What Are the Natural Predators of Chickens?

What are the natural predators of chickens? Look no further than your own backyard and surrounding farmland, woods or even urban area to find chickens' worst enemies: hawks, raccoons, opossums, foxes, dogs, domestic cats, mountain cats and wolves.

The fact is, backyard chickens are threatened by many creatures and if they are not protected, some will ultimately become dinner for another creature.

Hawks, which are birds of prey, go after chickens, especially small breeds and young birds. The larger hawks will even take full-size hens, though they seem to have a bit more trouble with the roosters. We once had a red tailed hawk land in our chicken yard to go after a chicken, and another time one flew low over our coop several times. looking for the perfect opportunity, before we chased it away.

Raccoons are as guilty as they look – we once caught one in the tree by our chicken yard, climbing up the trunk to jump down the other side of our fence. Luckily, our hens and rooster were well secured in their chicken house, but we took no chances and sent him packing.

We've lost several of our sweet hens to an opossum or several of these ugly creatures, before we had a good secure coop. These natural predators of chickens are merciless and their mouths are just hideous, filled with fierce rows of sharp teeth. Several of these ugly creatures have met their death in our backyard on their way to harm our chickens (do not worry, it was totally legal – and necessary!)

Foxes are sly creatures indeed, and never resist the temptation to make a fat hen into their warm dinner. The key to avoiding foxes is to have your chickens housed in a secure coop and chicken run, preferably not adjoining any grassy fields, where foxes are likely to be found.

Domesticated cats, as well as feral felines and naturally wild cats such as mountain lions, are all possible threats to the safety and welfare of your feathered flock. In fact, cats are very good at hunting, stalking and pouncing on their intended victims, even in broad daylight. A good, large rooster or a trained livestock dog will frighten away most of the small cats, but larger ones may need a bigger threat with which to contend. Being armed and ready for their invasion is your best bet.

Dogs, wild or tame, can also be the death of your chickens. Of course, many domestic dogs will not bother your chickens, but there's no way to know unless you are familiar with the animal and it has been around chickens for an extended period of time without showing aggression toward them. Some dogs are trained specifically to guard and protect chickens and other farm animals; having one of these will keep your flock secure from virtually all of the natural predators of chickens.