The 25 Most Vicious Chicken Predators

There are a lot of good reasons why you should keep a flock of chickens. Whether you want a small backyard flock in the middle of suburbia or a massive one on your rural homestead, either can keep you well stocked with fresh eggs and plenty of meat for relatively little care. Both are delicious and nutritious.

chicken predators collage

But that goes for more than just you and your family. All kinds of other animals out in the world, including some you wouldn’t expect, would love nothing more than to make a meal of your chickens, their eggs and even their chicks.

It won’t be long, unfortunately, before your flock of chickens starts attracting predators and that means you’ll need to be prepared if you want to keep your flock safe.

To help you in this endeavor we are bringing you a list of the 25 most vicious chicken predators that you can expect to deal with, along with plenty of info about their usual habitats and attack behaviors.

Armed with this info, you’ll have a better chance of defending your flock against them.

Always Check Local, State and Federal Laws before Taking Action Against a Predator

In the United States, there are laws in place to protect various species of animals, even those that might threaten your chickens.

Before taking any action against these predators, it is important to check local, state, and federal laws to ensure that you are not breaking any such regulations.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to intervene with lethal force or you might not, depending on the species.

In some cases, it may be legal to trap and remove these animals from your property, but then again it might not.

In other instances, it may be legal (and necessary) to contact a professional wildlife control company to deal with the problem.

It might even be illegal to interfere with some animals in any way unless they are directly threatening human life.

This can be a source of immense frustration for keepers who are losing chickens and eggs to regular predator attacks, but it is not something you should take lightly: substantial fines and jail time are possible penalties for breaking these laws, particularly concerning the most “charismatic” or threatened species.

German Pinscher dog
a German Pinscher dog

1. Dogs

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft.
  • Consider stones or a rough gravel perimeter to discourage digging.
  • Keep an eye on new dogs around the flock.

One of the most common and most successful predators of chickens is one that we would perhaps least expect. Our faithful, furry friend: the domesticated dog.

Whether they are stray or outright feral dogs that roam cities and rural areas alike, or seemingly well-behaved pet that is acting, to us, very much out of character.

Whatever the case, dogs have all the tools they need to make quick work of chickens.

They have the speed, agility, teeth, and toughness to fend off their meager attempts at self-defense and would love nothing more than to sink their fangs into a chicken and shake it to death.

This is perhaps easy enough to understand concerning feral dogs, particularly those impacts, that are reverting more to their ancestral behavior but it is definitely unsettling to discover that you’re well-behaved pet might have decimated half your flock.

Why does this happen? Simply put, every dog, even the tamest pooch, has a prey drive. Chickens, unfortunately, greatly agitate the prey drive of many animals.

They are small, often brightly colored, make squeaky clucking sounds and move in a fluttering, agitated manner when disturbed. That is a surefire way to encourage a dog to give chase.

You can protect your chickens against dogs in the usual manner, by keeping them inside a sturdy, enclosed run with fencing that is deep enough or a dog cannot easily dig under it.

If you have a pet dog, even one that has grown up around chickens and is extremely well-behaved, always keep one eye on it if you allow them to interact. Things can go bad quickly for chickens if a dog decides to bite them.

a cat walking through snow

2. Domestic Cats

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy fence around the run.
  • Cover run with mesh
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft. Most cats are averse to serious digging.
  • All elevated openings on the coop must be too small for cats to enter; they climb!

Compared to dogs, cats can prove to be an even bigger problem for chickens. Though domesticated cats and smaller than most dogs, they are supremely capable predators; so much so that feral and stray population are responsible for the near extinction of many species of birds and lizards!

This is primarily because they are highly successful hunters. Their smaller size and climbing ability means they can enter enclosed spaces more easily to get at chickens, and their excellent night vision, sharp claws, and teeth make them ideally suited for the task of dispatching any hapless prey they can catch.

They can also climb trees and fences relatively easily, which gives them another avenue of attack.

