Predator ID: Who Killed Your Chicken? – Justin Rhodes









Great Big Ideas & Takeaways:

  • How to keep your chickens safe from predatorsโ€”so you can sleep at night!
  • The 2 chicken predators you need to worry about THE MOST!
  • A comprehensive list of ALL your possible chicken predators.
  • Learn how to raise a guardian goose for incredible “game changing” results.
  • Discover 12 ideas to keep your flock safe 100% of the time.
  • What to do with a predator once youโ€™ve trapped it.
  • WARNING: this presentation is NOT for the squeamish! ๐Ÿ˜‰

About The Speaker:

Justin Rhodes is a daily YouTuber and founder of Abundant Permaculture, where he teaches and inspires folks to grow more of their own food in a natural, yet productive way.

Justin trained under the highly accredited Geoff Lawton of PRI Australia for his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) and has studied natural chicken care under popular author, Pat Foremen.

Heโ€™s now a seasoned homesteader in his own right, having enjoyed many years of practicing โ€œbeyond organicโ€ and permaculture methods on his 75-acre family farm near Asheville, NC.


QUESTION: Have you ever lost chickens to predators? Who do you think were the culprits?


  1. Kristian Krarup

    And the goose will also build a wall for you, to protect the chicks. Donald the goose will make the coop great again! And keep out predators like Clintons.

  2. V

    The Bonuses link is for material from the first talk.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft

      V – thank you for pointing this out.

      We are swapping now to the correct link. Sorry bout that!

      1. mary

        just a quick fyi…the links are not live yet as of 3:30pm EST

    2. Jodi

      I was going to make the same comment about the link being for the earlier video. Would really like to have the show notes for this video. Very informative, as well as entertaining!

    3. Justin Rhodes

      I just fixed it. Totally sorry about that.

  3. Carolyn Hart

    You are the best Justin, love all your videos that you and your family make!
    I am also a fan of Donald!

  4. Diana

    I have learned a lot from Justin’s videos. His humor makes them a joy to watch. Thank you you for sharing them.

  5. Onecia

    Another great presentation. Thanks so much.

  6. Laura Emerson

    The killers of our chickens and ducks have been:
    chickens: weasel (three at once, one badly hurt), bear
    ducks: mink, owl, and an unidentified canid (coyote, fox, or wolf)

  7. Jennie

    Justin and his family are my favorite homesteading vloggers. Thanks again, Justin. Your teachings, resources and advice on raising the dinos are priceless.

  8. Barbara Siepierski

    good topic. however the bonus link is not for this topic.

    1. Jody

      I have the same issue. The link i

      1. Marjory Wildcraft

        Barbara and Jody – we are ON it! (swapping now)

        Sorry about that!

        1. Donna

          Hello, they are still not available as of 4:35 CT. Thanks.

    2. Justin Rhodes

      Fixed it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks.

  9. Bob Hicks


    Thanks for the video! Informative and fun as always!!

  10. Mimi

    I have a 4ft. chainlink fence around my place. Something still got in and grabbed one of my hens. this animal is strong enough to carry the hen over the fence but dropped it outside the fence (feather evidence). Another thing is how do I keep neighborhood dogs away? I caught one killing a hen the other day but was barefoot running on rocks. He was outside the fence, I was inside. I am down to 2 hens from 5. I am so frustrated I could scream.

    1. Amanda

      It could have been a number of predators, many can easily climb and chain link fence, a fox can climb almost as well as a cat. For the dogs an electric fence would do the trick. Sorry you lost some chickens ๐Ÿ™

    2. JOAN

      I had a coyote grab one of mine at 1:30 in the afternoon. I found her laying dead exactly where I saw him before I hollered to scare him away.

  11. Terry Babb

    Love this fella! Love his videos and his family! Great!

  12. Jeanne

    Does it matter if the goose is male or female for effective guarding?

    1. V

      Having had geese, I’ll go ahead and answer in case no one else does…

      Yes, males would be best-suited for this job. They are always on alert and are very protective. The females might protect their young, but if you watch the males and females (even when young) their behavior is completely different.

    2. Justin Rhodes

      It doesn’t matter, actually. We were hoping for a female for the eggs. It’s more important to just have 1 goose.

  13. Peggy

    Great Video as always from Justin. I’m worried about the goose being aggressive with people. I enjoy walking around the barnyard with my chickens and don’t want to be afraid of a goose. And kids often come visit. Will a goose charge and run at people?

    1. Justin Rhodes

      Only if the children really taunt the chickens. And, if you just have one goose, it’s not as bad. They’re really have to get out there and chase the chickens like crazy. Just have them be aware and respectful and it should be fine.

