A coop design challenge - I could use suggestions/advice

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Feddurs, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Feddurs

    Feddurs Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 29, 2008
    Situation Information:
    - I have chickens. They free range during the day.
    - I also have just about every chicken predator native to Texas. Hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, possums, raccoons, feral dogs, etc.
    - I'd like to be able to go away for weekends without using an automatic door.
    - I'd like multiple entrances, as inevitably my roosters tend to pick on the smaller/newer chickens and keep them out of the coop until after dark. Hopefully multiple entrances will give the smaller chickens other options.

    I've thought about it for a while. I've decided that I need entrances to the coop that the chickens can get into, but none of their predators can. What kinds of entrances would those be?

    My idea right now: Entrances they fly up to, that can't be climbed up to. I'll place the whole coop on metal poles, so claws won't help climbing and they'll have no side of a coop to run up. The predators will have to leap straight up or fly. And I'm hoping that the owls won't be willing to enter the coop to get the chickens.

    So, to the help I need - I plan to eventually get larger breeds of chickens - perhaps even some of the giants. How high can they pretty easily fly when egg-heavy? 5 feet? Less? More? All of my lighter breeds can pretty easily make it 6 feet up, even the young ones.

    Second, can anyone see a flaw in my plan? Can any of those predators leap 5 or more feet straight up to the entrances I plan? Foxes? Raccoons? Will owls actually enter a coop, where they can't fly and pounce, and kill chickens inside the coop?
  2. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Raccoons, squirrels, and many other predators can go straight up a metal pole like it's a tree trunk. I'd suggest your placing four-foot, large-diameter PVC pipe over the metal pole, putting the PVC in the ground about six inches so that the smaller predators can't get inside and climb the metal pole.

    On my bird feeders, at the top of the PVC pipe, I even place an upside-down, five-gallon, plastic bucket with the handle and ridged rims cut off the top so nothing can grab/hold on to it. I cut a round hole in the center that has a just slightly larger diameter than the metal pole; doing that the bucket will wobble if anything should manage to get high enough to touch it.
    I have lots of feeders on one pole protected with PVC pipe and upside-down bucket. No squirrel or raccoon has managed to get to the feeders since I put the PVC on several years ago.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  3. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    I believe there is a material called nixalite or something (google keeping squirrels from feeders). It is basically a sheet that is smooth on one side and has barbs/spikes on the other. If you wrapped that around the whole coop, nothing would be able to climb up. I have no idea if that is feasible as this stuff usually wraps around 1" poles.

    I'm not sure chickens are the accomplished flyers that you could do this where the entrance would be remote enough.

    Couldn't you do something with electric fencing. Where the chickens could fly over but ground predators would be stopped. I'm not sure how easy it would be to teach the chickens to avoid the fence.
  4. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I tried having a stair free coop design. The door is about 3' off the ground. I tried just installing a shelf for them to land on. They just wouldn't use it. Some of the larger birds, BRs especially, had trouble using it. I attached a stair and they go right in.

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