Whether one lives in a rural area or a neighbourhood, if you have decided to raise your own chickens, there is some expert advice from veteran chicken farmers on how to keep your flock safe.
Across the board, both backyard and rural chicken farmers agree – providing a safe place for your chickens to roost at night is extremely important to their safety. Nothing is worse than being woken up in the middle of the night to squawking chickens, flapping wings and chaos.
The fox in the hen house comes to mind. But it’s not just the fox one needs to watch out for. The chicken has many predators. They can be an easy target and do not have any way to defend themselves. Here, are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your chicken yard.
If you allow your chickens to free range during daylight hours, you should have them behind a dog-proof fence. Even rural chickens are subject to attack by the stray dog that wanders up from the neighbor. Rural areas sometimes become a dumping ground for unwanted dogs and cats. It is only natural they would begin to look for food and free-ranging chickens are easy prey.
Hawks have also been known to grab chickens and fly off with them. Obviously one can not babysit your chickens all day, but being aware of what might be harmful to them is a goo start to keeping them safe.
Some farmers that believe having a good dog around to take care of the flock is worth his weight and more in gold. There are several breeds of dogs that can be trained to watch over the chickens. The key word here is trained.
When the sun begins to set, chickens will begin to look for a roosting place. Providing them a closed shelter, will keep them safer. Chickens that roost out in the open will fall prey to a night predator sooner or later. Raccoons and even large owls will quickly take them from their roost.
Give them a secure chicken coop with roosting perches and they will soon know the routine of where to go when the sun begins to set.
Make sure that routine maintenance on your coop and your fencing is done. Wind will begin to loosen roofing and give a predator a way in during the night. Fencing should be checked periodically for broken wires and low spots.
The veteran chicken keepers believe by taking the time to secure the area no matter how small or large, you will be substantially rewarded and will join the ranks of those who think this hobby is the best.