      1. Jean

        I will have to disagree on this. Each goose is different. I have had ones who were sweet and respectful and others who ended up being very good on the table because they attacked everyone and everything. The sex of the bird did not seem to be a contributing factor. And because of the height of geese, a belligerent one is very unsafe around children.


    You made no mention of the two most difficult predators I’ve had to deal with: skunks, and a bobcat! Skunks will get into a chicken pen and kill chicks, ‘teenagers’ and hens. We had a whole ‘herd’ of them in our neighborhood–a neighbor caught and killed 11 during one summer. And the bobcat kill was a mystery for a long time. I talked with other local chicken raisers, extension office official, a Dept. of Natural Resources person. No one could figure out which predator would kill all 6 of my hens (while I was gone to church!), carry one off, and bury each of the others in different locations all over my property. The mystery was solved by an older man who’s lived here all his life who immediately said, “Bobcat” when I told him these facts. I immediately raised all my fences to 7′, and further secured all my critters! (I also have lost chicks to an owl, and a neighborhood cat.)
    Just a final note on your presentation: for the most part good and helpful! However, remember, not all of us live in a rural area as it appears you do. I live in town where there are ordinances: we are not allowed to have roosters, nor geese! and only 6 hens (I guess no one ever thought about how loud they can cackle!) People very near where I live have also had their fences, chicken houses, and chickens decimated by bears.
    Also, I live in a high desert, where ‘pasture land’ is not present for the most part. Just a couple things maybe to remember in future presentations. Thanks for listening and giving us an opportunity for feedback.

  15. Inge Leonora-den Ouden

    I enjoy watching the Rhodes family’s vlogs daily.
    I do not yet have chickens, but it’s my plan (the coop is already here) to have three small chickens in my suburban yard. I think most of the predators mentioned are not living in my area. But there might be: owls, hawks, crows, rats and weasels. So I’ll lock the chickens up in the coop at night, making sure that the coop has not even a small opening. And the ‘run’ for the day I will keep covered.

    1. Inge Leonora-den Ouden

      Oops, I forgot the cats. All my neighbours have cats, and I see them in my yard far too often.
      I have a dog (Jack Russell mix), maybe I’ll have to train her to be nice to chickens. She is not nice to the cats, but those cats do not mind …

      1. Jimerson (Post author)

        My corgi herds my chickens off the patio. Dogs love to have jobs!

  16. Heather

    You are one delightful human being! Thank you so much for participating in the summit! Your presentations were not only very informative, but such a pleasure to watch!

  17. Marjory Wildcraft

    Heather, Peggy, Terry, Jennie, Onecia, Diana and Carolyn –

    I agree! We love Justin’s work….tellin’ it like it IS! and with great humor for fun watching ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Brian

    I have a question. I have been thinking of putting roosts in the pasture about 6 ft above the ground and place a cover on top and 3 sides. Would the chickens fly up to the roost in times of danger. Would that be effective for day time?

    1. mary

      I can only speak for my flock. We have 32 hens-3 roosters/3 drakes-12 female ducks. Just like humans, each one will react differently to danger. My ducks are super smart, keep together as a team and the drakes are ALWAYS on code red. Chickens…not so much. I only have one roo that would fight till the death for the gals. The other will/has ran for his own life but sound the warning call in the process. My 3rd aka sissy boy would probably be hiding before anyone else would notice and not sound the alarm as not to bring attention to himself. There is a strong chance that most legged predator could climb/jump that high which the hens won’t stay up there long and/or don’t realize they are high enough away from said predator. Some of my gals could fly up that high, some would run and hide away from the crowd. Then my ding-a-ling ones would get themselves so worked up, they would all be jumping on each other in one of the corners thus trampling and suffocating each other. If it’s a 4-legged predator, I predict that you’ll have some lose at each event. We have rogue hawks a round here. We can be 25 feet from either a hen or duck as they are free ranging and a hawk will swoop down and try to take one. They’ll try until you are actually within arms reach of them. They’ll fly/hoover to the nearest branch/building and I swear they fip you the talon aka “the bird” like “yeah…you just screwed up my lunch/dinner”. Chickens and ducks are not fast enough for an owl or eagle nor are humans quick enough to chase them off. We had hawks and eagles perch on our largest trees waiting for the girls to come out of the run that has poultry netting protecting the run above it. Just a lil’ of my experience here in Northern Neck of Virginia….p.s…the fake plastic props don’t work out here even if when you move them every day. The hawks actually use them as perches and look down on us like “silly humans, we are so much smarter than that!” LOL Every property is different and in any case…Good Luck

    2. Julia

      Hey Brian, I don’t know if this will help, but we had chickens when I was younger. No coop. All of the chickens would sleep in the trees. The lowest branch was about 5 feet off the ground. So, I’m thinking, 6 feet would probably be good. Good luck!

