Updated: Feb 8, 2020
Lots of animals eat chicken! We have discovered that over the years. We are so thankful to have such a wonderful Great Pyrenees livestock dog to protect them now. Here are some stories that have happened to us as we strove to protect our chickens from the many animals that want to eat them.
Dogs like chicken and changed how we secured our animals. We needed much stronger fencing. Chicken wire is not sufficient to keep out predators. Our Great Pyrenees has been trained to leave the chickens alone and protect them, and helps keep other animals away from them.
Hawks like chicken – We planned to raise Buff Orpingtons and ordered a lot. A family of hawks carried 15 young chickens away in one day. Our solution was to put up a pole in the middle of our open forage area and string heavy clear fishing line over the entire area from the pole to the fence like a roof. That worked for a long time.
Snakes like chicken Snakes swallowed our eggs and turkey poults whole. The snake got stuck going through the hole he had crawled through and there was no way I was getting it out. I waited for Mike. Those two bumps of baby turkey were perfectly positioned on either side of the hole preventing the snake from going forward or backing up. I toyed with the idea of killing the black snake but that is a no no when you have copperheads. Mike figured it out and stopped up the hole.
Raccoons like chicken. I noticed the chickens in one chicken house stopped going in at night and when we counted noticed there were fewer. A raccoon had made a hole in the chicken wire and was taking one home for dinner on a regular basis.
Foxes like chicken- They dig under fences. One night we came home and fox was inside the chicken run. We quickly closed it in and Mike ran for the gun. In the time it took him to get back, that fox had jumped and slammed against the wire at the top of the run and made a hole big enough to jump through. He was gone in a matter of seconds. I must admit I was glad to see a dead fox on the road near us that had been hit by a car. A fox is relentless and the saying “sly as a fox” is very real.
Possums like chicken - We have had an entire family come to visit and enjoy the ones in our chicken tractor. They must have a PhD in how to move logs and get underneath our tractors.
Yellow jackets like chicken when you are processing them outside. This is one of the main reasons we now have a screened in outdoor kitchen area for processing chickens.
Rats like chicken We bought very expensive heritage birds from excellent genetics. The Livestock Conservancy helped us find a semi-local breeder for Australorps and we spent a small fortune buying chicks. They began to disappear. Half of them were just missing in two days from our “secure” brooder area. We found a hole. I must admit that I cried. Rats are horrible. We now brood our chicks in our garage and are still trying to get rid of rats.