Depending on how big your chickens will end up being, you may need to build a larger coop and run soon, but if they are small, i.e. Banty size, then you might want to cover the chicken wire with hardware cloth. Whereabouts in Northwest Ohio are you? We live just outside of Toledo and we have coyotes and Eagles now and then, so get the run covered as soon as you can.
Coop Protection - Page 3
Hello, I think you should consider stronger wire mesh, as someone else has stated raccoons and possums can just reach in and grab a fist full of chicken as well as pull it apart. Here is a link to Lowes which is where I bought some heavier "hardware cloth" with 1/2 x 1/2 inch mesh and 19 gauge welded wire. http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=492408-16418-840178&catalogId=10051&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=4780957
That should go on your coop structure if it isn't already. The wire you use around the outside perimeter should also be stout and either buried or staked down real good. I am sure you have all the night time critters including coyotes and possibly a bobcat. No one has mentioned snakes here, but they like to get to the eggs if they can. On my clasps I use the link that screws together like on a chain and had not had any break ins yet. You may not have the space for an electric fence around your chickens. Here is a picture of mine that I fabricated from pvc and plastic fence so it is portable in 25 ft sections. The stand offs are screwed into the PVC and then the three horizontal wires are run on them. I have a solar fence charger. It has kept the coons from coming in at night. I also have a solar operated light that is motion activated which also keeps things away. I live the the rural woods of Oklahoma and I have everything from possums, coons, coyotes, wild dogs, feral hogs, and mountain lions. Yep really!
I hope this is helpful and good luck with your girls.
Welcome to keeping chickens, the "cheap (cheep)" hobby with lots of hidden costs. You buy a chick for $2.99, baby chick feed for $15.00, and soon you are $2,000.00 in the hole!
I'm not kidding, or trying to discourage you, but you DO want to have livestock and not "deadstock." I moved my horses out to the country in 1999. I have owned chickens for ~8 years and I currently keep 5 EE layers, 2 SLW layers and 5 (soon to be 3), 6mo Dark Cornish roosters. (They are bullying my Easter Eggers, but not my Silver Laced Wyandottes!)
MY suggestion is to look for a good sale and buy a 12 x 12 dog fenced in enclosure. One wall will have a gate. I also use two spring hooks on each end and hook it shut, bc I have been known to leave a gate open, and I can glance at the gate and KNOW that it is closed. Check on Craig's list, because our economy is still bad, and people want to get money for stuff that they don't use. I had bought a 12 x 12, so I now have two chicken enclosures. My neighbor (now moved, thankfully) called me several years ago and said, "I want to get rid of my fencing, but you have to get it today." So...we did. My layers and roosters now have a 12 x 30 ft run, although there is some damage to it, but the price was "free."
Although I have not had raccoons attack my birds, I did have an owl land in and fall on my chicken wire roofing a few years ago. He/she had killed two hens before I found the predator, who, unfortunately died of lead poisoning.
Your favorite dog may decide that he/she and everybody else Loves chicken, so if you let your birds graze the lawn (under your supervision), the dog will have to be inside. I have two dogs and I had to discipline one of them after she accidentally chased down and killed a hen.
A friend lost his entire flock earlier this year. He lives near a river and a weasel, who is small enough to crawl THROUGH chain link fencing, killed them all. Some say that they will do this and then come back numerous times to feast on their kill. They are the only predator that does this. Other predators will usually just kill what they need at the time. Still, everybody DOES love chicken, and I started butchering and replacing my roosters and layers every year. Layers slow down laying after a year and roosters are only really good for fertilizing eggs and I butcher all incubated roosters at 2-4mo. They are not bantams and they are about the size of a Cornish hen at 2mo. I do not inbreed, and I buy several unrelated roosters to raise with the pullets. Unrelated mature roosters will fight to the death. Roosters raised together won't do that, just play fight. There are threads here that can walk you through bending hardware cloth and attaching on the inside of the walls of the run and underneath to keep out digging predators. I just got my outside coop last fall---I had summer quarters and sacrificed a horse stall in my barn for the winter, but I got tired of that. It was assembled in October, so the ground has been frozen most of the time since. I have a collection of pavers and cinder blocks (chip and use a hammer to break into two) that I will be using just outside and buried deep, not like how you walk on them, and THOSE will be my hardward cloth. We live in East Central Illinois and have a serious coyote and coywolf problem. I will also be spending some time putting chicken wire on the bottom and inside of both runs this Spring. The smaller run will be where my incubated chicks go after leaving the brooder this year, AND I have had a hen go broody and raise a clutch. ALL baby chicks, even up to 2mo can shimmy through chain link fencing and the other kind.
The only roosters that I have owned that have NOT been aggressive towards me where EE roosters. I had to beat my Dark Cornish roosters a few weeks ago because they are sexually mature and have become aggressive. My birds sometimes come too close to the gate when I feed. I take my foot and scoop the hens away. I did that to my roosters and they did the crouch before the attack to me. Horse whips are a great protection, and after beating them with one, they know respect the whip. When I am down to three roosters, it will be better.
Something else, if you buy a clutch, it is likely that there will be more roosters than hens. My first clutch had one hen and 5 roosters. Rhode Island Reds are known for good egg laying, but the roosters are downright vicious. When I was catching them to sell at auction, I had to use my dogs to keep from being attacked and they try to strike your eyes. Just some FYI.
There are owners here that have gentled their roosters, but MINE are livestock. I train my dogs, my horses, even my cats, but the birds are feral.
Every animal has it's own learning curve. I hope that I have encouraged you, because I thoroughly enjoy my hens! I didn't use a light this winter, and circumstances have me owning hens that will be 3yo this summer! I have carefully put away 7 dozen eggs for coloring/deviled eggs on Easter, for church and our own sunday dinner.
Look to your hen laying sporatically, and then about one egg/36 hours. When I started I owned one hen and she saved many recipes just by herself!
I'm with YOU, eaganchickens - N O N A I S!!!
I'm with YOU, eaganchickens - N O N A I S!!!
never underestamate the sly raccon,a fence other than an electric one is no challenge to them.been there and done that.i lost a mama duck and four babies.they were in pen inside a .bar wire fence.he came back a few nights later for another filling meal.hope he is resting in peace.electric fencing is very reasonably priced now.
Pay attention to local laws or ordinances... I live in an unincorporated area and I can use them if I please, but every incorporated community around me on all four sides prohibits/outlaws electric or charged fences in residential zoned areas...