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Coop plan analysis please! :)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Squishy, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. Squishy

    Squishy Songster

    Feb 2, 2011
    Hi all! We are about to get to work on our coop and I wanted to double check the security of our plan. I know you all are pretty good at this stuff so if you wouldn't mind letting us know what you think?
    We can't turn it into Fort knox because we are doing this on a tight budget, but we want to do the best we can with what we have.
    For starters, the coop is going to be against one side of our house, outside of my bedroom, and inside our small yard. The yard is fenced with a 4 foot high 2x2 inch wire fence. The place is rented so we cannot change the outside fence, we are just focusing on the coop area instead.

    Our plan is to do a hoop coop (cattle panels), with a solid wood back that will be blocking one section of fence... it gets narrow there and we measured it, so the coop back should cover that angle, which is one of the most likely approach angles for a predator.
    The coop will have wire flooring, probably the same 2x2 as the fence because its on hand and free. The front non-tarp section of the coop will have hardware cloth of course.
    The coop and run will be under a nice, huge gauva tree... good for Florida summer temps. To the right of the coop (looking at it) will be the house wall, to the left will be the fence. We will bury a wire apron around the two fence sections there. At the front of the coop the yard expands and we will have a small outside run there. We are going to put up netting, the tree is well shaped to be the main support for the netting... and if anything were to climb the tree it would need to be inside the chciken yard first OR be able to get up on the roof of our house. We were thinking of an optional cover instead of net, to be more of that same 2x2 wire... but it will be a challenge to get that arranged and supported properly.

    We feel more secure about the coop having it right on the house like that.... but heres the reason for our concern.... Coyotes.

    There are no chickens on this property yet but the coyotes are here. Like I said, we are renting a house here, but the rest of the place is a 600 acre horse farm. It used to be a wildlife sanctuary back in the 40's, so the place is run-down and the winding design leaves tons of woodsey areas with old fences (they are all chain link) with holes in them or under them and trees growing through them. LOL

    The landlady has trappers out for the coyotes but as she says, it's maitenance more than eradication. There are more woods areas outside of the farm so they just go under the fence and escape when they feel hunted. In January the trappers caught and killed one... about two weeks ago they caught six in one weekend. For several days after the howling was up in intensity at night and I found tracks near the horse barns... I wondered if they were all searching for their friends.

    Anyway, our landladys house is near to ours, she has a Great dane and an Aussie, and we have 2 Jack Russells... so we are hoping the dog smell will help with the coyote thing.

    We also have a large, very beautiful, hawk or falcon hunting bird that loves the area. Im not sure what it is, it had a golden breast and black and white spotted wings, with black and white striped tail. It is very big and makes whooshing sounds when it flies into the pasture Im in (it seems to like me LOL). There were some missing cats at the next farm and I was out in another pasture one day, and I noticed one of the tall pines had a bush underit with lots of white marks all over it.. I went to have a look and it was bird poo, all over the place, and at the footof the pine, the remains if a dead white cat.

    THEN there is also a very cute mother racoon that had 3 little ones with it this winter, walking all over the farm.

    So we are not short on predators, but we desperately want to have chickens, and we are hoping that right next to the house, with the dog smell, and as much wire as we have, will be enough to keep all safe.

    Thoughts?? (Please don't advise buying a castle with moat, too much money in that! :p)

  2. Trefoil

    Trefoil Songster

    Dec 7, 2011
    If you have weasels, 2" wire won't keep them out. But, if you need to you can get some of the cheap plastic poultry fence(think maybe walmart,lowes or home depot) if you fasten it to the 2" wire securely, it should hold off the weasels and coon paws. If you have a secure coop and lock them in it at night, you shouldn't have to worry about coons. Coyotes- the cheapest I can think of is an electric fence/ I would put it top and 6" from the bottom of your 4' yard fence, hoping to keep coyotes & coons out of your yard and so away from the chickens. The deal with electric fence, if you aren't used to it, it HAS TO HAVE a good ground, hopefully deep enough to hit either ground water or at least moisture. Netting or chicken wire top is going to be a necessity because of the flying predators. Dogs are the worst chicken predator, hopefully you will be able to get them used to the chickens. Trying to kill off predators as a way of keeping your chickens safe doesn't work, but you can keep them away from your chickens you just have to aware. Taking the time and effort to get your and your neighbor's dogs to accept the chickens will pay off big-time if you can manage it.With a little ingenuity (which I sadly lack) you will be able to make a secure coop and at least a small run without breaking the bank. Craigslist,auctions, and your local classifieds are good places to keep an eye on. Enjoy
  3. Squishy

    Squishy Songster

    Feb 2, 2011
    Thanks for the advice Trefoil :D I forgot to say that they would be locked in the coop at night and only be allowed to browse in our yard with supervision, and that when our younger kitty is inside... she is a feorcious hunter for sure, so because of her alone we knew we couldn't let them roam much... shes already scared off all the squirrels, killed 3 moles, grasshoppers, and a bird, and the local rats feld for their lives when she started her hunting, back to the barns they went ... so at least our feed sources should be secure (and I have a locking can).

    The dogs wont pose a problem as our two are safe, our girl jack russell is elderly and she can hardly see or hear anymore... she used to be quite a hunter but has trouble finding her ball these days and spends most of her time inside.... and the boy jack russell I raised with my chicks and then adult silkies when I had chickens before. Not to say I'll put him in the coop with them, LOL, but he has proven to be a good boy. The landladys dogs dont pose a problem as they cannot get into our fence, if they could have they would have to eat my boy jack russell but he tells them off, haha. The run area for the chickens will have extra wire securing it, and only be used during daylight... as the hoop coop should be an ok size for our chicken numbers and will have the sunlit front browsing area.

    For smaller pests like you mention, I am really wondering about that tree. This is the only place we can put the coop and it does offer the necessary shade for our temps..... but Im not sure if the netting on top would be enough to deter a racoon that figured out how to get on the roof and down the tree? and our kitty... but she has to use the tree to get on the roof in the first place, which she dopes alotbut wont be able to when the coop is there.... I dont THINK theres any other way for something to get on the roof.
  4. Squishy

    Squishy Songster

    Feb 2, 2011
    I forgot to ask... What IS the actual price of an electric system? Say with the house blocking one side... thats about 36 feet to cover just the chicken coop and run area from the outside, without running wire through our yard for us to get zapped on, gahh.....
    and maybe 300 feet to cover that whole side section of the yard. then the adapter or electric box thing .... how expensive is it?

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