Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

Top 10.5+ Predator Proof Chicken Coop Ideas

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I still remember the first time I went out to the coop to find half my chickens gone.

It was a mess of feathers and blood – a coyote had ripped right through the wire and made off with several of my hens.

After crying over the loss, I knew I had to make some changes.

Predators are clever, so your coop needs to be even more clever to outsmart them!

The most important thing is making sure there are no gaps or weak spots in your coop’s structure that predators can exploit to get inside.

After losing chickens to predators, I became determined to build the Fort Knox of chicken coops.

Through trial and error (okay, mostly error), I learned a lot about how to build a predator proof run and coop.

Here are my top tips after outsmarting those wily predators:

Use the Right Materials

Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

Chicken wire might keep chickens in, but it won’t keep predators out.

Use welded wire or hardware cloth with peque mesh openings instead.

It’s more expensive but worth it for the security.

Wood panels can work too but make sure there are no weak or rotting spots predators can break through.

I learned this the hard way after a persistent raccoon dug right through my chicken wire run.

He made off with a few of my hens before I could even chase him away.

I replaced the chicken wire with 1/4 inch hardware cloth and added an apron around the bottom to prevent digging.

It cost me nearly $200 for enough cloth to cover my 10×20 run, but let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

That hardware cloth is tough as nails and keeps critters from busting in.

I also used 1/2 inch plywood reinforced with metal brackets around the base of my coop.

So far so good, those upgrades have kept the raccoons, coyotes, and other predators out of my run and coop.

Don’t skimp on materials if you want real protection.

Fortify the Coop Floor

Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

Dig down and lay welded wire under the run area to prevent digging predators.

Burying it at least 12 inches deep keeps predators from tunneling their way up and in.

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You can also use concrete or hardware cloth laid flat under a wooden frame.

Concrete is ideal for deterring diggers but it was too expensive for my large run.

So I laid down hardware cloth about 18 inches down before building my frame.

Then I filled in the bottom with dirt and gravel to prevent erosion.

Some predators, like foxes, will dig relentlessly under a coop for a tasty chicken meal.

Make sure to lay down wire or rocks well below the soil surface so you don’t end up with a tunnel into the coop!

Reinforce All Openings

Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

Make sure any doors, windows or vents are secured with strong latches and locks.

Use metal washers on screw holes to prevent raccoons from loosening them up.

Keep pop doors closed at night when predators are active.

I used heavy duty hasps and padlocks on my coop doors along with metal gaurds over the windows.

Raccoons will try to pry open doors or break windows to get inside, so you need industrial strength locks.

I also installed metal ventilation caps over my air vents.

This prevents predators from tearing open the wire mesh to squeeze inside.

Closed pop doors are a must at night – I lost one hen who got stuck outside in the run after dusk.

A coyote grabbed her through the wire since she was basically a chicken nugget on legs.

Add a Roof Overhang

Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

Coyotes and other predators can’t resist trying to climb, but a 2-3 feet overhang will thwart them.

Make sure to use a non-climbable material like sheet metal since chickens can’t fly well.

I went with a 3 foot metal roof overhang around my coop after finding telltale paw prints on the roof shingles.

After adding that overhang those bandits couldn’t scale the walls without falling flat on their butts.

Smooth metal is key – some predators are great climbers so don’t give them any traction.

You can also install metal barrier strips or roller bars along the roofline to deter climbers.

A wide overhang just makes it impossible for predators to get a grip.

Invest in an Electric Poultry Net

Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

For the run area, use an electric net designed for poultry.

The zap will surprise predators and teach them not to mess with your flock.

Just make sure it’s not powered when chickens are out.

I used a solar powered poultry net around my run during the day.

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It keeps my chickens safely contained while giving predators a nasty shock if they try to get in.

I did learn the hard way to turn off the juice at night though.

One morning I found my best rooster knocked out cold against the fence.

Oops – guess I fried the poor guy when I left the net electrified overnight.

So remember to flip the off switch after the chickens are tucked in for the night!

Use Predator-proof Fencing

Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

Your coop walls are important, but don’t forget about securing the run itself.

Use strong welded wire fencing with small openings buried underground around the perimeter.

I also added a hot wire line on top of my run fence to deter climbing predators.

That extra zap makes coyotes and raccoons think twice about trying to scale the fence.

For added protection, a roof over your run is ideal to prevent aerial attacks.

I used corrugated metal sheeting to create a covered run attached to my coop.

It keeps hawks, owls and other birds from swooping down and snatching my chickens.

Clear Vegetation Around the Coop

Predator Proof Chicken Coop Idea

Don’t give predators places to hide when approaching the coop.

Clear brush, long grass, debris piles, and low tree branches around the exterior.

I trimmed back thick bushes near my coop that provided too much cover.

Raccoons and coyotes would lurk in the bushes waiting for a chance to grab one of my hens.

Removing their hiding spots forced predators to approach across open ground where I could see them.

Keeping vegetation low and maintaining clear sight lines is key.

Use Motion-activated Lights and Sounds

Predators like coyotes and raccoons are more active at night.

Deter their nocturnal antics with bright lights and sounds triggered by movement.

I installed an ultrasonic pest repeller and high lumen spotlight on my coop.

Now those predators get lit up like a Christmas tree and bombarded with unpleasant noises if they creep near my coop at night.

The light and sound together startle predators and drive them away quickly.

Just make sure to test noise levels to prevent disturbing neighbors or your own chickens.

Let your Dogs Roam

If you have dogs, let them patrol around your coop and run area.

Their scent and presence will help deter predators.

I let my two large mutts sleep outside near the coop at night.

They love to chase away any critters who get too close.

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With their sharp barking and alert patrolling, predators think twice before approaching the coop.

Dogs need training not to harm chickens, but can make great all-natural protectors.

Use a Guard Animal

Along with dogs, other animals can help guard your flock.

Get a goose or two – they make great noisy alarms when predators are around.

I added a couple of Chinese geese after reading they are natural protectors.

Those geese run toward and chase away any critters that don’t belong, honking up a storm.

Donkeys and llamas are also great guard animals. Their size and kick deter predators.

I don’t have room for a donkey myself, but my neighbor’s donkey patrols right up to my coop.

He’ll send coyotes running with his loud braying and stomping hooves.

Use Layers of Fencing

Fences can slow down persistent predators on their mission.

Use multiple barriers like fences, nets, and wires to create obstacles.

I put up a double fence of welded wire around my run with 3 feet in between.

An electric wire on the run roof and sides adds another layer they must avoid.

All those fences take more time and effort for predators to breach.

They tend to look for easier targets than navigating multiple fences.

Elevate the Coop

Lifting your coop off the ground removes access for digging predators.

Elevate it on a platform or stilts at least 3 feet high.

You can use wooden posts, cinder blocks, or metal pipes to raise it up.

Just be sure to enclose the space under the coop so chickens can’t get underneath.

I used thick wooden posts to raise my coop 4 feet.

Now those sneaky predators can’t dig or hide underneath it anymore.

The added height also improves ventilation and drainage.

Use Game Cameras

Game cameras can help identify predators scoping out your coop.

Mount cameras in nearby trees aimed at the run and coop area.

I caught pictures of a gray fox repeatedly coming by at night.

Knowing exactly what predators are around lets you better deter and protect against them.

Game cameras give useful intel for outsmarting those predators!

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