How to Keep Coyotes Away from Your Chickens: Tips and Tricks.
It can be devastating to find that a predator has taken one of your beloved birds. Coyotes are a common predator that can wreak havoc on a backyard flock. If you’ve had a coyote attack your chickens, it’s essential to take action to protect the rest of your birds. Here are some tips for deterring coyotes from your property.
Before we get into the tips for deterring coyotes, it’s essential to understand a little bit about these predators. Coyotes are opportunistic hunters and scavengers. They are intelligent animals and can quickly learn how to access a food source. They are also adaptable and can live in a variety of environments, including urban areas. Coyotes are most active at night and can be challenging to spot during the day. They are fast runners and excellent jumpers, making it difficult to keep them out of a backyard.
Securing Your Coop and Run
The first step in deterring coyotes is to secure your coop and run. Coyotes can easily dig under a fence or climb over it, so it’s essential to make sure that your coop and run are predator-proof. Here are some tips for securing your coop and run:
Use hardware cloth
Hardware cloth is a strong and durable material that can be used to protect your chickens from coyote attacks. Unlike chicken wire, which is easily damaged by predators, hardware cloth is made of thicker and stronger wire mesh that is difficult for coyotes to chew through. When choosing hardware cloth, look for a small mesh size of 1/2 inch or smaller, as this will prevent coyotes from reaching through the openings and grabbing a chicken.
Hardware cloth can be used to cover the entire coop and run or just specific areas that are vulnerable to attack, such as windows or ventilation openings. To attach the hardware cloth, use heavy-duty staples or screws to secure it to the frame of your coop or run. Be sure to overlap the edges of the hardware cloth to prevent any gaps or holes where a coyote could squeeze through.
While hardware cloth is more expensive than chicken wire, it is a worthwhile investment to protect your chickens from predators. It is important to regularly inspect the hardware cloth for any damage or wear and tear, and to promptly repair any holes or gaps to ensure the safety of your chickens.
Secure the bottom of your fence
Secure the bottom of your fence
Another important measure is to secure the bottom of your fence. Coyotes are known for their ability to dig, so it’s important to bury hardware cloth or chicken wire at least 6 inches deep around the perimeter of your fence to prevent coyotes from digging under.
Use a roof
A roof is an essential element in securing your chicken coop and run from coyotes. As coyotes are skilled climbers, they can easily jump over a fence or climb a tree to gain access to your chickens. Therefore, having a sturdy roof made of materials such as metal or wood is necessary to prevent coyotes from entering from above.
The roof should be securely fastened and sloped to prevent rainwater from pooling on top. It should also be high enough to allow you to stand up comfortably inside the coop and run. A properly installed roof will provide added protection for your chickens and peace of mind for you.
Secure doors and windows
Securing doors and windows is an important aspect of protecting your chickens from coyote attacks. Coyotes are known to be very agile and can fit through small gaps and openings, so it’s crucial to ensure that all doors and windows are secure with no gaps or holes. Make sure that all doors are closed and latched securely at all times, and consider using locks or latches that are specifically designed to withstand coyote attacks.
Windows should also be secured with hardware cloth or other sturdy material. You can install hardware cloth over the windows or use sliding or hinged panels to cover them. Be sure to inspect the hardware cloth or panels regularly to make sure they are still in good condition and that there are no holes or gaps.
It’s important to inspect your coop and run regularly for signs of damage or wear and tear. Coyotes are opportunistic predators and will look for any weak points in your coop or run to gain access to your chickens. Repair any holes or gaps as soon as possible and make sure that all materials used to secure your coop and run are sturdy and of high quality. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure the safety of your chickens and keep coyotes at bay.
Even with a secure coop and run, coyotes can still be a problem. Here are some deterrents that may help:
Motion Activated Lights
Motion-activated lights are a popular and effective way to deter coyotes from your property. They work by automatically turning on when they sense motion and can be a useful tool in keeping coyotes away from your chickens. Not only do they deter coyotes, but they also increase visibility around your property, making it easier for you to monitor any potential predator activity.
When installing motion-activated lights, it is important to consider the placement and coverage area. It’s best to place the lights in areas where coyotes are most likely to approach, such as near the coop or run. You may also want to consider using multiple lights to ensure that the entire area is covered.
There are many types of motion-activated lights available on the market, so it’s important to choose one that fits your needs. Solar-powered lights are a great option if you want to save on electricity and don’t want to worry about changing batteries. LED lights are another good choice as they are energy-efficient and long-lasting.
It’s important to note that while motion-activated lights can be effective, they may not work for all coyotes. Some coyotes may become accustomed to the lights over time and learn to ignore them. In addition, if there are other food sources or attractants on your property, such as compost or garbage, coyotes may still be drawn to the area regardless of the lights.
