ღ Chicken Expert Needed ღ

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Eggsactly15, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. Eggsactly15

    Eggsactly15 New Egg

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    Hello. I am looking for someone who has absolute experience and knowledge on how to raise chickens. Specifically, in a rural environment. This person must be absolutely confident about their skills. Thank you!

    All right, let me explain my situation.

    I have owned two "sets" of chickens and have lost them both. My family lives in a very rural place. We are surrounded by farms, but my specific house is in a more forest-like place. And we've got all of the active predators that you can name: raccoons, lynxes/bobcats, foxes, rattlesnakes, oppossums, skunks, mountain lions, hawks, vultures, falcons, ect., ect. I think you get the point. Our first set of chickens were two very efficient ones that showed a lot of personality. They were our first chickens and we grew very close to them. However, they were in an enclosed area with our orchard in the midst of the woods down a hill about fifty feet from our house. They were surrounded by a "No-Climb Fence" which I am assuming was meant for a deer which I will prove later on. My father felt that an ordinary dog carrier that was left open all the time would be safe enough. My father was sure that they would be safe, but . . . We lost our chickens to raccoons and it took us months to recover.

    Then, a friend gave us their three remaining chickens because they were moving and could not keep them. I see that friend every day so we had to do everything we could to keep them safe. We decided to go a little overboard on their next coop. We bought a giant dog cage that was meant for a great dane and we built thick wood all around it. We painted it and put a huge door in front of the cage door. The cage door was locked normally and then we added a combination lock just to make us feel better. XD Then the plywood door would close over it and would be tied by three wires. It was foolproof. But then, as I was at my computer, I looked out the window to see that my chickens were under attack. They were ambushed in broad daylight by a lynx. We were devastated. It was a huge blow to the family and we decided to give up.

    But all of the families around us own chickens and we just returned from a trip to the Cayman Islands where there were hundreds of chickens running around free-range and we fell in love with them all over again. I told my mom that if I made a fool-proof system that has absolutely no chance of losing the chickens that she would consider it. She's very reluctant, because we were very close to the chickens we lost. It was horrible when they died; they were truly apart of the family. My dad and I are trying to plan a way that has no flaws at all, otherwise we aren't going to do it. We're thinking that if we just keep our chickens in a completely enclosed area, with a roof and walls (similar to a very large shed), that maybe it can work.

    Please, can someone help my family's situation? We really want these miracles back in our lives, but we never want the threat of losing them ever again. I need a chicken expert that can give me as much information and details as they possibly can. Step-By-Step would be great. THANK YOU FOR ANYONE WHO CAN HELP!!! It is desperately needed! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  2. montanachickie

    montanachickie New Egg

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    I live in a very rural area as well. We had a lot of bear activity over the summer and the thing that we heard to protect the chickens was an electric fence. One of our coops is very secure...it is actually a Amish-made shed converted into a coop. There is a solid floor and locking windows. The coop is located in an area that is fenced with a 61/2 foot tall feet. The 13 chickens that are housed there are doing very well.

    We have 5 that run around the property and we hope for the best for them. They are terrible about pecking each other and I won't let them in the fenced area with the "little girls".
     
  3. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Welcome to Backyard Chickens. You are a very good and thoughtful writer.

    You are asking a lot here with your first post. There are many people here who are chicken experts, in my opinion, and will help you with your problem. However almost all your questions can be answered by studying the predators and coops sections. That is where you should begin. Then, once you have an idea of the coop type you want to build you can start a new thread and ask for opinions on your design.

    All our situations our different. You say your second coop was foolproof. Did the Lynx get into the coop or were the chickens ranging?

    I'll end by saying there is always a risk of losing chickens by disease or predator. Accepting this fact before getting chickens again will help you cope with future losses.
     
  4. Eggsactly15

    Eggsactly15 New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2010
    Oh yeah! Haha! We have bears too! Thanks for reminding me! =P I don't think my mom will agree to an electric fence, sadly. . .

    EDIT:

    Thank you! The lynx did not get into the coop. They were ranging and it climbed over the "No-Climb Fence" (deer fence, I guess) and got them. *Sigh* But I guess you're right. Thank you! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  5. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    there is no such thing as 100% predator proof coop.... unless you build it with triple layer concrete blocks and 4" thick steel for door..... do the best for your chickens, actively trapping predators, nettings over the top, lock up at night, etc.... you will loose the odd one every now and then, but those are the experiences you need to learn from to improve your flock management
     
  6. Eggsactly15

    Eggsactly15 New Egg

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    I guess. . .But my mom doesn't want to go through all of this again and she doesn't want any risks. I understand there is always a minor threat, but. . .[​IMG]
     
  7. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry, this is not a risk free world that we live in. IMHO the risks and disappointments are worth the benefits and joys. That's life. You do the best that you can and accept what comes... do the best you can!

    I have found that raising animals is very good training and experience for growing up and living in the real world. It IS worth it!

    PurpleChicken gave you good advice. Good Luck and [​IMG]
     
  8. mcostas

    mcostas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I understand you correctly you have a chain link dog kennel? It's pretty easy to put wire on the top, I cable tied welded wire to it. I have the tarp that comes with the kennel and it includes a bar in the middle, I attached wire to it and the welded wire for support, kind of a "suspended' top.

    After you cable tie all your wire you can go back and reinforce it with wire ties. I'll bet it would stop all but the bears. Electric fences aren't that expensive I think.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Eggsactly15

    Eggsactly15 New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2010
    Thanks for all of your advice, guys! My parents and I are still talking it over! If you have any more advice, feel free to let me know! [​IMG]
     
  10. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:yep... one more thing.. [​IMG] this sying holds true....

    "where yo have livestock, you will have dead stock".
     

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