Coop and Predator question -- advice please!!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dancingmama, May 13, 2010.

  1. dancingmama

    dancingmama Out Of The Brooder

    56
    0
    39
    Jan 17, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Well, it looks like we're joining the ranks of backyard chicken people!!!

    We are getting this coop, as we found it used at a really good price:

    http://handcraftedcoops.com/small-portable-chicken-coop

    My question is.... it's mobile, so we could move it every few days, which would be great for the grass! But then we couldn't dig down fencing around it to protect the chickens from burrowers.

    Are burrowers a problem? Should I just pick a spot and plant it? Anyone with experience or opinions?

    Thanks!
    Julie
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,852
    33
    249
    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    You could attach an apron of hardware cloth around the bottom perimeter, fashioned to lie flat on the ground outwards. Then you can tack down the apron in a few places or weight it with bricks or rocks.

    Here's a picture of my tractor with apron:

    [​IMG]

    I fashioned four flaps using rectangular pieces of hardware cloth, folding under all the edges so they wouldn't be sharp. Then I used Loxit clips to attach the wire flaps to each side of the tractor. When I want to move the tractor, each panel can be flipped up out of the way.

    I use my tractor only for daytimes, though, so I wasn't really trying to make it as secure as I possibly can. Our yard is fenced, so I don't have to worry about dogs, just the occassional roaming cat. I lock my chickens in a secure, stationary coop/run at night...or bring them in the house (blush) when they have young chicks to care for, like right now.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of chicken keeping!
     
  3. dancingmama

    dancingmama Out Of The Brooder

    56
    0
    39
    Jan 17, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    elmo, what a beautiful run/tractor/thing!

    the coop we are buying is about 60 pounds, so it's not terribly light. I like the idea of the hardware cloth apron, and the picture really helps. Thank you so much!
     
  4. GermanChick

    GermanChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    442
    0
    121
    Apr 12, 2010
    NW Missouri
    Quote:x2 !!!!! I love the idea of the willow branches, makes it look so natural. After seeing that tractor I had to check out your website and I love your summer coop, very nice !!!!
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,852
    33
    249
    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    Thank you for the compliments! I need to update my page, because the way I attached the apron to the new tractor really works better than the way I had it set up on the old one.

    On the old tractor, the side wire and the apron were one piece of wire, simply bent at ground level. When I moved the tractor, sometimes the wire would fold underneath and get caught. It was annoying. The hinged panels on the new tractor work much better.

    I'm building yet another tractor right now, too. I'm using these metal hoops:

    http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/prod1;ft1_coldframes_hightunnels;pg104155.html

    I'm going to paint the hoops black, attach them to baseboards, and wrap with hardware cloth. I need another tractor so I can keep the dominant hen and her chicks separate from my two other hens and their chicks until the chicks are older.

    I think this style of tractor will be easier to construct as well as lighter. We'll see!
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    95
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Elmo, that is BEAUTIFUL, I've not seen one made that way before, it looks so much different than the usual "I went to the lumberyard" tractor. I am SO doing that with my 8x8 grow-out tractor!!!!!! <applause applause>

    Dancingmama, a tractor is always going to be inherently less predatorproof than a fixed coop, so I would not suggest using one where you expect the predator load to be high (e.g. a yard that passing dogs can easily get into). But if there is not THAT much risk from predators, then yes, a good solution is to use a wire apron. It can either be fixed to the edges of the tractor (in which case it needs to be narrow, like less than a foot wide, or it's too hard to move the tractor), or it can be hinged to them and you flip it up to move (which I have not tried but WOULD if I were building another tractor, and others have said it works well), or you can use separate pieces of wire laid around the tractor and moved separately, which is less secure and more aggravation and having done it I don't recommend it <g>

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. dancingmama

    dancingmama Out Of The Brooder

    56
    0
    39
    Jan 17, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Pat, that makes so much sense. I can totally picture it, and so an apron it will be! Thank you everyone! We are getting our coop tomorrow, and our brooder today, and our chicks tomorrow, and I'm so excited!!!!
     
  8. kfchickenlady

    kfchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2010
    N.Calif.
    That tractor built with twigs is awesome!!! I will have to have one of those, thanks for sharing [​IMG]
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,852
    33
    249
    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    For anyone who is interested, here's where I bought my willow rolled fencing:

    http://www.mastergardenproducts.com/willowfence.htm

    They have many different kinds of rolled fencing, there, lots to look at. Our chickens really seem to appreciate the cover that the fencing provides.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by