If you have a “farm cat” of your own it probably won’t tangle with larger adult chickens, particularly if there is a rooster around, but you must never, ever trust it around smaller birds and especially chicks. Don’t be surprised if your cat brings you a gruesome gift one day…

To protect your chickens from cats, you’ll need to take the same precautions as you would with dogs; enclose them in a sturdy run with fencing that is deep enough or a cat cannot easily dig under it, and make sure it is enclosed on top with guarded windows. Cats will easily jump or climb in where they are able.

3. Coyotes

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft; 2-3 feet is better.
  • Consider stones or a rough gravel perimeter to discourage digging.

This wild cousin to the dog is another common and perennial predator of chickens that keepers in Appalachia, the Midwest, and the Southwest are probably all too familiar with.

Coyotes are wily, tenacious, and opportunistic hunters that will take advantage of any opportunity to kill.

They will go after anything they think they have a good chance of bringing down without too much risk, from small rodents, reptiles, and rabbits to animals as large as deer, and of course, our beloved chickens.

Coyotes have all the same physical advantages as dogs when it comes to getting at chickens, only they are even more capable hunters.

Working alone, in pairs, or occasionally in small packs they are fast, great diggers and have powerful jaws.

Coyotes will be the bane of chickens that are allowed to free-range or are kept in a run with flimsy, on-ground fencing.

Coyotes also have a surprisingly wide range, meaning you could be surprised to find them in an area where they are not expected- probably because they were drawn by the prospect of an easy chicken dinner!

As you might expect by now, you can protect your chickens against coyote predation the same as you would from other canines; by keeping them inside a sturdy, enclosed run with fencing that is deep enough that a coyote cannot easily dig under it.

Coyotes that can snatch a chicken in the open will be gone in a blink, and you can bet your bottom dollar they will be back for more later.

If you have seriously persistent coyotes in your area or large populations, you’ll need to step your game up: coyotes can be destroyed as pests in some areas, or you might have luck contacting animal control in your county depending on where you live.

a fox

4. Foxes

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft; 2-3 feet is better.
  • Consider stones or a rough gravel perimeter to discourage digging.
  • Keep a lookout on the free-ranging flock.

Perhaps the most iconic killer of chickens, so much so that it has several aphorisms attributed to it.

The humble fox, whether it be the common red or gray fox, is a chicken keeper’s nightmare and is made worse since they are found all over North America.

Foxes are rapacious and highly intelligent, cunning predators. More than most other critters on this list, it is the fox that will put your security measures to the test.

They are very good at finding ways into places they aren’t supposed to be and will go to great lengths to get a chicken or a clutch of eggs.

Foxes have all the same advantages as dogs and coyotes when it comes to getting at chickens; they are exceptional diggers and excellent jumpers. They are also very fast and quite capable of both daytime and late-night raids.

Any chicken caught in the open will easily prey unless you see the attack get underway and intervene.

Compared to coyotes, foxes are more likely to kill all they can and then make multiple trips to and from the coop or run to move food back to their dens.

This is why a single fox attack can lead to a scene that looks like a horror movie, with most of your flock dismembered.

Stopping foxes can be a tough task. No ordinary fencing will reliably halt them unless it is enclosed on top and buried at least a foot beneath the ground.

Large gravel and stones, buried along the perimeter of your fencing, are reasonably effective at slowing or stopping foxes from digging since it is hard on their paws.

And don’t skimp on whatever wire you are using, either, as these guys have been known to chew through lighter stuff.

Foxes are legendarily cunning, a reputation they deserve. Don’t be surprised to find they make multiple attempts over a couple of nights, or attack when they know you are not around or distracted.

But, think twice and check your local laws before you trap or lethally intervene as they are protected in some areas.


5. Hawks

Protective Measures:

  • Mesh or fencing around run.
  • Run must be covered; consider cargo netting.
  • Keep coop or barn doors closed; hawks can and will swoop in.

