Predator Proof Chicken Coops: A Simple Way To Protect Your Flock

Predator Proof Chicken Coops @ Farming My BackyardThere’s nothing more devastating than waking up to chicken carnage.  Chickens are so wonderful, sometimes it seems like every creature wants to eat your hens.  Unless it’s time for the stew pot for an old layer, chances are you don’t want them eaten!  Make predator proof chicken coops when designing you birds’ home to keep your ladies safe.

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How To Predator Proof Your Chicken Coop

There are myriads of animals that think chickens make a nice snack, but the most common ones in a city setting are going to be raccoons, rodents, and dogs.  Thankfully, 1/4 inch hardware cloth will stop both of them.  Make sure there are no holes in the coop larger than 1/4 inch to keep mice and rats out.

Staple down your hardware cloth across vents and windows, then drill strips of wood across the edges.  I’ve had raccoons move concrete blocks to get to my chickens.  Those things are strong and can rip staples right out!

Raccoons are also smart.  Basic latches aren’t going to stop them.  If you can put a padlock on our chicken door that should stop them for sure, but at the very least use a latch that requires several different motions to open.  Here are the type of latches we use on our coop door. To discourage rodents it’s best to have your coop raised off the ground, but make sure the space underneath doesn’t become a cozy home.  It seems to be a delicate balance of height there.  I think the perfect chicken coop for me would have a concrete floor, but that’s not happening any time soon.

Nothing is Foolproof

Perfect predator proof chicken coops only works if you remember to close the door!  I forgot to close our coop door one night and woke up suddenly to the hens screaming in panic.  My husband rushed outside into the dark and looked inside.  It was too dark to see, and I ran for a light and passed it to him.

He flashed the light inside and was eye to eye with a raccoon.  I think it was the scariest moment of his entire life.  There was actually an entire family of raccoons in our yard, but miraculously we didn’t lose any hens that night.

Predator Proof Your Chicken Run Too

Daytime predators are most likely going to be hawks or dogs.  Put sturdy fencing around your property (or at the very least your chicken run) to deter dogs.  Placing bird netting over the top of your run will protect your hens from hawks.

If you can’t do that for the whole area, have a more secure inner yard where the flock can spend time when you aren’t available to watch, and let them range farther with supervision.  Also, if they have trees, or bushes to hide under they can avoid being snatched by a hawk.

What types of chicken eating critters hang out where you live?

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13 thoughts on “Predator Proof Chicken Coops: A Simple Way To Protect Your Flock”

  1. If you have a picture you can post on what hardware cloth looks like and what your setup is.
    considering I am very new to this I would like to learn from others before I get down and dirty.
    I saw a video about using fishing line the top part of the coop.
    Considering you are so small area Chicken tractors won’t work.
    Vicki S.

  2. Thanks for mentioning it! I updated the picture to show what hardware cloth is and how mine is anchored down. I’ve also included links to product descriptions so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

    I believe fishing line will help the birds not to jump out, but it won’t deter a really hungry animal.

    Our first coop was a chicken tractor, but it wasn’t my favorite design. Even with tractors you need to anchor the wire mesh down.

  3. What about keeping SNAKES out of the coop? I live in the country, and our coop is 16 x 16 x 8 ft. Hardware cloth is a bit pricey for that much coop. Snakes love to come steal the eggs, and peeps if you have any. We have chicken wire on ours.

    • Try to find some marble or wooden eggs. The snakes (if any) will eat them and stay still until you find them and kill them. The marble ones are retrieved and reusable. Sounds gross, but my great-gma swears by them (drepression era baby). I’ve also found these as a deterrent for hens that will eat their own eggs. They’ll stop pecking the real eggs if the fake ones won’t crack open.

  4. I’m sure a concrete floor would be nice. My retired carpenter hubby says that another option for a solid floor is used bricks. You can usually get them pretty cheap, you can sometimes locate excess new bricks through local contractors.
    He says you can lay a good brick floor by packing them in tight, no need for mortar.

  5. One more tip I’ve picked up over the years is bury a strip of chicken wire six inches down and twelve to twenty-four inches out all the way around the coop. This keeps critters like weasels and dogs from digging under your coop. And my G-ma swears by crystallized predator urine to keep cats, raccoons, and (depending on the kind of crystals) coyotes away. Acts as though the predator has marked its territory, and some animals will avoid the area. She uses Wolf crystals, but there are different ones that will repel different pests, so you may want to research some before you buy.

  6. Nice article. I live in PA, we have every kind of predator minus cougar, bear, & wolf. Trial and error led to a predator proof run and coop. 6 x 12 chain link dog run, hardwire metal cloth for 2.5 feet for bottom half all around perimeter, and chicken wire top and bottom encloses. Being a chicken tractor it moves so fresh grass for the 5 australop.

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