How to Coyote-Proof Your Chicken Coop
by Poultry farmer – Miriam Rolling| Last Updated– 09 January 2021
Today, I’m going to talk about how to specifically coyote-proof your chicken coop. Coyotes are a special kind of predator. They are after your chickens. They’re very opportunistic. It’s they have to hunt for every meal they get. They’re not like a domestic animal where it’s like, Oh, there’s a bowl of food and water right over there waiting for me. It’s like, they’re always on the look. They have to be. That’s just the way they are. That’s the way they live. So we can’t hold that against them. And they have a great sense of smell. I notice animals can smell from far away. They just catch a whiff and they know it’s there. So we have to realize that when we’re thinking about building our cope or reinforcing our cope to keep the coyotes out, the second thing we have to realize is they are going to be persistent.
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They have to be, they need to eat every day. So they’re persistent for their whole life because that’s just, they spend their whole life hunting basically to feed themselves and maybe laying around a little bit to relax. And then it’s up again and out hunting. They go once they know where a coop is. And like I said, they have a great sense of smell. They are going to go check that every single day.
It’s like us going back to the grocery store week after week after week. I mean, they do the same thing to the cope once they know it’s there, they’re going to come back to it, just to see if anything’s changed. If there’s an opportunity and you know, depending on how hungry they are, will determine how hard they try to get in your coat, but you can, you can resist them.
And I’m going to tell you how, okay. So the next thing we’re going to talk about is why the coop matters the size of the coop and the coop material, what you build it out of.
So picturing your chickens in the hen house, sleeping at night because they sleep in the hen house on the roost at night and picture one, the size of a dog house. So they’re like in there, they’re like huddled in their hock trying to sleep, but you know, they’re kind of nervous birds [inaudible] and then your coop is so small. So the coyote is right there, right there is the rule. It’s like a coyote knows the chickens right in there. And the chicken sits there like, Oh, he’s right there. And it’s like, it’s just not a good situation. But if you picture a coop, the size of mine, chicken town and the hen house is 10 by 10 and it’s tall.
So a person can walk in there. So my chickens are in there and there’s room. And if there’s a, you know, one of the predators which are lurking around, which they do, they’ll get up on the roof and they’ll, they’ll come around here, they’ll check the cracks, see if they can fit in the crack there. And you know, they, they do a thorough investigation, believe me, but my check-ins are in there. And they’re kind of like, haha. You’re out there.
They feel safer. And they just, they’re not like just sitting right there with the wall right next to them. And the thing, trying to eat them, it makes a difference because when that coyote knows, there’s just, you know, six inches of space between it and the chicken, it is going to try harder. The second thing is the material. You’re going to think of the three little pigs story where one built his house out of bricks.
And the other was, you know, out of straw and whatever the story is. It’s like, you gotta think like that and your house has to be built out of not literally bricks, but it’s gotta be built. God, I like to use these farm planks. They’re thick, they’re one inch thick. And they’re like, you know, um, I think they’re six inches wide. They’re very sturdy when you screw those on, I don’t nail them on because over time they can work loose. If you screw those on there, isn’t, there’s nothing can get in there. Coyotes can’t dig, chew, or break their way in there.
So now I want to talk about the roof recently, Joe Rogan talks about the coyote is chewy through his, shingle roof. So I don’t know if those are asphalt shingles or wood shingles, but I mean, if your chickens are in there and this animal is hungry, it’s going to, and it feels like it could get in there.
It’s going to be digging around a little. And if it’s like, Oh, it’s kind of weak, it’s going to keep at it because you know, they have confidence in their ability. So it’s going to keep trying the key is right here, the metal roof.
Now, this is used secondhand metal, but it’s awesome to have a metal roof because nothing’s going to be able to chew through that. And a lot of times once they get up there and it makes so much noise, even that just scares them. Cause they’ll jump up there and it’ll just be so noisy. They’re kind of like X, you know because they want to creep around and get stuff. So that’s another reason the metal works really good is that it’s kind of noisy when something jumps up there, you know, it’s, it blows their cover so to speak. So that works really, really good.
So I highly recommend the metal roof on your chicken coop henhouse. I have a really big Ron in my runs pretty open here. And you, anything could jump right in here, but I have a fantastic farm dog. I have, I have Lincoln over there on the ground. He’s eating and then believe it or not. I have this little Chihuahua right there and he is a little scrapper. That is a little bad boy. He will chase anything out into those woods in the pitch, dark he’s just after it. They’re just like tough little scrappy dogs. And that does make them more self-confident and more aggressive when they’re trying to protect the farm.
Just so you know, the difference, like a couch potato, dog’s like yawning. Like where’s my next tree. It’s like, you know, it’s like coyote. He wants a coyote. You know, it doesn’t even know really that it’s like an enemy of the farm.
So it’s just going to be like, yeah, whatever you have to build according to your situation. So depending on what predators you have come around. If I had coyotes coming around, I think my dogs would chase them off. But nevertheless, if I didn’t have the dogs, I would build a run that has a wire floor wire bottom, and then I would dump sand in there so they can still take a dust bath and stuff, but that would be a good, strong wire that they, nothing could get through there.
And then for the ultimate measure of you’re still having trouble is you can put an electric fence around your cope. So it would be completely enclosed with wire. Nothing could jump over and nothing could dig underneath it either. And then the little chickens would be happy and safe in there. And cock-a-doodle-doo there you go. Nice big Sandy floor.
They pick and scratch. They’re very happy. I just throw the food in here. I do have a feeder in my co-op over here, but the funny thing is they like don’t even eat out of it. Just their natural instinct is that they want to go with over there and pick and scratch and get the stuff off the ground. They don’t really want to eat out of the feeder. We’re all natural over here. I built them a little ladder to come up to the roost.
Yeah, here’s a double roof. You have to make sure there’s plenty of room on the roost. And then of course over here, I have my nest boxes. I just cleaned these. And there’s a little like there’s a little squabble going on between the Guinea hen and the Americana chicken. And they break the eggs. Guinea breaks her the chicken eggs, cause she’s, mean and jealous that she’s laying her eggs in there. The two girls battling over there too time. And man, and then they’ll break each other’s eggs, but no big deal, like whatever that happens. So I just have to clean that last box out. So that’s my advice. If you’re having problems with coyotes getting into your car, and if you do these few things, I think you’ll have great success and your chickens will be happy and safe.
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