A red fox walked through my backyard today not 20 feet from the window where I was. It was heading toward the chicken coop. I wish I’d gotten a picture as it was a beautiful animal, but I jumped up and ran yelling “Stay away from my chickens!”
Now that the local wildlife has found my hens, I’m wondering now if I should add that layer of chicken wire I’d been meaning to add at the base of the run to protect against digging predators.
The main predator of chickens that I’ve heard of around here is hawks. Red tailed hawks are big, but I don’t know if one could fly off with a chicken. A friend of mine had a hawk get into her run’s open door this winter and drag off a chicken. (I’ll have to ask her if it was a full sized hen or a bantam.) I don’t think it flew off with the hen, but was able to drag her out of the coop. It did not end well for the chicken.
I was looking up how long it takes for chickens to reach their full size. My hens are 6 months old now. What I found is that chickens grow for about 18 months. So I guess my girls have more growing to do. Ginger and Penny will eventually be 5-6 lbs and Bertha 10-12 lbs, if I can keep them safe….
Usually when I let my hens out of the coop, I stay and guard them. Last fall I would rake nearby. Now, I mostly just stand and watch. I wonder if I could train the dogs to guard them? Suzie and Skippy are good about being out with the chickens, even without me around. Silly Suzie usually joins the chickens in their foraging as she loves the sunflower seed I scatter. Skippy and I watch and shake our heads at her.