All About Chicken Predators

All You Need To Know About Protecting Your Chickens


Distribution: From Central America to the arctic, covering all of the USA, Canada and Mexico.

Prey: Rabbits, ground squirrels, moles, gophers, rabbits, hares, mice, birds, carrion, poultry, sheep and lambs, goats, deer, calves, pigs, dogs under about 35lb, cats. They also eat grass, berries and fruit in summer and autumn. There have been several attacks on humans, but no fatalities to my knowledge.

Control: Red meat is a good bait, as is (dare I say it) live chickens or rabbits. You can also use sight attractors like chicken feathers, eggshells and cotton wool balls (which resemble eggs and have eye appeal). Sound attractors that squeal like an animal in pain.

Lethal control has been shown not only to sort out the individual coyote problem, but to change the behaviour of the population at large. When quite a few coyotes, have been killed, the local population may become more wary of humans if they are used to them. This can only be a good thing. However, it is not possibly (or, apparently, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, necessary) to eliminate the entire coyote population from any given area.

In the USA, you need a state license to trap and kill them. Contact your local wildlife office.

The hay set, normally used for foxes, but can be adapted for coyotes. Best in snow.
Steel traps for use with coyotes etc.

  • Keep poultry and other vunerable livestock locked indoors overnight, including cats and dogs
  • Don't feed your pets outdoors
  • Don't feed coyotes
  • Don't let coyotes have access to rubbish or compost heaps
  • Don't feed feral cats / stray dogs / wildlife / anything except your children
  • If you have sheep / goats / cows etc then collect any placentas in the birthing season as these will attract coyotes
How Do I Know It Was a Coyote?
Coyotes are roughly the same size as a border collie dog, weighing up to forty pounds. They resemble a wolf.

Victims of coyotes will usually have puncture wounds in the head and neck area, as a coyote will go for the jugular vein. This is different to a dog because they go for the hind quarters and mutilate the animal. However, an attack by a young coyote may resemble that of a dog, because they are inexperienced and will grab onto anything that they can. If the coyote has caught large livestock, like sheep, then it will eat it where it caught it. However, chickens will normally be taken away.

Photo Courtesy of North Buckhead Civic Association, Atlanta, Georgia

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Juvenile Coyote

Coyote Pup
It may look cute now but it won't be once it starts killing your livestock

Footprints, front and hind
They are about two inches wide and two and a half inches long, with the hind paws slightly smaller
Photo courtesy of

Due to the wide variation in a coyote's diet, their dung can vary wildly
Photos courtesy of Russell Link

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