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Chickens near a lake?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Tooshay89, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. Tooshay89

    Tooshay89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone! We're brand new to chicken raising. We just bought our chicks last week and our coop is currently being built/delivered this weekend. Even though they won't be in the coop for several weeks, I want to make sure it's completely predator proof before it's time to transfer them. We live in Florida and we're on a lake. Well, a canal, technically. Does anyone have experience with having chickens near a lake? Are gators likely predators, or would that be too much of an effort for them? I've never seen a big gator here, but there have been several small baby/adolescent gators lurking near our dock and around the canal from time to time. I'm just not sure if they'd be so bold as to travel all the way into our yard (towards the middle of our 1 acre backyard where the coop will be) to discover our new flock Any tips would be appreciated. This forum has been such a great resource for us on this new adventure.
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Depending on where in Florida you live; Coons, wildcats, panthers, bears, mink, snakes (including pythons) monitor lizards, possums, gators, coyotes, foxes, and then don't forget your birds of prey, all these and more like a nice rare chicken salad sandwich, hold the mayo please. Living on a canal should insure that all these critters visit you sooner or later.

    Gators are patient little... well patient big devils and don't mind waiting motionless for hours (usually in the shade) for a chicken dinner.
     
  3. chickenweirdo1

    chickenweirdo1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    If the gators come by, the chickens presence would attract the gators and tell them of the presence of prey. Which would make them hang around more. Chickens would try to drink out of the water if its calm, which would give the gators a chance to attack.
    I would say it would be best to either have a fence so they can't get to the water or a in closed run.[​IMG]
     
  4. Tooshay89

    Tooshay89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh definitely! They will not be free ranging. We're in a subdivision in central Florida and there isn't a lot of wild anything around... aside from the occasional stray cat and lots of squirrels, but my biggest fear is the gators. The chickens are not going to be near the lake, but I still worry that they may venture on shore (which they do anyway periodically... welcome to Florida!) and into the yard. Our coop will look exactly like this (it's being built this week by a local company, it's 4x11) and we're building an additional 10x11 run that will attach to the side of this out of 2x4s and hardware cloth. I want to be sure that anything else that I can do to deter predators (especially gators) is done before we move the chicks in a few weeks. Is there anything I should be doing that I'm not already?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. chickenweirdo1

    chickenweirdo1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think the gators will care about the chicks until the get older and more meat on them. But I've never heard of gators trying to break into stuff like trying to go through the fence. But definitely get the thickest, strongest wire or fencing for the run.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Block gator's line of sight to chickens on the ground in coop.
     
  7. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We also have a lot of alligators down here. As long as your chickens don't run loose, you will be OK with alligators. A gator would most likely ambush a chicken if it wandered near the water's edge. They are stealthy and patient. But, I've never heard of a gator chasing chickens around during daylight. And, just as Chickenweirdo1 said, I never heard of alligators tearing fences apart to get to an animal.

    However, Chickengeorge2 is right. You will have to be diligent in assuring your birds are safe from the animals he mentions. If everyone in your area lives on one acre lots, it is likely there are raccoons and possums around. Both of these animals have adapted very well to suburban life! They use waterways as hunting grounds and use the shorelines as traveling paths. The scent of poultry is strong and carries a long way. Don't be surprised at what critters come snooping around your coop.

    And, because our Louisiana climate is very similar to yours, I would think that the owl and hawk threat would be very real there also.
     
  8. Tooshay89

    Tooshay89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! That makes me feel a lot better. My husband and I have talked about putting up a chain link fence around the backyard perimeter for extra security (mainly for our peace of mind and our son's safety in the backyard.) So that may help if we ever decide to let them free range (while supervised, anyway.) I've never seen an owl around here, although I don't go outside at night either, lol. so it could definitely be a possibility. As I went to check the chicks this morning, I spotted a huge hawk in the neighbors yard... he must know. Our coop with built in run is hardware cloth and has a steel roof, and the additional run that we're building as an add on will have hardware cloth as well, but for the top, I was thinking of just adding bird netting to keep that area a little more open. Is that a bad idea? Should I do hardware cloth on top or even a roof? I want them to be safe but I don't want them to feel so "cooped" if you will in that area.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Some kind of solid roof to provide shade and keep water out of the run might be a real good idea. Any predator protection you get from it would just be a bonus. Slope it so the water runs away from the coop and run.

    I remember an episode on Mythbusters where the young ones were testing myths on how to escape a charging alligator. They failed because they could not get an alligator to charge or chase. Alligators are ambush predators, they wait for something to come close to attack. They don’t chase.

    I think a fence to keep them out is a great idea but make it high enough to stop dogs too. In suburbia dogs are probably your biggest risk. I think George missed the weasel family on his list, but don’t think because you don’t see them they are not there. About any of them can be a problem, even with ¼ acre lots. In Louisiana I saw raccoons use storm sewers as highways from sleeping grounds to feeding grounds. I don’t know if you have coyotes where you are but I saw an estimate that over 5,000 coyotes live in the Chicago city limits.
     
  10. Tooshay89

    Tooshay89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Holy moly! 5,000? In Chicago?? Remind me to stay in the south, lol! Although, I'm not sure our predators are much better...

    I didn't even think about dogs. We don't have any, but there have been several times that we've seen lost dogs roaming the neighborhood, and the next door neighbor has one (indoors, and they have a fenced yard, but still, dogs can dig.) We have three cats, two mostly indoor and one "free roaming" cat that I'm hoping will help any snake issues.

    I plan on burying some hardware cloth in the ground to deter any digging predators, but I'm not sure how deep it needs to be. And this may be a dumb question, but how do I connect the buried mesh to the coop structure?
     

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