    3. Justin Rhodes

      You’ll need to have a 4th side, but it could totally be chicken wire. And, you’ll need to make ladders for them to access the 6′ perches.

  19. Sunshine

    Having grown up on a farm and having a farm of our own, I love his wit and information. It was pleasant to hear his presentation without him selling all of his books and paraphernalia. We love practical and right to the point information. I especially love seeing his family being so much a part of his life.

  20. Kerry

    We have pastured chickens in southern Oregon–we’ve lost one to a hawk, four to bobcats, and one duck to a raccoon. Wondering about how safe the goose is for free-range flocks–as someone asked above, is he a danger to kids?

    Also, the link for the bonuses doesn’t seem to be working–I know you said you were fixing it, but it’s not live.


    1. Justin Rhodes

      My goose has only shown aggression when the kids chased the ducks around for a long time and they weren’t thinking about the Goose. So, if you have the kids be aware and respectful (and you just have one goose) it should be fine.

      I fixed the link ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Deb Casey

    The link for the bonuses is still not working. It says to download HERE….but there is no link.

    1. Justin Rhodes

      I fixed that. Thanks for your patience. Please try again.

      1. Deb Casey

        Thank you Justin! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Wendy Raver

    If the link is not working by end of day, will you make it available during the encore sessions?

    1. Justin Rhodes

      Fixed it. Thanks!

  23. Toadily

    After dark, actually heard a chicken SCREAM! And saw the white chicken being dragged. Ran out and it was already gone. Put a trap inside the door of the coop & caught 3 possums. Now the guard dog puppy has stepped-up to his responsibility, & no problems.

    1. Justin Rhodes

      Sorry to hear about that. Sounds like you’ve got it under control now. Great job!

  24. Kimberlie

    Bonuses link still not working…good presentation, though!

    1. Justin Rhodes

      fixed it! Thanks.

  25. Kelly Niemaszyk

    Thanks for another great, informative video, Justin! You keep everything so lighthearted and fun. It’s always such a pleasure to watch you and your family navigate farm adventures.

    I would like to get a guard goose because we have tons of hawks in our neck of the woods here in MA too. Does it matter if it’s male or female? Thanks again!!

    P.S. I would (and do) recommend to anyone who gardens and has or is interested in chickens watch his vlog on YouTube, sign up for his regular emails and buy his film Permaculture Chickens. He is always so entertaining and gives such awesome practical advice.

    1. Justin Rhodes

      Thanks for the kind words. Either male or female will work.

  26. Joyce

    bonus links not working 5:13 PM

    1. Justin Rhodes

      Just fixed it. Thanks.

  27. Tammy Ritchie

    Please fix the bonus links because they’re still not working at 4:30 pm Central Time.

    1. Justin Rhodes

      just fixed it. sorry about that.

  28. Susan

    When I got my chicks last spring I put them out in a small fenced in area near my back door while I made lunch, I heard the chicks acting up looked out the door and a huge hawk was spread eagle just outside the fence. I chased it off but sadly it had already grabbed one chick and it was dead.
    When the chicks got old enough to lay one was laying just fine then one it just stopped and has never laid since but my other 2 hens the same age are still laying. I don’t know why she’s not laying anymore, its been months now!

  29. Corbyn Wallace

    hey Justin, Does the guard goose work for turkeys or ducks?

    1. Sandy

      We live in a remote rural area. We have been told by more than one neighbor that everyone they know has tried keeping chickens, but lost them to a long, long list of predators big and small. Only one has been successful with their flock, and they are very vigilant, have a chicken run and wooden coop fenced with 2″x4″ welded wire fence 6 feet high that is electrified. They put the chickens in the coop at dusk every night and run them in the adjacent, similarly fenced garden all winter. They haven’t lost any of the flock to predators, although a bobcat did engage with the fence and hasn’t been back. They have farmers with smell herds of cattle scattered a mile or two away. But I think one helpful factor is that it is a long hike in for a quick snack for most critter eaters. I grew up in the city and have been interested in learning about what kinds of critters were cruising through our property beyond the obvious signs and sounds of bears, wolves, coyotes and eagles. There are websites that will provide pictures of claw, paw and tail marks as well as scat and remains, in addition to neighbors who alert us if anything big is sauntering down the road. Really appreciate this presentation, Justin, because you have us excited about your integrated approach to Abundant Permaculture, and are learning a lot from watching how you meet the steady stream of challenges a farmer wakes up to everyday…as well as the joys!