Hawks, along with falcons, eagles, and other daylight birds of prey, are another constant and serious threat to chickens across the nation and the globe. It is a bird-eat-bird world, even if we don’t like to think about it.

These deadly predators have a huge advantage compared to mammals: they can fly. They can swoop in from above at speed and strike so quickly that you and your chickens might not see them coming until it is way too late.

Even young or smaller species of hawks are capable of killing or seriously wounding a chicken even if they cannot carry it away, and chickens have little defense against them, particularly when a rooster isn’t around.

If you see a hawk or other bird of prey circling or gliding in your area, anywhere, it is only a matter of time before an attack happens.

Some species might wait and watch from a nearby perch or other vantage points for a while waiting for the right time to attack, meaning you can spot them if you pay attention.

The best way to protect your chickens against avian predators like hawks is to provide some sort of overhead protection, like chicken wire or brightly colored cargo netting.

Anything that can “foul” the approach of the attacking bird will dissuade attack or at the very least give your chickens more time to react.

Luckily, even the stoutest bird of prey is comparatively weak and delicate compared to a mammal, so light fencing will stop them and you generally need not worry about them digging.

Word of warning, don’t shoot them: all such birds are protected species at state and federal levels.

an owl

6. Owls

Protective Measures:

  • Mesh or fencing around run.
  • Run must be covered; consider cargo netting.
  • Keep coop or barn doors closed; owls can and will swoop in.
  • Get flock inside and shut up before sundown; owls are nocturnal.

Owls are birds of prey, but I put them in a distinct category from the others since they have a unique adaptation that makes them a special threat.

They are nocturnal, and dead silent when attacking. Their wings don’t even flutter when gliding in for a kill.

You might not think of owls as chicken predators but they are. In fact, they will take chickens of all sizes, from the tiniest bantam to full-grown hens and roosters. Large owls can make short work of even the biggest chickens.

Owls mostly hunt at night, mostly, but they can and will make daytime attacks, meaning you can never let your guard down just because the sun is out.

And though it is true that your chickens get going at dawn and retire at night they won’t necessarily keep them off of an owl’s radar. I have seen owls take chickens in the middle of the afternoon.

The best way to protect your chickens against owls is to again provide some sort of overhead protection for their run, and make sure they are securely shut up in their coop by dusk.

Chickens should have a safe place to go at night anyway, but if for whatever reason your chickens are outside after nightfall and an owl in is the area you may have a massacre on your hands.

two raccoons

7. Raccoons

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy fence around the run.
  • The run must be covered.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft.
  • Bolts, latches, and locks must be complex and impossible for raccoons to operate.
  • All elevated coop openings must be too small for raccoons to enter.

Raccoons are adorable, but highly troublesome for chicken keepers. They are common just about everywhere in the United States, and can be found in both rural and urban areas.

Raccoons are opportunistic scavengers and will eat chickens of all sizes if they can, but prefer to take eggs and young chicks. Yeah, yeah; they look cuddly, but they have serious teeth and will use them.

Raccoons’ most noteworthy traits as predators are their intellect and nimble forepaws, with dexterity akin to our fingers.

Their climbing ability, intelligence, and dexterity make short work of flimsy chicken closures, simple bolts or other half-hearted protection you might have around your coop or run to keep chickens in.

Raccoons will rarely make direct attacks on a flock, but will try to break into the coop itself to get at your chickens and eggs, so it is important to make sure the coop is sturdy and well-built, with no elevated opening for them to squeeze through.

Make sure closures and locks are complex enough to resist their attempts to open them.

Also, take care that your coop’s walls are solid and come all the way to the ground; a raccoon can easily reach through an opening to grasp and retrieve food, so take a close look at your coop’s construction unless you want missing eggs and chicks.

Be advised, as raccoons that find success in feeding will almost always hang around or make your coop a stop on their nightly roam, so be prepared to deal with repeated incursions.

a possum

8. Possums

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy fence around the run.
  • The run must be covered.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft.
  • All elevated coop openings must be too small for possums to enter.

