No one wants to see bats in their barn or chicken coop, especially when you’re not sure if they will hurt your chickens or livestock. Growing up, we’ve all heard horror stories of bats swooping down from the sky and drinking blood. Are bats a predator to chickens? There are many ways you can keep your chickens safe at night, but do you have to worry about bats killing your chickens?
Will Bats Kill Chickens
Bats will not kill your chickens. Bats mostly eat fruits, and insects are not a natural predator of chickens, although a species of bat called the vampire bat will drink the blood of sleeping chickens without killing them. However, the feces (guano) can make your chickens ill.
There are quite a few benefits to having some bats around, such as getting rid of mosquitos. However, if you have a huge colony, there are some things you should be aware of.
First, let’s look at their diet and the benefit of having some bats around.
*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
What Do Bats Eat
There are over 1,200 species of bats in the world. Even though they don’t all eat the same thing, the majority of them eat insects. Depending on the bat, a bat’s natural diet includes insects, fruit, nectar, pollen, and sometimes meat.
As a whole, bats eat around 4 tons of insects each year. They can do this by using echolocation and can even snatch an insect right out of thin air. Approximately 70% of bats eat insects, and most of the ones who don’t eat things such as nectar, pollen, or fruit.
A small percentage of bats eat meat. These carnivores eat things like lizards, fish, frogs, and sometimes small birds. Chickens are far too big to be hunted by a bat. There are a few bats species that drink blood, although they prefer the blood of larger animals such as horses and cows.
Bats are not natural predators to chickens and do not consist of their diet. If you’re still worried about it, bats will be unable to reach your chickens if you close them up in their coop at night. You should be more concerned about the chickens’ natural predators coming after them.
Benefits of Bats to Chickens
Believe it or not, there are some benefits of having bats around your chickens. Bats eat mosquitoes, beetles, moths, and other nuisance bugs. While your chickens will forage for bugs, the bats can help you out if you have an infestation of bugs.
Mosquitoes and other bugs are not only a nuisance, but they can damage your crops and plants you’ve worked hard to maintain.
While you don’t want the bats living in the chicken coops, instead, you want to install a bat house to attract them to your yard. This Handcrafted Wooden Bat Box is perfect for hanging on your trees and keeping them away from your chickens.
Are Bats Dangerous To Chickens
Bats could hardly be considered dangerous to anything other than insects. Only a few bats species are carnivores, and even so, they only eat things like lizards, mice, and small birds.
Chickens are far too large for bats to prey upon, and they shouldn’t be able to get into your chickens’ coop. Bats are nocturnal and hunt at night when your chickens should be safely secure inside their coop.
There is a species of bat called the vampire bat that drinks blood. This bat has been known to drink the blood of sleeping chickens.
They do this by making tiny slits in the chicken’s skin, allowing them to drink. An enzyme in the bat’s saliva causes blood to not clot, allowing the bat to drink as much as they want without the blood flow stopping.
Although they have preyed on chickens, they prefer larger animals such as horses and cows.
One little incision shouldn’t be enough for your chicken to bleed to death, but if it has been preyed upon by more than one vampire bat in a single night, it is a possibility. There is also a chance that the bats can transfer a deadly disease to your chicken through its saliva. If you notice your chicken has become sickly or weak, you should seek veterinary care to find an effective treatment plan.
Even so, vampire bats are only located in Central and South America. If you don’t live in these areas, bats shouldn’t be a concern for you.
Do Bats Attack Chickens?
No, bats are not aggressive and will not attack chickens or people. Bats are vital to our ecological and economic system.
However, bats should not be allowed to live in your chicken coop as their feces (guano) can cause Histoplasmoses, which is a lung disease. The fungus thrives in damp soil and the droppings from bats and birds. It’s most commonly found in pigeon and chicken coops, caves, old barns, and parks.
How To Protect Your Chickens From Predators
Even though you shouldn’t worry about bats killing your chickens, there are many other predators that you should worry about.
Chickens have many natural predators, including raccoons, opossums, birds of prey, bobcats, bears, and coyotes. These sneaky predators are mostly active at night and would love to make a meal out of your flock. The best and easiest way to keep your chickens safe at night is by locking them up in a safe place like your coop.
You can also make them a closed in run. This has mesh wire walls and a roof to keep predators away from your chickens at all times. Make sure to clear your yard of left out garbage, hiding places, fallen fruit, and animal feed as to not attract any predators. You can try motion sensor lights to scare off any predators that enter your yard.
The University of New Hampshire says that electric fencing is one of the best options to keep out ground predators. Burying chicken wire at least one foot deep around the enclosure will also prevent predators from getting into the coop by digging.
Bat houses are the best option to keep bats out of the barn or your chicken coops. It will give bats a place to build a nest and sleep.
Do some research to see what predators are common in your area. Only then can you be sure of effectively protecting your flock.
What To Do If You Have Bats In The Chicken House?
If you’ve noticed bats living in the rafters, logs, or piles of feces, then you will want to take some steps to get them out of the chicken house.
First, remove the bats nesting materials while they are out eating bugs and mosquitos.
Next, block off the bats’ entrance, so they can’t enter back into the coop or barn. Ensure you clean up the guano (feces) so your chickens don’t eat it or become ill.
I’d recommend investing in a bat house, especially if you have a lot of nuisance bugs.
Bats will not kill your chickens. Chickens do have many natural predators, although bats aren’t one of them. There are over 1,200 species of bats in the world, but most eat bugs or fruit. Very few bat species eat meat.
If they do eat meat, they hunt small animals such as frogs, fish, lizards, and sometimes even small birds. Chickens are too big for bats to hunt naturally.
One type of bat is known to prey on chickens but, they are only located in Central and South America. These bats are known as vampire bats and sometimes drink chickens’ blood, although they prefer larger animals such as horses and cows. The vampire bat is incapable of making an injury large enough to kill your chicken.
Chickens’ predators include coyotes, weasels, bears, raccoons, opossums, and birds of prey. The best and easiest way to keep your flock safe at night is simply by locking them up in their coop at night.
There are ways to provide better protection, such as electric fencing or mesh wire. It’s essential to find ways to protect your chickens depending on what natural predators you have in your area, but you don’t have to worry about bats killing your chickens.