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Keeping hens safe from predators and illness

If you decide to keep chickens you must know how to spot illness and disease and isolate your poorly chickens quickly
How do I keep predators away from my chickens?

The best way to keep predators away from your chickens is to keep them in a secure enclosure. You will need to make sure that this is fox-resistant. This involves laying a wire mesh around the enclosure, and/or digging down around the enclosure and laying wire. Foxes can dig quickly and deeply so you will need to check that they haven’t been able to dig around the mesh. Some people recommend keeping a dog as a fox deterrent, and others suggest using a ‘fox repeller’, which sends out a very loud noise at a frequency that foxes can hear but is too high for most humans to hear.

I want my chickens to roam free. How do I keep them safe?

Although foxes mainly hunt at night they have been known to hunt in the daytime. Also, pet dogs can be a problem for chickens that roam free. However, it is good for the well-being of chickens to enable them to roam free so you need to make sure that there are no foxes or dogs locally that could pose a threat.

 

You should keep a watchful eye on your chickens and think about getting a cockerel that will help to protect your flock. Try to provide some sort of overhead cover such as trees or a purpose built shelter, which will provide protection from overhead predators, shade from the sun and shelter in bad weather.

How do I keep my chickens healthy?

There are several things that you can do to keep your chickens healthy:

How should I watch out for illness in my chickens?

Check your flock on a regular basis. Look out for symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, scabs, cuts, open wounds, swollen joints, enlarged abdomen, blood in stools, diarrhoea and loss of feathers. If you notice any of these symptoms or anything else that you are unsure about, isolate the ill chicken and seek advice from your vet. Also, get to know your chickens and their behaviour. If you find that their behaviour changes suddenly, such as they stop producing eggs, stop drinking or stop eating, seek advice from your vet.