Possums are very much like raccoons when it comes to our chickens, preferring to swipe eggs and chicks, though they will attack adult birds when desperate or when they are sick or already injured.

Also, like raccoons, possums are intelligent and very good climbers, though not as creative or capable as raccoons when it comes to breaking and entering.

To protect your flock from possums make sure your coop is sturdy with no openings that a possum could climb through or squeeze under through.

A well-built coop will protect your chickens from many predators, so this is always a good investment and is part and parcel of raising a flock of your own.

Possums are good animals to have around in the area since they kill many harmful insects, especially ticks, but they are known killers of chickens and egg thieves, so you’ll have to weigh the benefits of leaving them in the area.

a grass snake

9. Snakes

Protective Measures:

  • Fine mesh must be used around the run to prevent the entry of snakes.
  • The coop must be solidly built with no openings snake could sneak through.

Snakes are not the most dangerous or even the most prolific of the predators on this list, but they are one that entails a unique challenge for chicken owners.

Believe it or not, an adult chicken has a fair chance of killing or severely maiming an average-sized snake, either by pecking it or stabbing it with its spurs. That being said, all kinds of snakes can spell big trouble for your flock.

The risk factors vary depending on what kind of snake you are dealing with. Any venomous snake that bites a chicken is probably going to kill it outright, whether or not the snake can actually swallow the bird.

On the other hand, constrictors might be able to overpower an adult chicken and could actually eat it. But snakes represent a special threat for chicks and eggs alike.

Chicks are incredibly vulnerable to every kind of predator, and snakes are no different. But it is the eggs, in particular, the snakes are usually after.

A snake can go anywhere that its head can fit, wriggling under loose planks, slipping through knotholes, and generally making itself a nuisance from their unwanted intrusions.

Snakes are also quiet, and it is entirely possible they could take a chick or several eggs without raising any alarm.

You might be able to depend on your adult chickens and a rooster in particular to fend off or kill a snake, or you might not, but your only real protection against them is a coupe that seals up tightly at every possible fitting.

Only the finest mesh fencing will prevent a snake from sneaking through it, so you’ll generally have to depend on the security of your coop to keep your flock safe from snakes at night.

a rat

10-11. Rats and Mice

Protective Measures:

  • Fine mesh must be used around the run to prevent the entry of rats and mice.
  • The coop must be solidly built with no openings either could sneak through.
  • Consider the use of non-poison traps and countermeasures to reduce population.
  • Keep the coop and surrounding area clean to discourage rodents.

The next class of chicken predators on our list are rodents. Now, depending on where you live, the type of rodent you have to worry about will vary.

But in general, any kind of mouse or rat can pose a threat to your flock, whether it’s a tiny field mouse or a giant Norway rat that somehow found its way into your barn.

Mice and rats are difficult to get rid of and even harder to deter.

They might be first attracted to chicken feed, not the birds themselves, but they will definitely help themselves to eggs, chicks, and potentially sick or injured adults when the opportunity arises just like any other predator.

If you see mice or rats around the coop or elsewhere on your property, expect that they will eat your eggs given half the chance.

Rats will easily kill chicks and can painfully finish off sick or old birds in isolation. Perhaps worst of all, rodents are known vectors of various diseases that can decimate your flock.

The best way to protect your chickens against rodents is to take away their food and shelter to discourage them from hanging around.

Keep loose chicken feed in airtight, sturdy containers, and don’t leave any uneaten scraps or surplus food lying around the coop or run.

Keep straw, shavings, and other bedding clean and dry, and remove it from the coop on a regular basis to discourage nesting.

As always, make sure your coop is proof against any incursion. Rodents can chew through wood with alarming speed, so watch out for signs of damage on exterior walls and eaves.

Happily, adult chickens are quite capable of killing mice and rats alike, and much of the time they will eat the carcass when the little dirtbag has been dispatched. Free protein!

You can also resort to trapping or other methods of extermination, but you must be sure that your chickens won’t come to harm by accident.

