Good Chicken Gardens, LLC

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Keeping Chickens Safe in the Suburbs: The Importance of Secure Runs and Automatic Coop Doors


Living in the suburbs might give a false sense of security when it comes to protecting backyard chickens. However, our experience has shown that predators are just as prevalent here as they are in more rural settings. From raccoons and foxes to hawks and possums, the threats to our flock are numerous. To ensure the safety of our chickens, we keep them in secure runs and lock them up at night with an automatic coop door. In this post, we’ll discuss the various predators we face, the measures we’ve taken to protect our chickens, and why these precautions are essential, even with a 6ft tall fence around our property.

The Predators We Face

  1. Raccoons: These clever and dexterous animals are notorious for their ability to open simple latches and squeeze through small openings. Raccoons are a significant threat, especially at night when they are most active. We learned this lesson the hard way and want to warn others.
  2. Foxes: Foxes are stealthy and agile predators that can easily jump fences and dig under barriers. They pose a constant threat, especially during early morning and evening hours.
  3. Hawks: During the day, hawks are a major concern as they can swoop down and snatch chickens from the open. Their keen eyesight and powerful talons make them formidable predators.
  4. Possums: While possums are less likely to hunt actively, they can still pose a threat, especially to young or injured birds. They are scavengers that can be attracted to the chicken feed and coop area.

Our Security Measures

  1. Secure Runs: Our chickens are housed in secure runs made of sturdy materials with roofs to prevent hawk attacks. The sides of the runs are reinforced to prevent digging predators like foxes from getting in. The runs provide a safe, enclosed space for the chickens to roam during the day.
  2. Automatic Coop Door: At night, our chickens are locked up in a secure coop with an automatic door. The door is programmed to close at dusk and open at dawn, ensuring that the chickens are safely inside before nocturnal predators become active. This automation provides peace of mind, knowing that our flock is protected even if we’re not home.
  3. 6ft Tall Fence: While we have a 6ft tall fence around our property, it alone is not enough to keep our chickens safe. Predators like raccoons and foxes can easily climb or jump over it, and hawks can fly right in. The fence does help as an initial barrier but is supplemented by our more robust security measures.

Why These Measures Are Essential

  1. Preventing Loss: Without these precautions, we risk losing our chickens to predators. Each loss is not only a blow to our flock but also a heartbreaking experience.
  2. Peace of Mind: Knowing that our chickens are secure allows us to focus on other aspects of our garden and farm without constant worry.
  3. Healthy Flock: A secure environment reduces stress for our chickens, leading to healthier and more productive birds. Stressed chickens are more susceptible to illness and reduced egg production.
  4. Deterring Predators: By making it difficult for predators to access our chickens, we discourage them from returning. Predators are opportunistic, and if they find easy meals elsewhere, they are less likely to persistently target our flock.


Keeping chickens in the suburbs comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to predator protection. By investing in secure runs, an automatic coop door, and maintaining a vigilant approach to security, we’ve been able to keep our flock safe from the numerous threats that surround us. Whether you’re new to keeping chickens or an experienced backyard farmer, taking these precautions is crucial to ensuring the safety and well-being of your chickens.

Stay safe and happy chicken keeping!