Coyotes are normally found in North America from Alaska to Mexico and as far as Panama and has adapted to the environmental changes brought about urbanization and human occupation in the rural areas.
They are most active at night but in places where their natural habitat is still undisturbed by human settlements and activities, they are also active during the day especially during cool weather. There are coyotes however that have already adapted to the presence of humans and they tend to be active even during day time.
Coyotes belong to the dog family, are medium sized and weigh between 22 to 25 pounds. They have large erect ears, slender muzzle and bushy tail with the male of the breed noticeably larger than the female. They are either brownish-tan with streaks of gray or darker with less brown. They have a distinctive voice which consists of howls, high-pitched yaps, and intermittent dog-like barks.
They prey on domestic fowl like chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. Simply shooting these predators won’t stop them, you either have to trap them or better yet, make sure that the area surrounding your chicken coop is coyote-proof.
A member of the weasel family, the fisher cat is also known as the pekan cat or black cat. Fishers live in a band in the forest are only in the North American continent.
Adult males weigh from 7 to 12 pounds and may reach up to 40 inches long including their tail which can be from 12 to 15 inches long. Adult females are smaller, approximately weighs from 4 to 5.5 pounds. Male fisher cats look grizzled because of the tri-colored hairs along their neck and shoulders areas.
They have short legs, small ears, and a long well-furred tail. The color of their coat ranges from dark brown to nearly black. They have large feet with five sharp toes which they use for climbing trees and killing their prey.
They usually prey on medium sized mammals and poultry. The only way to combat a fisher cat attach is to make sure that your birds are safe in their coops at night.
Foxes are quick and highly skilled hunters, preying on mice, cottontail rabbits and poultry birds. Although primarily nocturnal, they are active and sometimes come out to hunt also during daylight hours.
The fox resembles a bushy-tailed, medium sized dog with their long tail as the most noticeable and identifying feature. They normally weight between 10 to 15 pounds and are 39 to 41 inches in length.
Foxes are the nemesis of chicken owners. They normally hunt 2 hours after sundown and 2 hours before sunup and carry off their prey a good distance away. They are notorious for raiding poultry farms especially during spring because they need to provide food for their growing litters.
Hawks are carnivores with strong, hooked beaks; their feet have three toes pointed forward and one turned back; and their claws are long, curved and very sharp with an eyesight that is several times better than humans. They can see a mouse from a height of as high as one mile.
Adult hawks have dark brown colored feathers on the back and the top of their wings and usually weigh anywhere from 2 and 4 pounds with a wingspan that can reach as wide as 56 inches.
Hawks usually kill their preys with their claws and tear them to bite-size pieces with their strong and sharp beak.
One of the most common predators of poultry farms is the raccoon. They are can live close to humans and are very adaptable and intelligent.
A grown raccoon is about 32 inches long (including the tail) and weighs between 11 to 18 pounds although some weigh as much as 30 pounds; generally male raccoons are larger than the females of the species. The most distinctive features of the raccoon are the black-ringed tail and coloration of the face which bears a resemblance to a bandit’s mask.
Raccoons attack their prey by biting the head or upper neck area. They are known to mutilate chickens by pulling heads or legs off. They are also known to prey on wild birds and water fowls.
Skunks pose little or no threat to adult chickens, but they usually prey on the chicks and eggs. There are four types of skunks you should be on the look out for – the hooded skunk, the striped skunk, the spotted skunk, and the hog-nosed skunk with the spotted skunk acknowledged as more dangerous since they know how to climb. Skunks are nocturnal in nature but they stay away from farms that have geese, dogs or cats.
Adult skunks are about 24 inches long (including a 7 to 10 inch tail) and weigh anywhere from 3 to 12 pounds, depending on age, sex, physical condition and time of year. On the average, male skunks are larger and heavier than the female.
Skunks occasionally kill poultry and eat eggs but they do not climb fences to get at their prey.