Chicken Coops

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by The Chookens, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. The Chookens

    The Chookens New Egg

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    Oct 4, 2014
    Hi all,
    Just wondering if anyone could give me any ideas as to what is the best mesh and design features to keep foxes,rats and snakes out of chicken coops.
     
  2. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    Quarter inch fence fabric buried at least 8 inches down all around the coop. Possibly an electric wire as well if you have a real problem with foxes. Rats...don't leave any feed out and make sure all feed is in tightly sealed containers. Snakes...not a whole lot you can do there unless you encase everything is solid concrete. Snakes can get in when you think you have everything sealed tightly. There are some snake repellents that seem to work pretty well and that you can use around poultry but they only work on certain species of snake. And they are only a repellent, they will not actually get rid of your snake problem. If you do try a repellent stay away from anything sulfur based.
     
  3. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless you have venomous snakes, I would think the chickens would just kill them and eat them. I ran over a garter snake with the mower, and fed it to my chickens, which they loved (probably wouldn't do that again though, do to possible worms). Snakes would mainly be after the eggs anyways, which should be up off the ground, right? Mice will find a way in anywhere they want to go, so I consider trapping mice/rats is probably the best option (since chickens also eat mice, I don't use poison...anymore). As for larger predators like fox, raccoons, and opossums, I keep a live trap outside the coop to try and catch them before they try and break in.

    I'm fairly new to chickens, but that's my logic on the matter. I haven't had any major incidents that require extreme measures though. I caught one huge opossum in a live trap the other day, and relocated him.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  4. collingwood

    collingwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Make sure everything is locked up tightly and that the ground has a floor! Also if you put fake eggs on the ground snakes eat them and suffocate! This is a good but cruel way of dealing with venomous snakes! Good luck!
     
  5. NYHenman81

    NYHenman81 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2015
    Hello... I purchased a "flock" of hens 3 years ago, and installed them in an old coop on my property that housed chickens about 40 years ago. I have used that building as a garden shed since.... My problem has been with RATS. They just got into the Coop any way they wished. The Coop is pretty small (8 X 12) so fortifying it was not impossible, but still formidable for an 80 year old. But I kept in mind that THIS WAS WAR ON THE VARMINTS. So I proceeded to do the following:
    Dug an 18 inch deep trench along the exterior perimeter of the Coop.
    Attached 1/4 inch hardware cloth to the outside walls and down into the trench for 18 inches
    Put 16 inch solid concrete blocks in the trench up against the Hardware cloth
    Backfilled with earth and stones
    On the inside of the Coop, I insulated the walls, and installed more hardware cloth there also, and dropped mothballs in the walls
    For the "inside walls" I used heavy cardboard, plywood scraps and old real estate signs
    For the floor I used Hardware Cloth again under scrap plywood...
    I can tell you for a fact that No Night Varmints get in the Coop anymore, not a trace... Cost of all of the above.... about $220 ... As far as feed protection, I use 3 RubberMaid Trash Containers..... The Insulation job I described was not for containing heat, but I found that the Hens are pretty warm birds and keep the temperature of the Coop about 6 degrees warmer than it is outside.... And we have Cold Winters here, 4 degrees right now! Enjoy Your Hens.
     
  6. kateseidel

    kateseidel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Every opening except the hen door is covered with 1/4" hardware cloth. The hen door only opens from the coop into the enclosed run.

    Our ground is extremely rocky, so we could not trench the wire. We extended it 18" out from the bottom of the walls, and have buried it with gravel and dirt. We get the occasional small snake who is not doing any damage. If there are mice, they are either not leaving droppings or the hens are eating them (they do love to hunt and catch a mouse).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. NYHenman81

    NYHenman81 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2015
    Wow! what a great coop you have... picture windows in the front and a great covered run... I am going to have to (partially) cover my run too... and, I never knew hens would actually catch and eat mice....
    Also as a predator defense, I feed and water my hens inside the coop, and give them "treats" in the far corner of their fenced area, (about 50 ft away)... feeding them scratch, greens, toasted oats, etc near the coop is a no-no.... Sounds like I have a lot of hens, I really don't... I purchased 18 from TSC in April of 2013... 2 subsequently died, so I now have 16 left....... I am learning much about chickens as I go.... I treat my hens as Pets, they all have Names, and they cheerfully supply me with 12 eggs/day on average, year round... Thanks for your reply to my post, you have contributed to my learning experience.....
     
  8. kateseidel

    kateseidel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love having chickens (more than the horses and sheep, but don't tell them!!). And I have always found that you do have to find your own way and what works best for you and your hens. We name them in general themes. One year it was "old lady names" - Ethel, Myrtle, Gertrude, etc. One year it was fashion designers (Vera Wang. Dolce and Gabanna are still here from that year), one year it was spices (only Rosemary is still here from that year), last year it was hobbits (they are all still here, thank goodness).

    Pre Hobbit photo - Thyme, Parsley, Jessica, Gabanna, VeraWang, Ethel, Dolce, Rosemary, Sage, and Ethel (for some reason, we name all of the Buff Orpingtons Ethel)

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    The hobbits (Bifur, Bofur, Bombour, Ori, Nori, Oin, Gloin and Thorin Oakenshield)
    have a corn snack in the run-in with Jessica, Gabanna, Ethel and Dolce
    [​IMG]
     
  9. NYHenman81

    NYHenman81 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2015
    Now there's Impressive Names..... I have names for all mine too: Flower, Lola, Ha-Ha, Broody (she is), Lindsay, Moma, Kingfish, Breakaway (she tries), and a passel of generic names for the rest like: Stop That!, Get Out of There!, Where Yo Goim!, and Not Again!!!... Mine are all "Sexlinks" hence either mostly brown, or mostly white.... so, any of the all white ones are called "flower"...
    My Coop is uphill and 200 feet from the house so it's quite a trek to service them, and I have to carry gallon jugs of water up to them all winter... (i did not know that chickens drink do much water), once a week I add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water, and they really like that. I had an egg-bound hen that would not eat or drink anything so I tried to feed her from my hand... no go, nor would she drink anything even from a dropper.... no go... The Book said to try to reach and disloge the obstruction manually... WHAT ??? So I got my wife to try that while I held the hen in warm water... no go... that was a good hen and later died standing up in a corner of the Coop... did you ever have that experience ? Like life, some things just happen...
     
  10. kateseidel

    kateseidel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah - I had NO idea how much water these guys drink!! We don't have water in the coop either, so I am always on bucket brigade. We tried every type of watering device known - and in the end, the ladies and I both prefer a big black feed pan filled with water. For winter, they do get a heated pan so they always have something to drink.

    I will say the hens have helped me learn to deal with death better, not a lesson i particularly wanted to learn. Aside from predators, I had one lady jump off the perch and break a leg, and we have had a couple who have just....died. Never figured out why, and since no one else died I figure it was not an infectious disease. As far as I know, we have never had anyone eggbound. A good friend of mine has necropsies done on her dead chickens to see what killed them. I have not done that, and have new appreciation for the old time phrase "she's doing poorly" as a descriptive term.

    Thorin Oakenshield, currently recuperating in my office from a hawk attack. Another week, I think
    and she can go back to the coop. She is quite annoyed that I insist on staying awake when it
    is dark outside and all hens know you sleep when it is dark.

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