Do Bears Eat Chickens? How to Protect Your Flock

As chicken keepers, we want nothing but the best for our feathered friends. If possible, we try to protect them from most things like sickness and predators. Chickens have many different predators depending on the area you might live in. If you have bears in your area, you might be wondering if bears eat chickens. Bears are known to break into people’s yards and steal food or rummage through garbage cans. But, will they kill and eat your livestock?

Do Bears Eat Chickens

Yes, bears can and will eat your chickens if they are drawn to your yard. You can do little to keep them out of your coop, but you can take preventative measures to keep them from being attracted to your yard.

What Do Bears Eat

According to The National Wildlife Federation, black bears are omnivores, which means they can eat both plants and meat. This includes roots, berries, meat, fish, insects, larvae, grass, and other plants.

Bears can kill deer, elk, moose, and other hooved animals if they are young, old, or sickly. Bears are also able to kill any livestock like sheep and chickens.

Do Chickens Attract Bears?

Bears won’t come to your yard because they know you have chickens. However, they will come to your yard because they are searching for food, and once they find your chickens, they will keep coming back because they know there is an available food source. 

These animals live in more secluded places. However, black bears have learned to adapt to urban life due to the abundant food sources available. Especially since humans are tearing down many trees and building residential areas, these animals have nowhere to go but people’s yards.  

How To Keep Bears Away From Your Chickens

how to keep bears from my chickens
Bears are attracted to yards when they are in search of food, water, and shelter.

Bears and other animals will only come to your yard in search of food, water, and shelter. 

Murano Chicken Farm warns that if a bear is attracted to your yard, there is very little you can do to keep them out of your coop. Bears have incredible strength and can break through fencing and metal cars. 

This means they will be able to tear your chicken coop to pieces to get your chickens from inside. Since there is no way to secure your coop from bears, you need to deter them from even knowing what’s inside.

Here are some simple steps you can use to deter them from coming to your yard. 

Keep Your Yard Clean

You can start by removing or locking away everything in your yard that might attract bears. Don’t leave any garbage out, and safely secure your garbage cans, so bears aren’t able to rummage around in them. They make bear-proof locks, or you can even try locking your garbage cans away in a garage or shed at night.

Make sure to pick up any fallen fruit from your yard, and if you have a garden, place it the farthest away from your chicken coop as possible. If the bears are attracted to eat foods from your garden, they might also be tempted to check out your coop.

Keep the Chicken Coop Free of Food

Never feed your chickens inside their coop. Bears will be able to smell feed inside the enclosure and will be more tempted to check out what’s inside. 

Make sure you feed them in the run and put their feeders away at night. Whenever feeding your chickens kitchen scraps, remove any uneaten portions. 

If any food is left out, the bears will find it and remember where they found food. They will come back again if they know they can get easy food from your yard.

Lock Up Your Barbecue Grill

Bears love to eat meat! After using your grill, move your grill away from the chicken coop and house and lock it up in the garage. If you don’t have a garage or storage building, ensure you wipe it clean with ammonia or beach regularly to remove the meat’s smell. 

Throw away any used charcoal pieces in an airtight container. All trash cans should be kept locked safely away. Avoid putting trash cans out the night before pick-up days. 

Store Food Properly

Store any animal feed you have in a garage with items such as oil and fertilizer so bears won’t be able to smell it. If you have any bird feeders in your yard, make sure they at least 10 feet off the ground and far away from your chicken coop.

Remove Bee Hives

Even though chickens love eating wasps and bees, ensure their enclosure is free of beehives. Bees are attracted to honey and bee brood, and if they know there is one in the coop, they will do anything to get inside.

Other chicken predators that are attracted to bees are skunks, raccoons, and mice. Mice won’t kill your chickens, but they eat the chicken feed and contaminate the chicken coop with fleas, mice, lice, and ticks. 

Motion Sensor Lights

Some people also use motion sensor lights to scare away any unwanted trespassers. By focusing on these preventative measures, you should avoid and prevent any problems with bears. 

Enclose Your Compost Pile

Many chicken owners have a compost pile, especially if they want to grow a worm farm. Chickens love eating earthworms, and bears are attracted to compost piles. 

Ensure you keep the compost pile away from the chicken coop and preferably enclosed. Burying a compost won’t detract a bear, as they will easily dig it up.

What To Do If A Bear Attacks Your Chickens

It will be obvious to tell if a bear has gotten into your coop. Your coop will be torn apart with some chickens and even some eggs missing. If you’ve tried everything above and still can’t keep the bears out, there are a few other options.

If you are able to catch the bear in your yard you can try using rubber bullets. In some states, it is illegal to kill a bear, so be sure to check the laws in your area. 

Rubber bullets can deliver a painful impact without actually harming the bear, and it might be enough to warn the bear that it better stay away from your yard. Wildlife managers usually resort to this method when all others fail.

Bear Smart Durango says that the most effective way to keep bears out of your yard is by installing an electric fence. Bears can easily climb trees, they can won’t have a problem scaling a wooden fence.

An electric fence will keep the bears from entering your yard and causing structural damage to your coop or even eating your chickens. 

Consider putting on around the chicken coop if you don’t have a big enough budget to fence in your whole yard. Electric fencing for an average size chicken coop costs around $150-$400.

If you are still having trouble keeping the bears out or they are becoming increasingly braver, you should call a wildlife control team. They will ensure the removal and relocation of the bear without causing it any harm. It will get rid of your problem permanently. Just make sure not to attract any more bears.

Final Word

Bears, if attracted to your yard, will eat your chickens. There’s little you can do to prevent a bear from tearing open your chicken coop, but there are preventative measures you can take in order not to attract bears to your yard.

Bears are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and meat. Bears can hunt deer, elk, moose, sheep, chickens, and other livestock.

To prevent a bear from entering your yard, make sure there is no left out garbage, food, or animal feed. Locate your garden and bird feeders as far away from the coop as possible. Once a bear finds food in your yard, they will keep coming back for more, which could be disastrous for your flock.

The most effective way to keep bears out of your yard is by using electric fencing, although this can be quite pricey. You can simply fence in your coop with electric fencing.

If you are having trouble with bears entering your yard, you can try scaring them off with rubber bullets. If this isn’t effective, you’ll have to call a wildlife control team to capture and relocate the bear safely.

Never approach a bear, especially if she has baby cubs. A mother bear is more likely to attack when she feels her cubs are threatened. 

As long as you keep up with these preventative measures, you shouldn’t have a problem with bears. However, bears will go after and eat your chickens if given a chance.

Do Chickens Play Dead When Attacked?