How to Keep Wild Birds Out of the Chicken Coop

With Avian Flu a high risk again this year it’s important to know how to keep wild birds out of the chicken coop.

Why do wild birds go in chicken coops?

You will find wild birds in your chicken coop for the same reasons your chickens like to be in there. There is good shelter from the elements and there is plenty of food ready for the taking.

Why is it bad to have wild birds in your chicken coop?

They Eat Your Feed

If you’ve ever hung a bird feeder you are probably well aware of the fact that wild birds can eat A LOT. When we hang out long cylindrical bird feeders, the chickadees and nuthatches have them cleared out in about three days. Wild bird food isn’t cheap. The usual bag we buy is $20. If we fill the feeders every time they are empty it would be about $30 a month to keep those critters fed.

Now just imagine if that’s the damage they can do on a bird feeder, how much of your chicken feed are the scarfing down?

Poop EVERYWHERE

Chickens poop enough as it is, never mind there being extra piles from wild neighbors. I hate that even though we keep our chicken feed in nice steel garbage cans inside and away from the chickens, they still wind up with bird poop on them.

Diseases

As I mentioned earlier, this year avian influenza is making its way across the United States. Wild birds can bring this sort of illness to your chicken flock.

Not only can they bring illness like that, they can also bring in lice. Lice is a real pain to get rid of. While lice that birds get is not the same as lice that humans get, it still spreads the same way. A perfectly lice-free chicken doesn’t suddenly have lice, it has to be brought in from somewhere.

Just Annoying

I absolutely hate walking into my coop to have an entire squadron of sparrows swoop down on my head like a Hitchcock movie.

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How to Keep Wild Birds Out of your Chicken Coop

Our very rough and tumble chicken coop mid window replacement last summer.

As with most things an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Tighten Up Gaps

Unfortunately our coop as some open rafter areas that go up to a loft area where birds can swoop in, then make their way into the coop. We are currently working on that problem.

If you have any large gaps in your coop, especially under eaves, seal it up to prevent them coming in.

Keep Large Doors Closed

Assuming your coop has a person-sized door, keep it closed when you aren’t using it. A bird is more likely to swoop in a large opening than a small chicken door.

Limit Feed

This is also a remedy for helping to have less mice. If you feed your chickens just what they need, rather than leaving extra feed lying around, the birds will have less incentive to stick around.

Hang CDs

I’ve read this one many times and decided to try it in our own coop. The idea is the light reflecting off the CDs will startle the birds and keep them away. Verdict?

Meh.

While I think it did reduce the number of wild birds in our chicken coop, it certainly didn’t deter all of them.

Still, it costs pretty much nothing, just some old CD’s and twine. It’s worth giving a try. Maybe your barn swallows are more skittish than mine.

Bird Ribbon Tape and Other Shiny Things

This is the same idea as the CDs. You hang it in the coop and the shiny moving reflection is supposed to keep them out. The ribbon tape has pretty decent reviews. Haven’t tried it myself so I can’t say if it works or not but I think it might be worth the $10 to try it.

Trap

There are different kinds of live capture traps where you can catch them and haul them away. This is probably the last option you should try and you’ll have to check with your state rules. Birds would need to be trapped and released several miles away, which is illegal in some states.

Watch and Learn

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