Our chicken coop is like a little Fort Knox. It locks up at night and during the day my Pit Bull Pepper often runs around making sure no one’s bothering her chickens. In the end though we live in a very predator infested area and my dog is indeed a pet so she comes in at night leaving only the coop to protect the chickens from fisher cats, fox, weasels, mink, coyote, skunk, racoons, owls, hawks, bears, and whatever else is lurking in the woods. In the coming two years we have plans of buying a house on some property where we can let our chickens free roam, rather then being confined to a run. However when chickens free roam they sometimes decide they’d rather roost in trees or stay out at night. I wonder if we’ll have predator problems.
I am not one to take up a gun. I know a lot of farmers do… whenever a pest or predatory animal walks onto their property they have a bounty on their head. I have no such delusion of land ownership. I believe those animals have every right to exist where they are… but I don’t want them eating my chickens. It’s an interesting problem. I recently asked a breeder of old fashioned game cocks if these kick-ass roosters might be the first line of defense to a predators. I mean its not unheard of to come by stories of roosters going completely psycho on foxes that try to eat their hens. Much to my sadness they said absolutely not, game cocks are no more brave towards predators than any other breed. Many of these fighting breeds are going extinct due to the illegal nature of their former profession. It’s a sad thing as they are GORGEOUS birds. They look like colorful dinosaurs. They’ll kill other roosters but are generally very friendly towards people. I was hoping just having one ninja rooster would be a solution to my woes.
This same breeder said the best nonlethal defense against predators is something called a Livestock Guardian Dog. Some of these breeds include Pyrenees Mountain Dogs, Tibetan Mastiffs, and Komadors. These dogs are raised as puppies with the livestock and bond with the livestock, not necessarily the human owner. They spend 100% of their time with the livestock through good weather and bad. It’s an interesting prospect. Here’s a photo of a Komodor chasing off a coyote. I think this is something I’ll have to revisit when we set up our own homestead.