Using Game Cameras To Protect Your Backyard Chickens

Hi, this is Marjory Wildcraft. In this edition of Homesteading Basics, we answer the question, “Are game cameras useful to homesteaders?”

The short answer is yes. Game cameras are a set of eyes and ears working for you in the middle of the night, and they can be really useful for identifying threats to your backyard chickens. They help you troubleshoot issues and show you exactly what’s been happening.

For example, here’s game-camera footage of my chicken coop when I was having some really bad problems with losses.

Isn’t that some amazing footage? Look at those raccoons and what they do!!!

Birds Do It… Bees Do It…

Now, my brother in North Florida sent over some footage that he had taken—we’ve included it in the video above. Actually, this answered a question I didn’t even know I had: “If tortoises move so slowly most of the time, at what speed do they have sex?”

(Don’t you just love that male tortoise moving his head quickly like that? It’s so funny.)

Help Protect Your Chickens And Livestock With Game Cameras

I use a lot of different game cameras to protect my livestock, and I especially use game cameras to help me protect my chickens. I’ve got to tell you, there are zillions of them out there, and a lot of them, quite frankly, don’t work.

We recently did a trial on four different ones. . . . Stay tuned for the results!

(This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on January 26, 2017.)

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This post was written by Marjory Wildcraft


  • Karen says:

    Thanks for that Marjorie, I would love to know which game cameras work best!

  • HI Karen,

    Yes I thought I had an article written up on that, but looks like I didn’t get it publsihed. I’ll work it it.

    1. laurence mays says:

      will you be posting on what the results of your trail cam trials were?
      Love your Blogs

  • Marilyn says:

    Marjory … yes, want to know which game cam worked the best for you.
    I haven’t purchased one because they all claim to be the best. Would
    be very grateful for more info!

  • Jim says:

    Around 2 years ago I got a Primos TruthCam35 that has a 60 foot detection range. This has been the best of many of the cheaper cameras that I have tried. I even got another Primos, but it only has a 40 foot range and isn’t nearly as good as the first one. Over the past couple of years I have gotten many video’s of critters (mostly deer) around my house and posted them on yourube. I’ve used that original Primos so much the latch broke off and I now keep it closed by wrapping a bungee cord around it and the tree it’s mounted to! One recommendation, it is better to get the external battery pack with solar charger. Then you never have to worry about changing out the batteries. I built my own external setup and it is working great, battery reading in the camera is always 99%

  • brad says:

    We went past free range hens to anarchy chickens. They wander all over the pasture – and in this season, the garden, which is about an acre.

    In the garden they spend a bit of time under the stacked wire cages for the tomatoes later, lol. Let’s see a hawk get them THERE! And we do have a nesting pair of red-tails about 300 yards away in a neighbor’s walnut orchard. We’ve had coon troubles and they continue to wander the area, but haven’t bothered the chickens much at all. i’m not sure why. Some hens just go to sleep on top of hay bales stacked 3 high, and you KNOW that they could climb up there easily.

    Sometimes, having a flap of fencing hanging off the side at ground level stops animals from tunneling under. Not sure if it would work for a coon, but it would be easy enough to clip up to move your tractor, then lay them on the ground. That could provide another couple of feet for them to dig under….

  • Michael says:

    A simple solution has been around for some years now. Get yourself any old computer. Install your favorite free version of Linux. Then install a free program such as ZoneMinder. Hook up your favorite camera, and point it at the area you wish to watch. One should then see the camera’s view in the software, and then only needs to outline on the display the areas wherein you would like to detect movement. Then let it go.

    It will only record when there is movement within the area you defined, and you should have little trouble figuring out how to have it notify you when there is activity. A message to a smart phone with a wakeup alarm might be very handy.

  • Darrel says:

    Several years ago, I researched trail cameras and concluded they hadn’t advanced far enough. I’d certainly appreciate what you have discovered about the latest batch of trail cameras, giving us both the pros and cons of the models you’ve tried.

  • Dale Neff says:

    Hi, I just found you and I love you site and this story. 30 yrs. ago, before trailcams I had twenty some goats with a large flock of ducks and around twenty or so geese in Northern Mi. I had small pond with tagwillows all around the pond. One day I go out there and I had a goose down, still alive with a big part of her breast gone. I put her out of her pain, this went on day after day for about six days. I had traps and baits all around, I asked every one. Oh big male mink running high country, It is in the fall, no he would have hauled off. Weasel, no not the chest. Coon, no. So I and my 12gauge sat down there for the night. Whh whhh I heard the wings and than in the branches of the tagwillows landed one big old Horned Owl. I had no more off my geese get tore up that way again. Thank you for your video. I had caught many of them and skunks in my chickens. I do think, there pricey but Stealth is in the top.

  • Mbk says:

    I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure those are tortoises.

  • Cindy Hakkert says:

    Can you tell me what is a good game cam. I have ducks and chickens, owl and fox as preditors.

  • I am pretty fortunate. We have some predators, but not ones that will rip through the pen fencing. Fox and racoon are about as bad as we will see around here and so far after 4 years of owning chickens, my fencing is holding up.

  • Kelly says:

    I’m definitely interested to see a review of game cameras!

    Your raccoon footage was horrific. We had a weasel or something similar get through a tiny gap in our duck coop. Very upsetting!

  • Louise LK says:

    Game cameras are fine to see what has happened. However, a predator trap could save the chickens and while it is often attached to a “hole-in-the-fence” adaptor, it can also be built-in or attached to a chicken coop to provide the easy false entrance to the chickens. If you value your chickens, then don’t take a chance with a cheap animal trap, which may spring without the predator inside, and set your trap BEFORE you loss your first chicken.
    I have found that the only thing better then a predator trap to prevent chicken loss is to not have any chickens.
    No one likes to loss chickens, but thanks to our host, at least we aren’t going to need to buy a zillion cameras to find the one that DOES work.

  • FOS says:

    Reminder – update needed 🙂

  • KarenGray says:

    There’s a farm here in Queensland, Australia that breeds donkeys. Sounds like nothing to do with the topic, except that these donkeys are natural protectors. Whenever a preditor comes close to any animal in the farm yard, it creates a huge ruccous and tries to ward it off. Who knew they would do such a thing, but apparently they do it instinctively.

    Now not sure whether the cost of keeping a donkey would be as cost effective as buying cameras etc, etc., but a lot less tech involved; and for me, the less tech the better – not because I can’t use it but because of the unhealthy emf’s and such . 🙂

    Anyway, you can probably check out the donkey farm online for yourselves or do some research yourselves if it interests you.


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