West Seattle coyotes: Heads up for backyard chicken-keepers

Check on your chickens, urban farmers. Both of today’s coyote reports mention backyard birds. Dan at 37th/Holden [map] says a coyote came into his yard today and got two of his four chickens, normally kept in a chain-link-surrounded enclosure, but let out to “free range” in the daytime, and it happened while he turned his attention away from a bit. We also heard from Janis, who says she saw a coyote at 2 pm at California/Southern [map]: “Was alerted by the chickens making noise.” Both of those locations are in Gatewood, as is a sighting on New Year’s Day that we still had in queue – Belinda saw one that day, going “down the sidewalk looking in yards in the 6500 block of 40th Ave SW.” [map]

P.S. Our usual “coexisting with coyotes” advice link includes, toward the bottom, advice on protecting poultry.

29 Replies to "West Seattle coyotes: Heads up for backyard chicken-keepers"

  • NW January 12, 2015 (6:37 pm)

    The bloody coyotes are out to feed its evidently chickentown

  • Ray January 12, 2015 (7:32 pm)

    Kill them!!! Kill them all!!! The chickens I mean. Neighbor has them. They are noisy and smell when it is wet.

    It is funny. My brother has a flock of 10 or so up in Northgate. They have no problems with coyotes there, but the raccoons try everything they can do get the chickens. You let them out for the day and come home too late… you have some dead chickens. Also, even had a hawk of some sort come down and grab one once.

    • WSB January 12, 2015 (8:05 pm)

      Ray – I was looking for other sites talking about ways to protect chickens and one showed other predators including a hawk, as well as a skunk, possum, raccoon, and of course coyotes …

  • Jamie J January 12, 2015 (7:33 pm)

    we just saw a coyote walking near our street last weekend too, right in the middle of the afternoon, it was very freaky. (30th and findley) glad my dogs are inside during the day, i fear for all the smaller dogs left out and outside cats in the area.

  • Ex farm boy January 12, 2015 (8:07 pm)

    I grew up on a farm, and am no fan of chickens, unless they are on my dinner plate. But even a cold hearted brute like myself can’t help but feel sorry for those poor chickens, and the people who (inexplicably) love them. And yes, I feel a little bad for the coyotes as well. There’s a reason I left the farm…..

  • sc January 12, 2015 (8:52 pm)

    My husband and I drove by a loose white chicken walking around Charlestown and 46th. We drove down the alley to the house I thought it had escaped from. The man at that house said his chickens were all in their coop. He walked with me to Charlestown to see if he could “catch” the chicken as he knew another house nearby that had chickens. The white chicken flew away, I guess the wings were not clipped. I don’t know the fate of the loose white chicken but the man did go to the house to tell them they had an escapee! I’m definitely a city girl but if I had chickens I would sure try to protect them from predators.

  • batgurrl January 12, 2015 (9:20 pm)

    Rats and chickens mixed with a little coyote. Urban fun. ;). R

  • NM January 12, 2015 (9:30 pm)

    Yup, saw a big one in my neighbors yard the weekend before last. It was chewing on a kill. Nailed it with a rock and yelled at it. 37th & Raymond.

  • seattlecris January 12, 2015 (10:28 pm)

    I’m sorry, I live in a city and resent the fact that coyotes are wild animals getting bolder and more plentiful. Where will it end? How much longer before there is so little food for their numbers that they start harming humans instead of just our pets? And what will the solution look like? I say start now.

  • JulNJer January 12, 2015 (11:55 pm)

    Sometimes comments make me wish this blog had a voting option so I could up-or-downvote them. This is one of those times.

    • WSB January 13, 2015 (12:06 am)

      Sorry about that … but having been socially unpopular for much of my life, I made a conscious choice that our site would be one little refuge away from the popularity contest that so much of the web (etc.) has become!

  • WSguy January 13, 2015 (5:55 am)

    There are fence designs that can prevent coyotes from entering a yard and reaching an urban farmer’s chickens. However, there isn’t much one can do to prevent coyotes and other predators from trolling his or her property (or their neighbors’ property) for a way to get to the prey. One reality of urban farming.

  • Ladi January 13, 2015 (6:05 am)

    Seeing coyotes in the city keeps my hope for the survival of the animal kingdom alive.

  • Amy Thomson January 13, 2015 (7:22 am)

    I have a flock of five chickens, and my policy is to never let the chickens out unsupervised. Even so, a coyote attacked one of my chickens. Fortunately it was an inexperienced pup, and a very fast chicken, who escaped without more than the loss of a few feathers. Chickens are the bottom of the food chain. If you leave them out unprotected, something WILL get them, eventually!

  • JulNJer January 13, 2015 (7:42 am)

    WSB, I get what you’re saying re: social media and popularity contests. My comment was snarky anyway, so probably unnecessary. (That doesn’t stop me from thinking snarky thoughts. I’m working on it!)

    WSguy, it’s called the Coyote Roller. Based on the drawings on their site, I’d like to see one of those fences in action, but unfortunately my chickens were systematically decimated by raccoons last year. NOTHING we tried could stop those vicious geniuses. Or rats the size of cats. Also super intelligent, but as long as they had a steady food source (chicken feed and eggs – caught a rat rolling an egg out of the nesting boxes), they at least didn’t behead any hens.

