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Shelter ideas in open pens

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I will have 49 hens and possibly a rooster out in "open" pens this year. By open I mean 2 separate very large fenced pens that do not have trees or bushes or anything to hide under. There are hawks and a bald eagle pair that live around our farm. So I am worried that when they see the predators coming, they won't have anything to duck under for safety and the chicken house will be too far away.
So does anyone have by ideas of easy things to use in an open area to give the chickens a place to run and hide?
Also, how effective are roosters at watching and warning and protecting his ladies from overhead predators?
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolivo View Post

I will have 49 hens and possibly a rooster out in "open" pens this year. By open I mean 2 separate very large fenced pens that do not have trees or bushes or anything to hide under. There are hawks and a bald eagle pair that live around our farm. So I am worried that when they see the predators coming, they won't have anything to duck under for safety and the chicken house will be too far away.
So does anyone have by ideas of easy things to use in an open area to give the chickens a place to run and hide?
Also, how effective are roosters at watching and warning and protecting his ladies from overhead predators?


Roosters job is to protect the flock...  sending out the alarm.   I have always had three or four roosters around.

 

I am in the desert and lots of predators come around once food is on the premisis...     a simple two sided shelter woudl be easy to build...   Sort of an A frame   long enough to accomodate em all.    maybe even two if your pen size is pretty big.  

 

Good luck

 

deb

Past poultry: Buff Brhama, EE, Barred rock, Wellsummer,

Bantam mixes, Araucana, Turkeys, & Guinea Fowl.

Future poultry:  Guinea Fowl, Sumatra, Wellsummer, Muscovy

"A dream without a plan is just a wish" Katherine Paterson

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

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Past poultry: Buff Brhama, EE, Barred rock, Wellsummer,

Bantam mixes, Araucana, Turkeys, & Guinea Fowl.

Future poultry:  Guinea Fowl, Sumatra, Wellsummer, Muscovy

"A dream without a plan is just a wish" Katherine Paterson

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

Reply
post #3 of 19

Roosters are good at warning hens, but it only works if the hens have a place near by to duck under cover. You know what you need to do. Setup some cover. It can be a simple as screwing a few pallets together to make a platform. A shelter should be placed every 20 feet or so. 

post #4 of 19
It depends on how pretty or rough you want the area to look. You can build something cute or find some things to decorate the area so it looks landscaped or really nice. You can mount an old antenna or whatever you may have about a foot off the ground. Just make sure the wind can’t blow them around.

Roosters are each individuals. Occasionally you will get one that will fight to protect his flock. My experience is that a rooster is more likely to lead his flock to safety once a threat has been identified rather than fighting to protect them, but they are individuals. Some will fight. I’ve had a rooster drive away crows when the crows wanted some of the treats I gave the flock.

Dominant roosters tend to be pretty good look-outs but often with a flock of all hens the head hen assumes a lot of the dominant rooster’s responsibilities, including look-out. Head hens have different personalities too. Where I find a rooster most beneficial from a security perspective is that often a dominant rooster will go check out something suspicious. He’ll put himself between the hens and a potential threat, like when I carry a camera down there to take a photo. That does put him more at risk, but as I said, if he really thinks there is a risk he tends to lead them, not stay in the rear.

I’ve had two different dog attacks with 8 and then 5 chickens killed. Both times the rooster was not harmed at all. He made it to safety.

This too shall pass.  It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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This too shall pass.  It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #5 of 19

We will be using tree branches we've collected from pruning to make some randomly spaced shelters using some inspiration from the gazebo and tee pee photos in this article:

 

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/07/11-tips-for-predator-proofing-chickens.html

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for the great ideas and info! I like the idea of using pallets, maybe in a v shape. Simple but effective. One rooster for nearly 50 hens is not enough, is it?
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolivo View Post

Thank you everyone for the great ideas and info! I like the idea of using pallets, maybe in a v shape. Simple but effective. One rooster for nearly 50 hens is not enough, is it?


Can you post a picture or two of your current "setup"?

I just wanted eggs!
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I just wanted eggs!
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolivo View Post

Thank you everyone for the great ideas and info! I like the idea of using pallets, maybe in a v shape. Simple but effective. One rooster for nearly 50 hens is not enough, is it?

Probably not. I've got about 18 hens and two roosters that free range an acre. Hens don't all stay closely clumped together. Groups split off and they do their own thing.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolivo View Post

Thank you everyone for the great ideas and info! I like the idea of using pallets, maybe in a v shape. Simple but effective. One rooster for nearly 50 hens is not enough, is it?

 

 

I use pallets here, for my birds.  I use the biggest ones I can find.  I use cinder blocks at the corners of the pallets to keep them up off the ground.


 

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post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 


I had to draw a rough sketch of it. Coop and existing pen are what the chickens have now. Pen 2 & 3 will be built this spring.
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