Poisons are a bad idea. A natural predator of rodents, like a cat or certain kinds of dogs, also make short work of rats and mice but you must be sure that they won’t turn on the birds you are trying to save!


12. Skunks

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft.
  • Consider hardware cloth ground perimeter to discourage digging.

Another seldom thought of but a legitimate threat to the safety of your flock. Skunks will happily feast on eggs, and given the chance, they will dispatch a chicken or two as well.

Once again those sharp teeth are not for show!

Chickens are not high-priority prey for skunks, and aside from some digging they don’t work too hard to get at them, but if you don’t have a sturdy coop and run then a skunk might make a pass on them.

You’re more likely to find skunks around the coop in the early morning looking for an egg breakfast or at night since they are nocturnal, but it is hardly unheard of to see them roaming in the daytime, either.

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to protect your chickens from skunks. A well-built coop will do the trick pretty much all the time, but do keep in mind they will defend themselves from roosters and people alike with their wretched spray if threatened.

Your chickens might not mind too much but it can make your life around the yard a living nightmare for a while! Act cautiously if you need to shoo one off.

a wolf

13. Wolves

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • Run must be covered
  • Fencing buried at least 3ft.
  • Consider stones or a rough gravel perimeter to discourage digging.

Compared to bygone eras, wolves are rarely encountered in North America and even less of a problem concerning the pillaging of livestock, but nonetheless populations are rebounding in certain areas and if you live there your chickens are on the menu.

A full-grown wolf can snatch the life from an adult chicken with ease, and a pack of them will make short work of a whole flock given the opportunity.

As a rule, they will carry off smaller prey for a meal, so you might not have any evidence left behind except blood and feathers.

Preventing wolves from taking your chickens is tricky. Wolves are large and powerful compared to coyotes and most dogs, and though you will have to rely on the sturdiness of your coop for the most part, it is worth taking some extra steps.

A fence around the perimeter of the property is a good idea regardless if you can afford it, but make sure it is high enough and tough enough to keep wolves out.

Other than that, there is not much you can do except try to run them off.

Wolves are a protected and charismatic species these days, and though most areas don’t deal with “urbanized” wolves (akin to coyotes) that will flagrantly intrude upon the domain of humans it is perhaps only a matter of time until we see that behavior occurring.

Don’t even think about blasting them unless your life is directly threatened: wolves are protected in most states.

a brown bear

14. Bears

Protective Measures:

  • Only the strongest fencing and buildings will stand up to bear intrusion.
  • Consider large, rough stones around the perimeter to discourage digging.
  • Minimize food and waste around the property to avoid attracting bears.

Another predator that many people don’t consider in the context of chickens is if you live anyplace with black or brown bear populations you had nonetheless better get your head on straight about these big boys!

A whole flock of chickens is, of course, no match for a bear, and if one wanders into your yard you can pretty much kiss your flock goodbye if they are hungry.

Bears will happily eat chickens whole and eggs by the dozen and are readily attracted to chicken feed and garbage.

Black bears are especially noteworthy since they are far more regularly encountered in areas of human habitation compared to brown bears.

Black or brown, all bears also happen to be extraordinarily well equipped for the task compared to virtually every other animal on this list.

Bears are good climbers and expert diggers thanks to their long claws and prodigious strength.

Together with their powerful jaws, there is precious little an adult bear cannot break into or overcome, including your fencing and whatever your coop happens to be made of.

An average bear can quite literally peel the side of your coop open after it pushes over your fencing.

I don’t have much advice for you about keeping your chickens safe against bears. Only the most heavy-duty construction will stand up to their continued attention.

You might try to startle or scare them away, and bear spray can be a great option for deterring them if they grow too bold. In any case, be careful! They can kill you almost as easily as a chicken.

a mountain lion

15. Mountain Lion

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • The run should be enclosed by heavy metal mesh.
  • Try to scare off mountain lions with loud noises.
  • Contact Fish and Wildlife Commission

The largest North American wildcat, the mountain lion (also called the cougar) is not a common predator of chickens but there are plenty of recorded attacks.

