Protecting Poultry from Predators

Domesticated poultry is particularly susceptible to predators due to a lack of natural defences. Just how could a duck defend itself? It is up to those of us who raise chickens, turkeys, ducks and other birds to provide adequate protection.

There are lots of predators that will prey on poultry, from owls to snakes. Your flock is especially vulnerable at night for a couple of reasons:
1. Many predators are nocturnal.
2. Your birds are sleeping and not aware of their surroundings.

Since most poultry roost at night, you need to be very aware of the dangers of predators when you plan housing for your flock.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • A coop that is raised off the ground offers better protection than one that is built flat on the ground.
  • Locking your birds in – and predators out – is the best way to make sure they are safe while they sleep.
  • Ventilation windows should be covered with mesh or slats to keep predators out.

If you are experiencing problems with predators, or are worried that you might, you may be considering different ways of protecting your birds. Traps can be dangerous to household pets and children, as can poison. Also, you may not want to hurt, maim or kill any possible predators. You might just want to keep them away.

Motion lights are often a good solution because the predators get frightened away by a sudden light. Another good tactic is to install a series of lights that mimic the look of eyes in the dark, such as the Nite Eyes Solar Protection System. Some people have had success with diversion feeding, as well. If you can keep predators away by directing their attention to easier-to-obtain food such as kitchen scraps, you may be able to protect your flock.  You might also try scarecrows, pinwheels or flags to deter would-be predators.