It may be troublesome to guard your chickens from all the pieces, however with regards to predators there are a couple of choices on the market! The simplest and handiest method is to maintain your birds housed in a safe run and coop. If predators can’t get in then they’ll’t kill your birds.
Nonetheless, in case you free vary your birds it’s possible you’ll wrestle to search out methods to scale back losses. As extra folks get into homesteading and elevating poultry, livestock guardian animals are gaining popularity.
Many individuals hold canine on their farm for cover, however additionally, you will see different bigger poultry species used to guard a hen flock. Chances are you’ll even see different species of livestock or animal used to discourage predators!
Livestock Guardian Canines
Livestock guardian canine are in all probability the most well-liked and well-known animal used to guard chickens. Canines are clever, trainable, good companions, and fairly horrifying to lots of completely different sorts of wildlife. There are numerous completely different breeds on the market and so they’re changing into simpler to search out.
The Nice Pyrenees is a good possibility for anybody that’s on the lookout for a guardian for his or her chickens. They’re good and may successfully patrol a big yard. They’re friendlier towards people than many different guardian breeds, which may be nice in case you want one thing that isn’t going to try to run off associates, household, supply folks, or purchasers!
One other breed that’s extra widespread in the US is the Anatolian Shepherd. These imposing canine are a sensible choice for those who dwell in hotter climates, however they’re significantly extra standoffish than the Nice Pyrenees.
The Komondor is a singular trying livestock guardian canine that’s recognized for its thick, dreadlocked coat! They don’t seem to be very pleasant and are fairly territorial, so lots of coaching and socialization is vital.
The Polish Tatra Sheepdog is likely one of the sweeter guardian breeds and is taken into account to be very light. They’re additionally recognized for “alert barking” and putting themselves between a predator and the flock they’re defending.
There are additionally many different breeds of livestock guardian canine on the market, so your greatest guess is to see what does nicely in your space and speak to breeders. Opposite to well-liked perception, these canine won’t mechanically guard your chickens! When you decide the breed your actual work begins.
For those who’re on the lookout for a canine that might be a real hen guardian your greatest guess is to discover a breeder that has canine with a historical past of poultry safety. Not all canine will defend birds and lots of had been truly bred to guard different livestock like sheep.
Puppies are additionally infamous for taking part in with issues, and generally chickens can discover themselves being performed with to dying. Correct supervision and coaching because the canine develops is significant for fulfillment! Livestock guardian canine are giant and develop slowly, so anticipate to be coaching them for 2-3 years!
The basic hen defender is a rooster and many individuals that free vary hold one for this objective! A part of their pure job is to guard hens from predators, and lots of will defend their women with their lives. It could be wiser to select a big breed rooster, like a Brahma, or perhaps a one thing further feisty like a recreation cock.
Then again, roosters may be aggressive towards folks and different animals, together with pet cats, canine, and even different livestock. They’ll additionally run the hens a little bit ragged if their needs exceed the hens’ needs, so it’s vital to select one that’s light and well mannered along with your flock.
Additionally, you will want to switch the rooster if he will get killed and a few roosters in the end select to save lots of themselves. Even when a rooster is killed a predator might nonetheless go after the hens. Whereas it’s straightforward to search out roosters for reasonable and even free, it’s possible you’ll wrestle to discover a good one or a selected breed.
Since canine will not be at all times efficient at defending chickens and never everybody desires to maintain a rooster, some folks go for one other sort of fowl! The commonest one to make use of to guard chickens is the goose.
Geese are very territorial and may be fairly aggressive. You don’t want to coach them to guard poultry like a canine, both. Even when the predator is simply too large to your goose to struggle off, they’ll make sufficient racket to get your consideration! They’re expert at recognizing sky predators, like hawks, and may give the chickens sufficient advance warning to take cowl.
Often, folks select to lift one goose with a flock of chickens in order that the goose accepts the them as “their” flock. Geese will typically group collectively and defend one another as an alternative of the chickens.
Even in case you determine to get an entire flock of geese, they’ll nonetheless be tremendous intimidating to predators! Regardless of not actively defending the chickens, they are often greater than what any predator desires to confront.
Turkeys are generally used to guard chickens, however there may be some issues. Chickens can carry blackhead which turkeys are vulnerable to and a few turkeys have been recognized to kill chickens.
Guinea fowl are generally thought of as a guard animal, however they are surely extra of an alarm animal. They’re exceptionally loud usually and are even louder when there’s a predator!
One other enjoyable, however loud, fowl that you should utilize for hen safety is the peafowl! Not solely are these birds lovely, however they eat lots of pests – together with snakes! They have an inclination to roam and are fairly good at flying, so there’s a probability your peafowl will get lost leaving your chickens uncovered.
Not one of the following animals will actively defend your chickens, however in case you personal a small farm or a homestead, they could assist deter among the bigger predators!
Donkeys are generally used to scare away canine or coyotes, offered that you’ve a standard-sized donkey or bigger! For those who personal canine it’s possible you’ll should be further cautious, as a result of many donkeys hate them!
They’re greatest to guard animals like goats, sheep, or calves from predators like foxes, canine, or coyotes. They often don’t go after animals like raccoons or hawks and aren’t any match towards wolves, bears, or mountain lions. Some can get together with chickens, however others could not look after them.
Llamas and generally alpacas are saved as guardian animals and have among the similar professionals and cons. Pigs, cows, and goats also can deter sure predators from coming round however gained’t defend your chickens outright both.
Crows and Blue Jays
Crows and blue jays are each recognized to chase and harass hawks and different birds of prey, so attracting them to your property can generally assist defend your hens! A part of the rationale for that is that hawks will typically raid crow nests and eat their eggs and infants. Hawks will even kill and eat grownup crows if they’re alone and never paying consideration! Understandably, crows will get collectively and mob a hawk once they see it.
Blue jays are additionally recognized to generally mob birds of prey and even crows, however they’re not alone! Plenty of smaller fowl will gang up on larger birds they see as a risk! Mockingbirds, chickadees, and blackbirds are additionally recognized for mobbing.
Whereas these birds can’t kill hawks or different birds of prey, they DO make them very uncomfortable and draw lots of consideration to their presence. Since they’re unable to make use of stealth to assault prey they often go away to search out simpler looking grounds.
Use warning when attracting crows, as a result of they’ll eat chicks given the chance! Wild birds also can carry illnesses like fowl pox, which may then be launched into your flock.
When you determine which kind of guardian animal works to your predator drawback and your state of affairs, you’ll achieve some peace of thoughts that your chickens might be safer! By no means rush into an animal buy, although, so use this text as extra of a “start line” within the thought course of. There isn’t a good guardian animal for chickens, however some are positively simpler than others. Good luck!