trouble getting to the chickens. The rooster is a great alarm system as well! But hawks are a worthy adversary for sure.

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