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Predator proof? Advice needed!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all, I'm new to backyard chickens, just built my coop (a kit from TSC) and am researching what chicks to get. 

 

In the meantime, I'm wondering if my coop needs any upgrades to be safer for my future flock (if you call 2-3 birds a flock?)  I live in the Central Valley, CA, and my house sits on the far side of a neighborhood.  I have neighbors on either side, but my backyard backs up to an open field and some orchards, with a few farm houses in the distance.  I have 6 ft fences surrounding my property.  I also have 3 large dogs (various herding breeds) that are indoor/outdoor dogs, but they have a dog run on the side of the house so they don't free-range the backyard without supervision.  I've seen coyote/fox dung in the field, owls, hawks, and once a rat scampered along the top of the fence.  We also have our fair share of feral cats.  I'm assuming there are opossums and raccoons in the field.  Of course, none of these have ever been in my yard, probably because of the dogs, and a lack of anything interesting in my yard up to this point.

 

Here is my coop: 

 

 

Each door has two latches (but these are the simple slide-bar latches).  There are really a LOT of doors on this (5).  Could a racoon manage both latches, or pry open the door if one latch is undone? And, the coop sits on 4X4s, but I didn't bury any hardware cloth because the ground is very, very hard.  I'm considering an apron around the coop, but am wondering if that is overkill?  My thought is, the coop isn't that far from the house, and if something starts trying to get in, my hens will squawk, and my dogs will go nuts in the house, until we wake up, right?  There isn't much I can think of that will try to get the chickens that would want to face a floodlight, people, and three large prey-driven dogs (I hope to teach them to tolerate the birds, but it may come down to management...)

 

Thanks for any input!


Edited by L2fly - 3/20/17 at 10:27am
post #2 of 7

Welcome!  Is your coop bolted to those 4x4s, or just sitting there?  Either way, an apron would be best.  Your own dogs will love chicken too, and can take out this coop.  Raccoons can open those latches, and rats and mice can get under the base. It's cute but flimsy, IMO. The hardware cloth needs to be very well attached, or it will come off easily too.  Are there more openings into the coop area?  More light and ventilation, even with the little  pop door open all the time.  Mary

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi Mary! The whole coop & run is screwed onto the 4x4s.  That really helped stabilize the entire coop.  There is more ventilation, on the side you can see, there is a window that slides open to a screen, and in the back there is another sliding window.

 

Hmmm, I'll have to find something more secure for the latches, thanks for the insight!  And I'll go ahead and do the apron.  And reinforce the hardware cloth staples with screws & washers.  I've got plenty of time, haven't even selected chicks yet.

 

I agree, my dogs definitely could cause some damage to it if they really wanted to, and had the opportunity!  Thankfully they are well voice-controlled, know the 'leave it' command, and have been by coops before, so I'm pretty confident I can manage them by not leaving them with the coop alone, and work on getting them used to it over time until (hopefully) they just ignore it. 


Edited by L2fly - 3/20/17 at 3:41pm
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019DQGG2W?psc=1

 

If I added these to eyebolts to the doors, think that would keep the raccoons from opening the doors?  These are the carabiners that screw closed.

post #5 of 7

One of our group, a while ago, confessed to raising raccoons, and said the if a three year old child can open it, so can a raccoon.  I have actual door knobs with keyed entries on my coop.  HATE RACCOONS!  It can take a while to convince adult dogs that 'Those chickens are mine!"  so don't assume that all will be well, especially if the coop is breachable.  Mary

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly's place View Post
 

One of our group, a while ago, confessed to raising raccoons, and said the if a three year old child can open it, so can a raccoon.  I have actual door knobs with keyed entries on my coop.  HATE RACCOONS!  It can take a while to convince adult dogs that 'Those chickens are mine!"  so don't assume that all will be well, especially if the coop is breachable.  Mary

Hmmm, I'll have to have my friend's 3 yr old come over when I'm done raccoon-proofing, and see how she does... ;)  

 

I bought $45 worth of hardware yesterday to Lowe's, to beef it up!

 

Thanks!


Edited by L2fly - 3/21/17 at 9:40am
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by L2fly View Post
 

Hmmm, I'll have to have my friend's 3 yr old come over when I'm done raccoon-proofing, and see how she does... ;)  

 

 

In my humble opinion, as a retired software developer, if you ever want to test anything, including a chicken coop, get a 3 to 6 year old to test it for you! :)

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