      By the way, I had no trouble with Justin’s download or playing videos at any time during this Summit except when there have been DDOS issues nationally. I often hit hitches with downloads and some players. We use Linux for our operating system and Firefox for browser.

  30. Jean-Guy

    Very Good Advise ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Suzanne McGill

    Great presentation. Clear, concise, tons of info and very entertaining. Thank you!

  32. Tammy Ritchie

    Thanks Justin! This was a great presentation chock full of information and hilarious! Thanks for inviting me to this summit! I’m following you through YouTube so I recommend everyone who hasn’t subbed his channel yet should if they want more information like this. Thank you Marjory for holding this summit. Let’s do it again sometime because it was a highly enjoyable experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. David The Good

    I am still laughing – such a great video.

  34. Victoria West

    Tip # 13: To avoid ROUS’s don’t build your coop in or around the Fire Swamp! ;P

    Great presentation! I hadn’t heard about the guard goose before. Thanks for making a usually depressing topic fun.

  35. Julia

    Hey Justin,
    I NEED to know–will Donald still be around after Tuesday?!?! Teehee!!
    Another great, informative presentation! Again, another one that I wasn’t going to watch all the way through, but you are awesome! I love to learn in a relaxed, funny, airy chicken coop. No, not a chicken coop! What’s the word? Area? Arena? Ambience? No, I know it’s an “A” word, but I’m not sure which one. ๐Ÿ™
    I’m also enjoying the emails that you send to me. And I’ve been watching some of your YouTube videos. All good stuff! Keep up the great work!

  36. Joan

    Great presentation. I enjoy all of yours Justin. You keep them enjoyable and interesting. I find my self laughing and clinging to the screen and not spacing off like I do with so many others. Thank you! I have 2 Emden geese that are pretty helpful but they are wrapped up in themselves a lot. They are definitely the barnyard bullies. They will literally knock a rooster right off a hen and chase the drakes down that are trying to mate a duck that does not want their affections. They will also whip the Beagles and bully the goats.

  37. Rita

    Sometimes the predator in question is one of the flock. Sad but true.

    1. Fayette

      Good piece of information to have, thanks.

  38. Caroline

    Good information, but I just want to counter with my experience. Have had chickens for at least 15 years (layers), all are free-ranging during the day (rural area) and securely locked up at night. Over the years have had many losses, mostly to fox and hawk. All fox losses (plus a very clever coyote this year who we have yet to control) have occurred during the day. Usually find scattered or piled feathers with fox, but the coyote is stronger and seems to get them carried off leaving little sign of struggle. Hawks usually are a problem in late winter or very early spring. They kill and gut, and will eat in place if not disturbed, or fly away and leave the carcass if interrupted (sometimes come back the next day looking for it again.) If I am home, I send my dog out to chase predator away, but sometimes no one is here during the day–that is when we lose them mostly, but definitely daytime for wild canines.

  39. Fayette

    I love his presentations…everybody and their brother eats a chicken! Great opening. But he really shines when presenting the real truth of the situation – serious business can be more easily dealt with, and the death of a chicken is serious, when a little levity is added. Thank you Justin!

  40. Courtney

    Justin! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise! I binged watched all of your vlogs a month or so ago, and put in to practice some of the information you shared about if your chicks aren’t laying. And guess what??!! They started laying last Monday. I did a happy dance right there at the coop! The chickens now think I am crazy, but that’s okay, cause I’ve got eggs! Thank you to you and Rebekah for sharing your family with us. Y’all are precious.

  41. Jean

    Justin, it looks like that rooster got caught in the electric fence which was not tight and pulled up straight like it should be.
    I had a Texas Rat snake eat 9 and kill three 1 1/2 lb birds in one night. Its head was longer than my foot. A bright light kept it away until the chickens got too large to eat.

  42. Susie Q

    I enjoyed this presentation. I would now like to get a goose for flock protection. You mentioned it does not matter if male or female. I have rooster. Does your male goose get along with the rooster? No fighting?

  43. Danielle

    Follow your daily vlog always great stuff! Just ordered my first poultry netting that will be here this week and can’t wait to put it to use!

  44. Hans Quistorff

    You forgot to show the netting you put over the chicks pen to keep the aerial predators out. Bird netting like they use for fruit protection works good for a static pen.

  45. Mary

    Excellent presentation. Very clear, & entertaining too. The predator info applies to all fowl. I first bought all my 1-day-old geese at once, bc that’s how they were sold. Lost one to a neighbor’s dog. Now I know to keep an adult guard goose in with them.

  46. Jim Williams

    All of the presenters have good information, but after seeing Justin’s videos, it’s kinda hard to go back to the Power Points. Justin, you’ve set the bar a little higher for the others.

Comments are closed.

Click Hereย To Watch On Demand