This is the door to the HenCam run.
The hen’s yard is surrounded by secure fencing, which extends 6 inches below ground to deter digging predators. There’s hawk netting above. Still, I close the girls up in their coop at night. Candy gets locked in her hutch. It pays to be cautious.
On Sunday, I notice these scratch marks on the posts, both inside and out. Obviously, a climbing predator made a nighttime visit. A large one. With very sharp claws.
I believe it was a Fisher Cat. They are gorgeous. They are also vicious predators that kill more than they need and stash the rest. I got this photo off of google images:
This is a small one. I’ve seen larger. Fishers used to be animals of the deep woods. It was said that they only lived in pristine wilderness. Now, they’ve moved into suburbia. They especially like to eat cats.
When first-time chicken keepers ask me for advice, on the top of my list is to have a secure coop and to close your chickens up at night. Even if Fishers aren’t in your neighborhood – yet – you’ll have raccoons and opossums, which can cause deadly havoc, too.
Losses to predators are inevitable, but you can keep the damage to a minimum by having good fencing and secure housing.