There are a number of predators in Australia that are keen on eating backyard chickens. Keeping chickens safe from these predators is an important part of learning to care for a happy backyard flock but it’s vital that you fully understand the threats.
The following information is based on my monthly “Eggucational” presentation on different problems and issues that can arise when keeping backyard chickens. I have included a shortened, edited video of the presentation at the end of this post for those that wish to gain a deeper understanding of how to keep chickens safe.
Predators to watch out for when keeping chickens
Dogs, feral cats, eagles, and hawks are all predators of chickens but none are as efficient or effective in killing as the fox. It is a very rare thing for me to ever hear of any predator other than a fox that has killed our customer’s chickens and often the entire flock! However, it is important to take measures to protect against any potential predators your hens may encounter.
Dogs are everywhere in suburbia and among the most common of pets. Fortunately, most dogs won’t be at all interested in your chickens and pose no threat. However, some dogs may take a keen interest in your chickens and you will need to have a safe enclosure to keep them separate from your flock at all times.
Domestic cats pose little threat to chickens and you won’t have to keep chickens separated from them as a rule. We have a number of farm cats who are definitely noticed by the chooks. However, the cats are only interested in catching mice, sunbathing and sleeping.
Feral cats aren’t so common in suburbia but can be large and aggressive to chickens. As with the protection of your chooks from aggressive dogs, a secure enclosure will reduce the possibility of a feral cat attack if you live closer to rural areas or have seen feral cats roaming.
Eagles and hawks
Both eagles and hawks normally spend more time on the fringes and on farm land so are unlikely to get anywhere near your suburban chickens. Like the other non-fox predators, eagles and hawks are far less able to quickly kill your entire flock and of minimal threat.
We have a whole blog post dedicated to protecting your flock from foxes, the most cunning of predators. Check it out here.
Keeping backyard chickens can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with responsibilities. One of the most important things you need to consider is the safety of your flock from predators. Knowing the common predators in your area and taking necessary precautions such as securing your chicken coop and run can help keep your chickens safe. By implementing the tips shared in this article, you can ensure that your chickens are protected and can live happy and healthy lives in your backyard.