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Controlling Pests and Predators

Train your birds to return to the chicken house every evening — and be sure to close it up. If you raise your chicks in that coop, they will naturally return to lay eggs and roost at night after you let them range for the day. Make sure that you close it up at night once the birds have settled.

Enclose the coop in a secure poultry run to discourage dogs, coyotes, bobcats and other four-legged carnivores from gaining access to your flock.

Bury galvanized hardware cloth or other welded-wire fencing around the perimeter of the chicken run if you have problems with predators digging beneath your surface fencing.

Provide motion-sensor-activated night light that will flood the chicken run with light after dark. This will keep most nocturnal predators away from the coop.

Create a predator-danger zone around the coop and chicken yard.  Leave the perimeter as cover-free as you can. Predators are less likely to try to work their way into a welded-wire enclosure when they have to do it in the open.

Keeping chickens is a popular and rewarding pastime — eggs, meat, fertilizer — but you'll need to continually observe and strategize in order to keep one step ahead of myriad predators.