WHAT ANIMALS EAT CHICKENS?

Written by: Akeem Eletu

Humans aren’t the only chicken lovers out there. Some animals depend on these poultry birds as food. Preying on chickens is possible for these animals because carnivores find them pretty easy to hunt and munch. 

When thinking of the question “which animals eat chickens,” humans and dogs may readily come to your mind. But there are more dangerous and skilled chicken killers out there who make great competition.

This article discusses what animals eat chickens – and presents some very dangerous predators that you would want to ward off.

WHICH ANIMALS EAT CHICKENS?

It can be frustrating to rear chickens because many animals love to make a feast out of them. Whether you own a chicken farm or are just interested in the predators of these poultry birds, you’ll undoubtedly find this list indispensable.

FOXES

Foxes eat chickens. They are common chicken predators. These canines are annoyingly persistent. They can keep coming back to kill your chickens as long as they have identified your pen as a steady food source.

Foxes are sly when preying on your chickens. They usually steal the chickens and carry them off to their den, leaving behind little to no traces. The only thing left of your chicken might be a few stray feathers.

It doesn’t help that foxes are skilled diggers. So even if you have a fence guarding your chickens, these cunning animals will typically dig their way under it. Your best bet against a fox pestering your poultry birds is hunting them down and killing them first.

HAWKS

Hawks eat chickens, and their specialty is kidnapping the chicks and other weak small chickens. In the animal world, hawks would be chick-kidnappers. Hawks are birds of prey, and their style is to suddenly swoop down on your farm, catch a chick in its sharp talons, and shoot off as fast as possible. 

The adult chickens are usually too big to carry off, but not the chicks. You will often find some mother chickens covering her chicks with their feathers when a hawk is in sight. You will also find the mother chicken in a battle with the hawk as she tries to free her chick before the hawk reaches height. These mother chicken counter-attacks are often brutal. 

Hawks also leave little to no traces behind after stealing your chickens. However, your advantage is that hawks only prey on chickens in the daytime. That way, you can easily spot them and protect your chickens.

Building a chicken coop with a roof reduces the chances of hawks preying on your chicks.

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COYOTES

These dangerous scavengers eat chickens: dead or alive. Coyotes can and will kill your fowls with ease. These animals attack both in the day and night, but they mainly prowl at night because fewer humans are alert. That makes these predators a problem for you.

Once a coyote has easy access to your chickens, you can count on them to make a massive mess. A sign of a coyote raid is seeing feathers and bloody paw prints in places where your chickens once resided.

WEASELS

Weasels are among the list of animals that eat chickens. These tiny animals should be the most wasteful chicken predators because they kill more chickens than they can eat. 

A common sign of a weasel attack on your brood is dead, uneaten chicken carcasses. This gives many people the impression that weasels only kill chickens for fun, but actually they kill more than they can eat.

Weasels are tiny animals, making it easy for them to squeeze through holes in your fence and attack your fowls. They usually go for the chickens’ necks and drag them to their dens. 

Weasels are intelligent, making it hard for you to catch them in traps. If you have a weasel infestation, you may need to call a professional to take care of them. 

Mending any tiny hole in your fence is equally a good option. Another great way is to get a good guard dog such as a bullmastiff or a German shepherd to take care of this business.

OWLS

Similar to hawks, owls are also chicken abductors. While the larger species like the Great Horned Owls are big enough to swoop down on your farm and carry a whole chicken, other smaller species will naturally prefer to abduct your chicks for food.

The downside to having an owl as your chicken’s predator is that they mainly prey at night. Unlike hawks who attack in the daytime, it will be harder to spot an owl in the dark and scare them. This bird of prey uses the night as its cover.

RACCOONS

Raccoons eat chickens. Raccoons are a common predator in the poultry pen. Not only can they open windows and unlatch the doors of your poultry house, but they’re also big wasters of chicken.

A sure sign of a raccoon attack on your chickens is that you will notice your dead chicken without its head. A raccoon will typically eat your chicken’s head and leave you to deal with the rest of the body.

Since raccoons have an easy time picking simple locks, you’ll need to use a strong padlock if you want to protect your brood. Number padlocks are a wise move.

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BOBCATS

These felines mainly eat rabbits and rodents, so attacks on chickens aren’t their usual prey. However, they pose a potential threat to your livestock in areas where bobcats can easily be found because they will hunt and kill your chicken for food.

Like coyotes, bobcats are good jumpers and can scale a low fence to attack your chickens. Therefore, having a high fence is ideal for dealing with these big cats.

DOGS

Dogs eat chickens. It is typical to see them gnaw at chicken parts thrown at them before the chicken is set in the oven. You may find them munching on the chicken bones and the little pieces of flesh on them right after the BBQ party. 

In some extreme situations, stray dogs and even trained dogs have been seen killing and eating chickens. While it may be easy to teach a trained dog to stop, this may not be the case for stray dogs.

The best way to prevent a dog attack is to have a sturdy fence. Since dogs don’t usually kill chickens, they won’t attack them unprovoked. 

However, you can also get a well-trained dog to guard your chickens and chase away any stray dogs that may want to invade the territory.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Many animals love to eat chickens. However, the first step to chasing away your chicken predators is to know what you’re dealing with.

Some chicken predators leave easy signs for you to identify while others don’t. Some animals are easy to get rid of, while others are not. Whatever the case may be, you must be extremely cautious when taking measures to secure your chickens.

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