Several flocks later I have learned that the only way to keep the daytime cruisers from grabbing a quick feathery snack is to keep them in an enclosed fenced in area, preferably underneath a large shade tree (so the hawks don’t swoop down and grab one). This way every morning I can let them out of the coop and let them poke around a few hundred square feet of grass without worrying about the four-footed variety of hunters. But I’m not here to tell you how to protect your flock against those daytime Jonny-come-lately’s; That’s easy…no ‘ible’ needed there. Nope, I’m here to help you against those really sneaky creatures…the ones that keep you up at night. Hopefully this ass-kicking ‘ible’ from Kentucky Bum will give you some piece of mind by showing you how to cut down the number of night-time snack raids to your coop and give you a few more peaceful night’s sleep.
I engineered this solution from a fact that I read somewhere that most of the really nasty things that sneak around at night are freaked out by blinking LEDs (I had a problem with ferrets and minks [the nastiest of the nasties]). It said the lights appear to them as other predator’s eyes. (Authors note: I have found that they don’t work so well against raccoons, but most coops aren’t that unprotected.) With further research I went on to find a company that makes a solar-charged blinking red LED light and that you are suppose to surround your coop with as many of them as you need, but at $25 a pop I don’t think so. Besides, what good are they if you can’t use them inside the coop to keep things out? Here’s how I made a good work-around solution.
Tools you will need:
-Multi-meter that can read DC volts and show polarity
-Wire snips and strippers
-[Maybe] a soldering gun & solder.
Parts you need:
-Blinky LED lights (I have red ones, but if other colors work let me know)
-10’to 30’ of light weight, low-voltage 2-strand shielded wire
-A handful of small wire nuts (the kind you get with any ‘wire-it-up-yourself’ light fixture).
-A handful of thumbtacks
(Another Authors note: Read Step 1 and then Step 2 before you do anything; you probably already have some of these parts laying around, and since they tend to be voltage specific it may behoove you to buy those parts that operate at the same [or nearly the same] voltage of the parts you may already have.)
Step 1: Buy Some LEDs!
Step 2: Grab an AC-DC Transformer/Adapter
You’ll also need to get your hands a few feet of low-voltage, light weight double-strand insulated wire. Any kind will do, even old interior grade extension wire (but that’s over kill because we are talking milli-amps here). You will need enough wire to string along the inside of the coop so that when wired in series you have enough blinky LED lights to be seen from every part of the coop. If you have a few blind spots in the coop you may need more lights and more wire, but usually 3 or 4 blinky LEDs cover the ‘kill zone’ adequately. I have a big, walk-in coop so I needed about 30’, but you may need more or less. I used some old excess wire I had saved from an electric garage door project. It was the small, white wire that went from the door open/close optical sensors, perfect and easy to tack into place.
Step 3: Plan Your Run.
Step 4: Last Step: Start Splicing and Tacking in Place
You’re done! But before you tack them in place make sure they all blink away after you plug them in. It’s easier to replace them on the bench than up in the rafters of a coop. You can also plug the string of lights into a timer so they only come on just before dark and turn off after sunrise but I didn’t. They use so little power that a timer doesn’t pay for itself, and beside that way I don’t have to keep track of the changing hours of daylight year round.