Bobcat loves killing our chickens

Asked April 9, 2020, 9:03 AM EDT

We have a regular visitor to our chicken yard who can leap 7 ft fence in a single bound, who is not afraid to attack chickens when human is in the yard, who is hunting in broad daylight. We are hoping to find a way to deter the bobcat and re establish the chickens daily outdoor routine. For now they must stay inside.

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

The chickens, a valuable and pretty easy food source with little risk to the bobcat, have habituated and food-rewarded the cat such that it has lost its natural fear of human presence. Creating a roof of sorts on the main pen is a first step. If you haven't seen the animal clearing the 7' leap, I would do further investigation as to how it is supplementing it's own gifts to get in - Might it be climbing part of the fence or the roost? In addition to sturdy, well-anchored metal (hardware cloth) roofing, I'd look for opportunities to deploy an electric wire to stop use of any easier pathways it is using to get in. Electrified chicken fencing (about 3-4 ft wide rolls) can be ordered online and might be a good addition to the current housing & pen if the animal is using any/all angles to climb/brace on its way in. To allow daily foraging, creating a moveable, roofed foraging pen - i.e., a chicken tractor, is going to be the most successful strategy. Finally, I doubt at this point (highly habituated animal that has been rewarded with meals) it will help much, but if there's a way to rig a motion-detection-triggered light on the pen, it would create one novel and new disturbance to try and disrupt any late night/early morning approaches to the main pen -- and would help alert you so you could add some "scary human noise and approach" to the bobcat's calculations of whether this is a "safe" place to hunt.