Protecting Your Animals from Predators7 Nov, 2020
Protecting your Animals from Predators
One of the largest risks of having farm animals can be the threat of predators hurting or even killing your stock. Securing the enclosures you keep your animals in is essential in protecting them and ensuring you reduce the impact predators can have on other areas of your property.
At the Jewel of Encanto Farm, we completely redid our chicken coop after a raccoon had gotten in and unfortunately killed some of our chickens and injured others. Overhauling the coop allowed us to fix the security problems that the coop had. We replaced flimsy plastic trellising that was used as wall structures with wooden planks, we used hardwire cloth instead of chicken wire for the windows and doors, and we redid the roof with multiple layers of hardwire cloth and landscape cloth. These changes made the coop more secure from predators and reduced the ability for rats and other small pests to enter the coop and eat chicken feed. The coop is also built on a concrete slab around the edges so as to prevent dogs and other larger animals from digging into the coop. We also place an S hook on the door latch for an extra piece-of-mind, as a raccoon could possibly undo the latch. Thinking of small measures such as this can make the difference between life and death for your animals.
We recently got baby chicks at the farm and while they currently live in the garage in a brooder, there are still measures we must take to protect them. On the lid of the brooder we have chicken wire to prevent animals like rats from getting into the brooder and either eating their feed or killing the chicks. Since they are in the garage, small rodents are the only threat we see to be possible. We also keep our farm cat Sassy in the garage when there are chicks because she will kill rats/mice and help protect the chicks. We trust her to never hurt our chicks but we know she will go after a rat!
The other animals we keep at the farm are fish. There are multiple ponds around the property & tanks in the garage. We have tilapia for harvest and koi fish for beauty. A basic way to secure your pond is to give the fish areas to hide under. In the smaller ponds we have water lettuce and hyacinth floating on the pond surface; these give the fish shade as well as protection from predators from above. In the large pond with the majority of our koi fish, there are floating islands that the fish can swim under. This pond is also ten feet deep which gives the fish depth to hide in. Since this pond is in the most open section of the property and leaves the fish the most exposed, we also have water cannons positioned around the pond in case of large birds like herons coming on the property & pulling the koi from the water.
-Adding multiple layers of wiring or fencing adds a lot of extra strength
-Make sure to consider that some animals like dogs and cats can jump really high and others can climb, so a roof for small penned animals is essential
-Make sure all doors lock somehow
-Add different preventative measures for different predators, what stops a hawk will differ from what stops a wild dog
-Make sure you always account for animals that can dig under a structure to get in
Whether you have fish, chickens, pigs, goats, rabbits, or larger livestock, any animal requires some level of security to ensure they can have a happy and healthy life. Before adding new animals to your property it is always a good idea to plan for their safety and think of all possible predators that could be a threat. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference; so next time you’re in the coop or animal pen think about the security of your farm animals!