  • datamuse January 13, 2015 (8:13 am)

    I’m sorry, I live in a city and resent the fact that coyotes are wild animals getting bolder and more plentiful.
    Uh, it’s not like any city has a shortage of wildlife, you know. There are coyotes in Central Park. What are you going to do, put up “Keep out” signs? As a matter of fact, there were relatively few coyotes (or crows) in this area before there was a city. Humans throw away a lot of food, and where there are cities, there are vermin like mice and rats–a major part of coyotes’ diets. Cities might as well be tailor made for scavengers.

  • John January 13, 2015 (8:41 am)

    Can chickens fly?
    Do they need their wings clipped like parrots?

  • Enviromaven January 13, 2015 (10:37 am)

    I have seen coyotes several times at the High Point park/tennis courts behind the OLG church and school. They’re very skittish and always run. And, fwiw, I appreciate the fact that the WSB is a great respite from the “popularity contest” mentality that pervades the internet.

  • BJG January 13, 2015 (10:47 am)

    Coyotes go where food opportunities are and where offspring survive. Their gray wolf and cougar predators don’t live here anymore. We do, and inadvertently provide the meals. As well as dining on chickens, cats, and small dogs, they eat rodents. Yippee. Our pests are their primary prey. There was a quiet federal coyote population control effort around the Sound two years ago. I don’t know if it still exists. A family member in Shorewood spoke with an agent after three of her cats were taken. The neighborhood lost 30 cats that season. The agent informed her that coyote territories are only about one mile wide, that the Shorewood pack was separate from the Seola Beach pack. The good news was that in summer coyote diets consist mainly of fruits and other edible plants. Good luck to all you urban farmers. Unlike you, I can keep my potential prey in the house.

  • Joan LaBriola January 13, 2015 (10:54 am)

    my husband snapped a picture this week of a pair of coyotes scoping out the alleyway at Hudson just east of Delridge…hate to say it but looks like a breeding pair looking for a den. Lost a chicken this week so I’m pretty sure they are the culprits. Any chicken owners have recommendations for coop builders, I am going to have to increase my coop/run size since the girls will not be able to free range anymore. Thoughts??

  • WestSea Since '91 January 13, 2015 (12:49 pm)

    Down near Fauntleroy Park, there have been coyotes for many, many years. Some nights you can hear them — and their pups — yipping away, usually when they have caught something. I lost one cat, and caught them eyeing my smallish dog, so I adopted a rescue Catahoula Leopard Dog, and she keeps the coyotes away. In the south, the Catahoula’s are used to keep feral hogs away from property (i.e. gardens). Neighbor had a flock of chickens about ten years ago, and for some reason she thought it was all right to let them free range all day (tearing up my flower beds while digging for grub). The day I saw one of our resident eagles come flying out of her backyard was a happy day for me (not so much for the chickens), as it wasn’t long before all of the chickens were gone, thanks to her allowing them to free range. If you want to keep chickens, you have to keep them close with your eye on them.

  • G January 13, 2015 (1:43 pm)

    One casualty has been the beautiful, elusive fox. Haven’t seen one for a long, long time.

  • sc January 13, 2015 (5:34 pm)

    @ John
    I did see the “on the loose” white chicken fly! It only flew about 10 feet high and just made it across Charlestown St. I don’t think they are built to fly for long distances. It seemed that the wings were not wide enough when flapping to carry the bulk of the body. But unless they can make it to a higher spot like a roof I think a fast running coyote could catch them!

  • mrsMarty January 13, 2015 (7:35 pm)

    Sounds like this white chicken is the one in the lost pet section, Tinker from 12/26 and sounds like she’s staying pretty close to home! And chickens have “pea brains”!!! LOL!

  • It'llDoHouse Owner January 13, 2015 (10:50 pm)

    Driving down 35th today the traffic suddenly got rather funky. I noticed a bewildered creature rushing across the four lanes towards Camp Long near Findlay. Living in the area, I was able to follow it as it went down a dead end alley. A woman was tending to something in the alley and her yard totally unaware that the coyote was not more than 15-20 feet from her standing in the alley.
    As much pleasure as chickens can bring some folks (and obviously not so much for others) they are more like sitting ducks in their back yard coops when you’ve got predators like coyotes and raccoons.
    What have folks done to deter coyotes or protect their cats? My neighborhood is full of outdoor kitties.

  • sc January 14, 2015 (3:53 pm)

    I checked the lost chicken listing but the one I saw was totally white. I will keep the name and phone number handy if I see another “escapee” near 46th and Charlestown!

  • mrsMarty January 14, 2015 (5:50 pm)

    @it’llDoHouseOwner yes it makes me so sad too to see kitties in our neighborhood outside especially at night :>( I’ve told their owners there’s coyotes but they say “well I don’t want a litter box” all I have to say about that is then you shouldn’t have a cat….

    @sc a lot of escapee chickens in that neighborhood isn’t there! :>)

  • Skyfall January 14, 2015 (9:02 pm)

    Does Hallmark sell “coyote invitation” cards? I’d like to invite them over to feast on my neighbor’s chickens, which have been a nuisance for several years now, attracting a multitude of rats, scratching dirt up onto all my walkways, pooping on my patios, etc., etc. Please keep your dogs and kitties indoors, though–you don’t want your furry kids to meet an end like that.

  • cookieb January 15, 2015 (9:34 am)

    Coyote were here first and they are not going to start attack humans unless they feel threatened… Keep your animals inside at night and if you have chickens you should probably get a 6ft+ fence to keep them out. I live right next to schmitz park we have cats and dogs and have never had a problem!

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