Predators

Keeping chickens safe from predators has to be top on your list of priorities. There are several animals around the World that will prey on chickens and it’s your job to keep them safe and not letting them become part of the local wildlife’s food chain!

Foxes

In the United Kingdom, the number one predator for chickens is of course the fox but did you know that some people also have badgers killing their chickens? Most inexperienced people will think a fox has visited however this isn’t always the case.

A fox is opportunistic, he will visit your garden regularly (a little tip, if it snows, go out and have a look for paw prints to see if foxes are visiting and how close they get to your chickens – you might be surprised!) and the one night you forget to lock up your chickens… he’ll visit.

There is more information about foxes and how to tell if it was a fox that took your chickens on the Foxes page under the Pest and Predators menu.

Fox-looking-for-chickens

Badgers

Badgers are incredibly strong and if they are hungry, they have been known to tear off wooden panels of chicken houses that aren’t secure and tear open pop holes to get to chickens. They will usually kill and take one bird but might come back for a second. They usually work alone.

Mink, Stoats and Weasels can all be a problem but are far less common in most parts of the UK.

Domestic Cats

Cats aren’t generally a problem to fully grown chickens and mine have never bothered with young ‘growers’. They seem more interested in chicks though and shouldn’t be trusted. Some people have had problems, usually with a specific cat in the neighbourhood and with smaller bantam chickens. It’s very difficult to keep cats out completely.

chick looking at cat

Yikes… I won’t be trusting you in a hurry.

Rats and Mice

Pests such as rats and mice can be a problem as they spread diseases, eat valuable feed supplies and (rats) can steal eggs and gnaw at doors, wires and even chickens feet. Usually only one or the other are present and rats can be quite discreet so if there are no mice then be suspicious of rats!

There is more detailed information about Rats and Mice under the Predators menu.

85 Comments

  1. just found all 3 of my chickens dead in their pen, I thought it was a kite but after reading others experiences Im thinking it may have been a fox as all their heads were missing.

    • Yes, I’m pretty certain it was a fox. That’s exactly how they kill, breaking the neck, often removing the head.

      It’s that time of year when they are feeding young….

    • If their heads were missing it is more likely a mink or weasel, minks and weasels are vicious and many times will kill several at a time and they can fit through very small places. They will usually eat the heads and leave the rest of the chicken

  2. i have a pine-martin killing my chickens have secured my coop but this is not stopping it. should i tell my landlord so it can be relocated or is it protected?

  3. We have a problem here in Dumfries & Galloway. A few weeks ago we lost a chicken every few days and then some ducks and a big drake went and this was during broad daylight hours. This morning we lost a beautiful Magpie call duck that had only been out for half an hour. There are never any feathers, blood or clues. We are in farmland and the flock is free ranging just outside the farmhouse and in the field at the back. We are at a loss to know what is taking our hens and ducks. Any help would be appreciated. Also we know a farmer has lost some of his newborn lambs and he said this has never happened before.

  4. I’ve had one hen killed in a secure hen house that has been up 4+ years with no problem… hen killed in the middle of the hen house and bones stripped clean… any ideas what would do this? All the other hens are fine…

  5. What would kill a hen on eggs , remove 11 eggs with no trace of shells and leave a trail of chicken feathers across the lawn? Perthshire ,Scotland

    • Oh sorry to hear that.

      I’m not sure. A fox can take the hen and sometimes steal eggs but it would have had a lot of trips to pick them up!
      Stoats – maybe a possibility?

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