Normally, coyotes are opportunistic eaters, seeking less challenging prey and easily acquired food, but do coyotes eat chickens?
They hate being exposed, hurt, killed, or feeling endangered.
If your flock becomes vulnerable and an easy target, they’ll definitely attract coyotes. But, if you properly protect them, coyotes, among other predators, will look for food elsewhere.
Therefore, unwatched or left out during early nights, chickens that are openly foraging in your backyard will attract coyotes.
In addition, coyotes are nocturnal and will hunt at night. For that reason, ensure that you take your flock back to the coop before dawn after allowing them to free range.
In most cases, chickens will move back to their coops when night falls.
Remember that pets such as cats and small dogs might encourage coyotes to visit your homestead. Research shows that most homes lose small cats and dogs to coyotes.
Method of Kill
Coyotes primarily kill chickens with a neck bite. They also shake them violently, ensuring that they are completely dead.
If they fail to break the neck, they drag the chicken to places where they’ll kill and eat them.
Hungry coyotes or ones that are hunting in groups are known to ravage the entire flocks and may live in your backyard with no chicken.
We recommend keeping a close look over your flock– especially if coyotes are around your area.
While neck-biting is their common mode of attack, they also go for the hindquarters in cases where a chicken has tried to run for safety or escape.
When coyotes attack, they leave the scene with no evidence since they can drag a chicken a mile away from your backyard and eat it wholly.
For that reason, you might not find your hen if a coyote takes it.
However, signs of struggle, such as blood or feathers on the ground, can help you know if coyotes have attacked your flock.
Alternatively, the presence of coyote paw tracks can be a clear indicator.
Now, how do you protect your flock from coyotes? Read the guidelines below.
How Do You Keep Coyotes Away From Chickens?
Even though keeping your flock from predators may require effort, planning, and deliberation, it is essential.
Further, the preventive measures you choose will depend on your area of residence, the number of chickens you have, and your backyard layout.
First and foremost, remove all the coyote attractants from your property.
Consider this the first line of defense for your flock. The other tips to protect your chickens include:
Keeping Your Property Clean
Coyotes roam all over in pursuit of small animals. They also feed on berries and other fruits.
They even extend their search for food in people’s homesteads– knowing that they’ll at least find leftovers. So, you must ensure that no food is left on your property.
For instance, keep litter bins closed with tight-fitting lids and stored in your storeroom. This prevents coyotes from knocking the lids off if you forget the garbage bins outside.
Also, it will be important to store chicken feed in appropriate containers inside your storeroom. Ensure there are no uneaten scraps or food around your chicken coop.
The leftovers can attract rodents and some pests– all these can still be a coyote’s prey and, therefore, can encourage coyotes to invade your backyard in one way or another.
In short, ensure you do not have any bird feeders or pet food left outside.
Trimming any bush around your homestead is a good idea. Keep in mind that coyotes are omnivores, and besides eating animals plus chickens, they will look for berries and other fruits from the bush.
Some scents like urine scents of larger predators– wolves and mountain lions can be effective deterrents. Wolf urine reminds coyote of an adversary, an opponent, and, thus, an enemy.
The scent drives fear through the coyotes’ bones, thus keeping them away. Many chicken owners have confirmed that the approach works well.
For effective results, spray the scents on the perimeter walls of your property. The scent will also protect foxes, among other predators, from getting into your backyard.
Consider spraying around your coop too.
The other types of scents that can keep coyotes away include; white vinegar, which, apart from containing water, has acetic acid and a strong and intoxicating smell that irritates coyotes.
Cayenne and chili pepper both have a potent smell and flavor– pepper has a capsaicin compound that makes the smell puissant that can cause coyotes to sniff.
Also, strong perfumes normally have high chemical concentrations, creating a strong scent that can have a nuance.
The scent makes coyotes uncomfortable, leading them to move to a place they will have a pleasant experience.
Fencing your home is the most effective way to secure your backyard and keep chickens out of coyotes and other predators.
A fence should be tall and strong– at least 6 feet high above the ground. Also, bury the fence 8 inches below the ground to prevent coyotes from digging to gain access.
When installing the fence, use a durable and galvanized hardware mesh. The fence should also have smaller holes to deter slim and nimble coyotes from squeezing through the wire.
Installing coyote rollers on top of the fence can be an added security to your flock.
Fixing the rollers is simple and will prevent coyotes from gaining any grip on the fence– even if they were to make it that high.
Motion Sensor Sprinklers/Lights
The sensors detect the movement of the predators when they cross their path; they shine so bright and quickly scare off them.
Coyotes perceive the lights to be eye-like, frightening them. Water is quickly sprinkled upon animal movement detection for the sprinklers, sending them away.
To make the motion sensors work effectively, install them at different heights, angles, or areas in your backyard.
We recommend placing the sensors in the vulnerable areas that coyotes can mostly use to gain access to your property.
Some chicken keepers use this method to keep away coyotes since it does not work for many. We recommend using large breeds.
Using small dogs will still have the same vulnerability to coyotes as your flock.
It’s also important to start training your dogs from their early stage to execute guarding roles for your flock.
Don’t dare leave any dogs next to chickens because they may become food sources for the dog.
A well-trained dog will ensure your flock is safe and sound even in your absence. It’s a better deterrent.
Animal Control Center Support
Understanding the level of threat of coyotes in your area is a good step to start with.
Then, if the predators are beyond your control, contact your local animal control center for further assistance.
The support team will be able to help and advise you on the proper way to protect your flock against the coyotes, reducing the potential impact.
Furthermore, the team can help you to capture and relocate coyotes to places miles away from your area.
Before you start keeping chickens at home, think about the placement and location of your chicken coop and run on your property.
They should not be on the fringes of your backyard. Also, never install the coop next to the bush area or a mile away from your house. An appropriate location matters!
A secluded chicken coop and run will attract coyotes and other predators. But predators will know that getting closer is risky when you have your coop in a self-secured place.
Regular inspections for weak points are encouraged. Immediately seal all holes on the walls and floor of your coop if you find any.
We recommend using hard chicken wire to protect your flock. Also, bury the wire about 8 inches below the ground, deterring entrance using the underground.
Additionally, putting your coop under lock and bolt at night will ensure the safety of your flock– keeping away most of the scheming predators.
Gate latches and slide bolts work so well because they are known to be weather-resistant padlocks.
Do coyotes kill and eat chickens? The answer is simple, yes. They’re very adept and terrifying predators to chickens.
Their increased population is even causing much danger and risks to chicken owners.
As a chicken keeper, you should be aware of the predators’ risks and be on the lookout in your ways to keep the chickens safe.
As discussed above, there are numerous ways to protect flocks and prevent coyotes, among other predators, from our backyards altogether.
The preventive measures include; keeping your property clean, using predator scents, installing coyote rollers and fencing, and using motion-triggered sprinklers and lights.
If all these methods don’t work, we recommend contacting the animal center support team– to capture and relocate coyotes miles away from your property.
All in all, don’t make your flock an easy meal. Coyotes will kill and eat them– but they are opportunistic eaters because they’ll look for food elsewhere.