It does happen to pose a significant threat in some areas, and they are known to frequent places where food is common.

Like other predators, they will always stay near the source of food. Mountain lions are infrequently sighted but their nocturnal habits and ability to travel long distances at speed make them rather difficult to study.

Similar to bears, mountain lions have the strength to force their way into weaker structures and they can climb just about anything.

They are also rightly infamous for their stealth tactics, preferring to stalk and ambush prey.

Of most concern, a mountain lion is more than capable of injuring or killing an adult human, so you must take this seriously if you even suspect one is hanging around your property.

Your best bet is to try and scare them off with loud noises, but to do that you’ll need to know they are there. Game cameras can help you catch a mountain lion lurking near your property.

If you live in an area with known mountain lion populations it might be worth investing in a stronger coop. Other than that, there is not much you can do to keep your chickens safe.

Some places allow you to shoot a mountain lion if it is threatening livestock, but in others only if it is directly threatening humans. Make sure you know what the law is before you directly intervene!


16. Bobcats

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • The run must be covered with metal mesh or slats.
  • Fencing buried at least 2ft.
  • Cover elevated openings in the coop large enough to permit bobcats.

Often overshadowed by their more impressive cousins, bobcats are actually the more common threat to chickens among true wild cats.

They are smaller than and not nearly as strong as mountain lions, but they are ferocious, more common, and found in a wider range of habitats. All are more than capable of killing your chickens for food with little trouble.

Though their diet does not ordinarily include much poultry, if you live near their territory there is a chance that one might take a liking to your chickens if other food sources are scarce or if the chickens are just easy pickings.

They have all the predatory instincts and skills of other members of the cat family, including powerful claws, great vision, and superb ambush tactics and that means that a bobcat attack is often successful (read: fatal).

You know the drill by now when it comes to protecting your flock. Know, though, that compared to common feral or stray domestic cats fencing is not always effective against bobcats since they can dig beneath obstacles that they cannot climb or jump over.

Make sure your birds have a good, sturdy coop that will stop intruders and they should be safe against a prowling bobcat.


17-19. Weasels, Stoats, and Ferrets

Protective Measures:

  • Fine mesh must be used around the run to prevent the entry of mustelids.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft.
  • Use large gravel around the perimeter to discourage digging.
  • The coop must be solidly built with no openings mustelids could sneak through.
  • Consider the use of non-poison traps and countermeasures to reduce population if non-protected.

The mustelid family is a large one, and it includes some of the most notorious chicken killers in the world. Among them are weasels (of various types), stoats, and ferrets.

Small, soft, and slinky to a rule, they are still agile and proficient killers, and almost all are small enough to fit through tight spaces. Think of them as combining the best attributes of rats and cats and you aren’t far off.

These critters are vicious predators and good hunters, and will seek out both eggs and chicks to kill and eat, though they can readily kill adult chickens if the opportunity arises, usually from the bigger bird being sick or already hurt.

In many ways, these creatures are the most difficult to deal with when it comes to chicken predators. They are very secretive, nocturnal, and hard to spot.

They can slip through any opening that their head can fit through, like a mouse or snake. They can dig quickly. And they are quiet. Even if you do see one there is not much you can do, most times.

The only thing that stands half a chance of catching them is a cat most of the time, though they are so ferocious that a cat will likely be driven off.

You might resort to baited cage traps with a good expectation of success, though such traps must be very good to hold them.

20. Humans

Protective Measures:

  • Strong locks and closures on the coop door will deter thieves.
  • Consider the use of security lighting, alarms, and cameras.

You read that right. Humans, our fellow man, our erstwhile “neighbors” in society. Humans are among the most successful predators of chickens, though in this context they are likely not hunting for food.

And though humans may kill chickens for any number of reasons, from spite to amusement to just plain ol’ revenge, in our era they are more likely to steal them to keep or to sell.

