A fox in the coop! Need redesign advice...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Des R, May 24, 2016.

  1. Des R

    Des R Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2016
    Maryland / Delaware
    I have a dozen 3 week old chicks in a brooder in my house. We bought a used coop and set it up in the backyard with 25'x25' run around it with 6' high fencing. We already caught a fox checking it out (must smell the chickens from before, I haven't cleaned it yet).

    Here's the mistake we made: We did the entire run fencing with chicken wire. Since then we've gone back and put an apron of wire on the ground about a foot out and we plan to cover it with garden rock. We've boarded up the bottom 3ft with plywood on the two backsides. I'm hoping to find a different solution for the front so i'll be able to see the girls from house when they are out in their run (boards would block my view).

    Questions:

    1) Is the 3' of plywood enough protection for those two sides from foxes? (The top 5' is chicken wire)

    2) Should I change the front two sides to hardware cloth or electric poultry netting?

    3) I was also going to drape a poultry net (not electric) over the top of the coop... is a 2" hold sufficient? It's quite a bit cheaper than the 1".


    Thanks,

    Desera
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    In the Delmarva region, you probably have lots more predators than fox.
    Let's deal with the fox first. A fox can easily jump over a 6' fence. They can jump/climb a 10' fence. So you'll need a roof or other fox proof cover on the run.
    Many predators laugh at chicken wire. It keeps chickens in but not predators out. A raccoon can easily rip it apart.
    Then comes weasels and mink. They can squeeze through a 1" opening.
    The best technique is to have a secure coop you can lock the birds in at night with big windows for ventilation covered with 1/2" hardware cloth. You can probably lose the plywood and cover the chicken wire with some welded or woven hogwire type fencing. The foxes can't get through that.

    Raccoons, opossums and weasels can climb - very well.
     
  3. Des R

    Des R Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2016
    Maryland / Delaware
    We have a secure coop that we will certainly be locking them in at night. It's was the daytime I was concerned about when they are in their run. Do I have to worry about predators so much in the day time?
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Usually daytime is just hawks, dogs and occasionally coyotes and foxes. Though I have heard of raccoons during the day, they are only after dusk here.
    I had mink take baby chicks in the middle of the afternoon and coyotes and fox attack mid afternoon as well.
     
  5. ADuckOnQuack

    ADuckOnQuack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2016
    England
    We don't have roof netting, electric fencing or boarded sides in our chicken run we just have a 6 1/2 foot tall fencing all the way round. Theirs many other things you can do to keep the fox away. Putting a radio out in or near the coop so throughout the night there's always sound that with spook the fox away, but that's if you have excess to electric near your coop. If not you could just put wind chimes around because the foxes don't like the sound, well around my parts they don't. You can have the fence 6 foot high if you have mesh at the top leaning outwards making it harder for the fox to climb over. Or purchase a few geese or Guinea fowl if your interested in them as they make good guard dogs.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Letting the fence flop over works well, a few members here do that. Say 6 ft fencing with 4 foot posts, let/train/make the fence to flop outward. Your just down to digging predators which are fox, skunk and dogs. A dig proof apron stops that. Welded wire laying flat from fence wall out 18-24 inches. Stake to ground letting grass grow through or lift sod and put under it.

    I'm a fan of electric poultry netting. Can't be climbed, animals hit the lowest wire when digging and it does contain the birds. The trick for birds not flying over is to have them in the electric fencing when they are out of the grow out coop before they are flying a lot or learned to fly over fences. Being large enough not to be hawk magnets and young enough to train to the electric works. The first few hours of birds in electric netting run you'll hear squawks as they discover the electric. After that they keep a respectful foot distance from fence at all times and don't even think about flying over. It's funny, will have netting around trees and a pullet will fly higher than fence to get up in tree that overhangs the fence yet still not go over it.
     

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