To ensure that motion-activated lights are effective, it’s important to use them in conjunction with other deterrents and preventative measures. This can include securing your coop and run with strong fencing and using scent deterrents, noise makers, and other tactics.
Using noise makers is a simple and effective way to scare off coyotes from your property. Loud noises can startle and frighten coyotes, making them run away from the area. Noise makers such as air horns, whistles, or radios can be used to create loud and sudden noises that can help to deter coyotes.
Air horns are particularly effective in scaring off coyotes. These devices emit a loud, high-pitched sound that can be heard from a distance. Coyotes are likely to perceive the noise as a threat and will try to avoid the area.
Whistles are also a good option for deterring coyotes. These devices are easy to carry and can be used to create loud, sharp sounds that can scare off coyotes. You can use a whistle to create a continuous noise or short bursts of sound to keep the coyotes away.
Radios can also be used as noise makers. Loud music or talk radio can create a noisy environment that can be intimidating to coyotes. Playing the radio at a high volume can help to keep coyotes away from your property.
When using noise makers, it’s important to remember that coyotes are smart animals and can quickly adapt to their environment. If you use the same noise maker too often, the coyotes may become desensitized to the sound and ignore it. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to switch up the noise makers you use or vary the times you use them.
In addition, it’s important to use noise makers responsibly and consider your neighbors. Loud noises can be disruptive and may cause complaints from neighbors. To avoid this, you can limit the use of noise makers to specific times or use noise-cancelling devices to reduce the volume.
Scent deterrents are another way to keep coyotes away from your chickens. Coyotes have a strong sense of smell, and using certain scents can deter them from approaching your property. Predator urine, such as fox or coyote urine, is a common scent deterrent used to keep coyotes away. It can be purchased at most outdoor stores and comes in a spray bottle that can be used to create the impression that there is a predator nearby. The scent of predator urine will naturally cause coyotes to think twice before approaching the area.
Another scent deterrent that can be effective at keeping coyotes away is ammonia. Coyotes find the smell of ammonia to be very unpleasant and will want to avoid it. To use ammonia as a deterrent, soak rags in ammonia and place them around the perimeter of your property. The strong smell of the ammonia will create a barrier that coyotes will not want to cross.
It’s important to note that while scent deterrents can be effective, they may need to be reapplied periodically to maintain their effectiveness. Heavy rainfall or wind can wash away the scent, rendering the deterrent ineffective. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that scent deterrents may also affect other animals, including your own pets. Be sure to use these methods carefully and in a way that won’t harm other wildlife or your own animals.
Electric fencing is a powerful tool for deterring coyotes from your chicken coop and run. It is designed to deliver an electric shock to any animal that tries to cross the fence, creating a barrier that is difficult for predators to penetrate. Electric fencing works by creating a circuit that runs around the perimeter of your property. The circuit is connected to a power source, such as a battery or a mains outlet, and is designed to deliver a mild but uncomfortable shock to any animal that touches it.
When installing electric fencing, it is important to ensure that the fence is at least 5 feet tall and that the bottom is buried at least 6 inches deep. This will prevent coyotes from digging underneath the fence and gaining access to your chickens. It is also important to use high-quality materials when installing electric fencing, as low-quality materials may fail to deliver a sufficient shock to deter predators.
Electric fencing should always be installed by a professional to ensure that it is installed safely and effectively. A professional installer will be able to assess your property and determine the best location for the fence, as well as ensure that the fence is properly grounded and that all of the electrical connections are secure. They will also be able to provide guidance on how to maintain the fence and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
It is worth noting that electric fencing may not be suitable for all properties. In some cases, zoning regulations may prohibit the use of electric fencing, or it may not be practical to install due to the terrain or layout of your property. Before investing in electric fencing, it is important to research your local regulations and consult with a professional to determine whether electric fencing is the right choice for your property.
While these methods can help to deter coyotes, it is important to remember that there is no foolproof method for keeping them away. Coyotes are adaptable creatures and can become accustomed to certain deterrents over time. The best way to protect your chickens is to be vigilant and take action if you notice a coyote lurking around your property.
Trapping or Shooting Coyotes
If all else fails, you may need to trap or shoot the coyote. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Contact your local animal control: Your local animal control may be able to help you trap or remove the coyote.
- Use a live trap: A live trap can be an effective way to catch a coyote. Once caught, you can release it in a remote location away from your property.
- Use lethal methods: If you choose to use lethal methods, make sure that you are following all local laws and regulations. Also, make sure that you are using the most humane methods possible.
Dealing with a coyote that is preying on your chickens can be a stressful and challenging situation. However, by taking the necessary steps to protect your flock, you can reduce the risk of further attacks and keep your birds safe. Remember to secure your coop, install motion-activated lights and alarms, use deterrents, and consider traps or calling a professional if necessary. With patience and persistence, you can successfully deter a coyote from attacking your chickens and keep them safe from harm.