If you have particularly valuable birds in your flock someone might just decide to steal them.

A chicken coop is an easy target for a human and can be quickly broken into and the birds stolen with little effort.

The best defense against human predators is a good, sturdy lock and hinges on your chicken coop door.

Anything that will take the time or make noise to defeat will decrease the likelihood of a human attacker persisting.

If you live in an area with a high rate of such attacks it might also be wise to consider some form of security system, like an alarm, motion lighting, or even a camera system to alert you if someone is prowling around. That way you can take action.

a wolverine

21. Wolverines

Protective Measures:

  • A sturdy, tall fence around the run.
  • Fencing buried at least 1ft; 2-3 feet is better.
  • Consider stones or a rough gravel perimeter to discourage digging.

Wolverines are rare to nonexistent in much of the continental U.S., though pretty common in the northernmost reaches of North America and throughout Alaska.

Even so, they are one of the most fearsome chicken predators around.

Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family, and they are able scavengers and ferocious hunters.

They will readily take down an adult deer or caribou, and so a chicken is no match for one of these animals.

Wolverines are a very uncommon threat for the vast majority of chicken owners, which is good news if you live in areas where they exist since they would be a real problem for backyard chicken keepers if encountered.

If you do live in such an area, though, be aware that these animals can and will kill chickens and take whatever steps are necessary to protect your flock.

Wolverines are legendary for their persistence and daring in pursuit of a meal, one they brought down themselves or not, and if you fear one is in the area typical defenses might not be enough to ward them off.

Electric fencing might be the best deterrent if you can set it up around your property or coop.

a raven

22-24. Crows, Ravens, and Magpies

Protective Measures:

  • Mesh or fencing around run.
  • Run must be covered; consider cargo netting.
  • Keep coop or barn doors closed; crows, ravens, and magpies can and will swoop in.
  • Discourage loitering with decoys.

Although not true birds of prey, these members of the corvidae family are known chicken predators through egg theft. They will readily steal and eat eggs and may kill chicks.

These birds are highly intelligent, excellent problem solvers, and can be quite bold, making them difficult to deter through conventional means.

They will happily swoop into an open coop to grab an egg or two before flying right back out again.

The best way to keep these birds away from your chickens is to reduce their access to the area. Keeping the coop secured at all times will reduce or eliminate egg theft.

Also, take pains to make the surrounding area less amenable to them so they won’t hang around as much.

This means keeping the ground clean so there is no food for them to scavenge and making sure that any potential roosting areas are unavailable or spoofed with decoys to deter them.

If they do start loitering, scaring them off can be effective, but it must be done sharply or they will quickly learn that there is no real threat and return.

the Northern Caiman lizard

25. Caiman

Protective Measures:

  • Fenced, covered run.
  • Keep overgrowth trimmed well back from the coop.

You needn’t worry about wild caiman and other large lizards on the U.S. mainland, but if you live in some parts of the Caribbean or elsewhere in Central America then they can be a real issue.

Caiman is another predator that prefers eggs to chicken meat, but they can and will eat chicks or finish off small, wounded or sick adults.

Caiman can be surprisingly fast, have razor-sharp teeth, and have a strong grip, making them a very dangerous predator.

As with other egg-stealing predators, the best defense against caiman is to make sure they can’t get to the eggs in the first place.

This means a well-secured chicken coop and runs that they cannot break into or dig under.

If you live in an area with caiman it is also advisable to take steps to make sure they don’t become too accustomed to being around humans since this can lead to them becoming bold and aggressive.

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  1. I’ve had chickens for 12 years and have lose chickens to Red-Tailed Hawks and Raccoons. My area of East Central Florida has Foxes, Bobcats and Florida Panthers. I’ve seen fox tracks around my coop enclosure. I have a Australian Shepherd that loves guard dog work and has scared off several hawks and the neighborhood Cats, Raccoons, and Possums have all gotten the message…..stay away from this backyard.

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