Protecting Your Flock: Tips on Keeping Bobcats Away from Your Chickens

Protecting Your Flock: Tips on Keeping Bobcats Away from Your Chickens

Bobcats are a common predator that pose a threat to backyard chickens. These elusive creatures can easily infiltrate a chicken coop or run and decimate an entire flock in a matter of minutes. It is crucial for chicken owners to take precautions to protect their feathered friends from these predators. By implementing various strategies and techniques, you can create a safe and secure environment for your chickens, ensuring their safety and well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Bobcats pose a threat to chickens and other small animals.
  • Signs of bobcat activity include tracks, scat, and missing animals.
  • A secure chicken coop should have sturdy walls, a strong door, and secure windows.
  • Reinforce your chicken run with hardware cloth and bury it at least 12 inches deep.
  • Motion-activated lights and sounds can deter bobcats, as can a predator-proof fence.

Understanding the Threat: Bobcats and Your Chickens

Bobcats are skilled hunters and pose a significant threat to chickens. They are opportunistic predators that will take advantage of any easy meal, including chickens. Bobcats have sharp claws and teeth, allowing them to quickly dispatch their prey. They are also agile climbers, capable of scaling fences and trees to access chicken coops or runs.

Bobcats are primarily nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active during the night. They have excellent night vision, allowing them to hunt effectively in low-light conditions. Bobcats are solitary creatures and typically have large home ranges, which they mark with scent markings to deter other bobcats from entering their territory.

Identifying Bobcat Activity in Your Area

To protect your chickens from bobcat attacks, it is essential to be able to identify bobcat activity in your neighborhood. Look for signs such as tracks, scat, or scratch marks on trees or fence posts. Bobcat tracks are similar in appearance to those of a domestic cat but larger and more rounded. Their scat is typically cylindrical in shape and may contain fur or bones from their prey.

Inspect your property for signs of bobcat activity. Look for areas where the ground has been disturbed or where there are signs of digging or scratching. Bobcats may also leave scent markings on trees or fence posts, so keep an eye out for any unusual odors.

Creating a Secure Chicken Coop

Aspect Metric
Physical Security Number of locks on doors and windows
Wire Mesh Size of wire mesh used to cover windows and vents
Lighting Number of lights installed inside and outside the coop
Roosting Area Size of roosting area per chicken
Nesting Boxes Number of nesting boxes per chicken
Feed Storage Capacity of feed storage container
Water Supply Capacity of water container and frequency of refilling
Cleaning Frequency of cleaning and disinfecting the coop

Having a secure chicken coop is crucial for protecting your flock from bobcats. Bobcats are skilled climbers and can easily scale fences or walls to access a coop. Ensure that your coop is constructed with sturdy materials and has a solid roof to prevent bobcats from entering.

Consider reinforcing the doors and windows of your coop with heavy-duty hardware cloth or wire mesh. This will prevent bobcats from squeezing through small openings. Install locks or latches on all doors to ensure they cannot be easily opened by predators.

Reinforcing Your Chicken Run

In addition to securing your coop, it is important to reinforce your chicken run to prevent bobcat attacks. Bobcats can easily jump over or dig under fences, so it is crucial to make sure your run is predator-proof.

Use hardware cloth or wire mesh with small openings to cover the sides and top of your run. Bury the wire mesh at least 12 inches deep into the ground to prevent bobcats from digging under the fence. Consider adding an electric fence or an overhang to further deter bobcats from attempting to enter the run.

Using Motion-Activated Lights and Sounds

Motion-activated lights and sounds can be effective in deterring bobcats from approaching your chicken coop or run. Bobcats are wary of sudden movements and loud noises, so installing motion-activated lights and sound devices can startle them and discourage them from coming closer.

Choose lights that emit a bright, white light, as this is more likely to startle bobcats. Additionally, consider using sound devices that emit loud, high-pitched noises, such as sirens or ultrasonic devices. Place these devices strategically around your property to create a deterrent effect.

Installing a Predator-Proof Fence

Installing a predator-proof fence is another effective way to keep bobcats out of your property. A sturdy fence can act as a physical barrier, preventing bobcats from accessing your chickens.

Choose a fence that is at least 6 feet tall and made of materials that bobcats cannot easily climb or jump over. Consider using chain-link fencing or solid wood panels. Ensure that the fence is buried at least 12 inches deep into the ground to prevent bobcats from digging under it.

Keeping Your Property Clean and Free of Attractants

Keeping your property clean and free of attractants is essential for deterring bobcats. Bobcats are attracted to areas where there is a readily available food source, such as garbage or pet food left outside.

Make sure to secure your garbage cans with tight-fitting lids and store them in a secure location. Avoid leaving pet food outside, especially overnight. Keep your property free of fallen fruit or bird feeders, as these can also attract bobcats.

Using Guard Animals to Protect Your Flock

Using guard animals can be an effective way to protect your flock from bobcat attacks. Dogs, in particular, can serve as excellent deterrents, as they are natural predators to bobcats.

Consider getting a livestock guardian dog or a breed known for its protective instincts, such as a Great Pyrenees or Anatolian Shepherd. These dogs are bred to protect livestock and can be trained to deter bobcats from approaching your chickens.

Educating Your Neighbors and Community

It is important to educate your neighbors and community about the threat that bobcats pose to backyard chickens. By raising awareness, you can encourage others to take precautions to protect their flocks as well.

Organize community meetings or workshops to share information about bobcats and their behavior. Provide resources and tips on how to secure chicken coops and runs. Encourage neighbors to report any sightings or signs of bobcat activity in the area.

Seeking Professional Help in Extreme Cases

In extreme cases where bobcat activity is persistent or poses a significant threat to your flock, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Contact your local wildlife agency or animal control for assistance.

These professionals can assess the situation and provide guidance on how to deal with the bobcat problem. They may recommend trapping and relocating the bobcat or implementing additional measures to deter them from your property.

Protecting your backyard chickens from bobcats requires a combination of strategies and techniques. By understanding the threat that bobcats pose, identifying their activity in your area, and implementing measures such as securing your coop and run, using motion-activated lights and sounds, installing a predator-proof fence, keeping your property clean, using guard animals, educating your community, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can create a safe and secure environment for your flock. Take action today to protect your chickens from bobcats and ensure their safety and well-being.

If you’re looking for ways to protect your chickens from bobcats, you might find this article on turning a shed into a chicken coop helpful. It provides valuable insights on how to create a secure and predator-proof environment for your feathered friends. Check it out here.


What are bobcats?

Bobcats are medium-sized wild cats that are native to North America. They are known for their distinctive spotted fur and short, bobbed tails.

Why do bobcats attack chickens?

Bobcats are opportunistic predators and will attack chickens if they are hungry and the opportunity presents itself. Chickens are easy prey for bobcats because they are relatively small and slow-moving.

How can I tell if a bobcat is in my area?

Bobcats are generally shy and elusive animals, so it can be difficult to tell if they are in your area. However, some signs that a bobcat may be present include tracks, scat, and scratches on trees.

What are some ways to keep bobcats away from chickens?

There are several ways to keep bobcats away from chickens, including using fencing, motion-activated lights or sprinklers, and guard animals such as dogs or llamas. It is also important to keep chickens in a secure coop at night.

Is it legal to kill bobcats?

The legality of killing bobcats varies by state and country. In some areas, bobcats are protected and it is illegal to kill them without a permit. It is important to check local laws and regulations before taking any action to control bobcat populations.

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