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daytime predator concerns?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by randomchicklady, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. randomchicklady

    randomchicklady Out Of The Brooder

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    I was just wondering your thoughts on this. Our coop is (hopefully) going to be predator proof. If the chickens are locked up in the coop at night, just how predator proof does our run really need to be? We have 2 dogs, but they are in an electric fence and the chickens are out of their range. There are cats in the area, but I have never seen one on our property - probably because of the dogs....I don't know if the chickens will be more likely to entice them though. And we do have hawks, so there will be netting over the fence.

    We acquired a few 8' long x 6' high panels covered in coated chicken wire, we are going to put those together as our run(still have to figure out the door). Originally I was going to cover the bottom couple of feet with hardware cloth and skirt it out, but now I'm just wondering if that is overkill for daytime protection.

    Anyways, I want to do this right the first time, but at the same time don't want to waste our time and money...we've already spent waaaay more money than I ever imagined chickens could cost!!! I'll have to figure out how many eggs it will take before they pay for themselves!!

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If the chickens are locked up in the coop at night, just how predator proof does our run really need to be?

    It depends how much you don't want to come home to dead chickens [​IMG]

    Loose dogs (yours, like when the electric on their fence fails, or other peoples' passing through) are the commonest fourlegged daytime predator, by a large margin. But other critters will also come out hunting in daytime on occasion, especially in late winter (hungry) and in late spring - early summer (babies to feed)... on our property here I see daytime raccoons and coyotes multiple times per year, have seen a fox in daytime, and there are probably others too.

    I think hardwarecloth is slightly overkill for purely daytime protection in most situations (the only real risk to larger mesh is that a bird sticks its head out, or a raccoon sticks its arm in, and the intersection of bird+predator is not all *that* likely in the daytime).

    HOWEVER I WOULD NOT USE CHICKENWIRE, as most chickenwire sold today will not slow a dog or raccoon down for more than a minute, max. I'd suggest heavy gauge 2x4 welded wire, or chainlink.

    If you are home almost all the time and don't mind living a little dangerously, you could do only a short apron or none at all. (I'm home most of the time, but still have a 2' apron around my runs, fwiw)

    Good luck,

    Pat​
     
  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, Pat is correct (as always I might add [​IMG] )

    If the run is covered birds of prey should not be a concern. As Pat said loose dogs will be the biggest concern during the daytime, the occasional coyote or fox but with outside dogs they generally keep them off the property. I would use the welded wire as well and a apron to prevent digging.
     
  4. Faverolle Queen

    Faverolle Queen Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok...here is a stupid question....WHAT is this apronyou all are talking about? I probably know what it is, but just never heard it called an apron. Maybe I can learn something today. LOL:D
     
  5. Beed

    Beed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can answer that. The Apron is like a camouflage vest that is meant to ward off mainly birds of prey. They sell them in my Backyard Poultry magazine. You can take a look @www.hensaver.com
    OOPS! Edit....wrong type of apron! What she meant is to bend in the fencing and bury it .
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  6. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My only daytime predators have been dogs because there is no tree for a couple hundred feet in any direction of my coop/run and I have only had a problem with my neighbor's dog (which was NEVER kept on a leash or behind a fence, and it dug under the fence around my pasture where my birds free range. We reported and they took the dog to the pound, which made me feel bad, but the owners totally neglected the thing, so it wasn't like it was a beloved pet. And yes, I have a dog of my own, but she's scared of the chickens!)

    Cats have never been a problem for grown birds, they pretty much ignore them, but I put out feed when there's a stray so they have easier meals available, and they keep the mouse population down in my pens.

    I actually put 3 feet of hardware cloth around the bottom of my runs, and three feet of chicken wire above it then net the top. It may be overkill, but I often don't get home until well after dark, and it makes me feel safer.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Actually what I meant by apron or skirt is you run some of your fence mesh horizontal on the ground or just under the turf (not buried, which is largely the *point* of doing an apron/skirt rather than burying the bottom of your fence). You can pin it down well with tentpegs, or weight it with big pavers or concrete rubble or rocks, or peel thesod up and lay the apron just under the grass.

    For a fixed run I'd suggest 2-4' wide apron (depending on your predator risk level, and your level of paranoia, and what kind of fence mesh you have lying around to use).

    A smaller version is good for helping keep predators out of tractors.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  8. randomchicklady

    randomchicklady Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone!

    I'm really not too worried about dogs, even if mine got out I don't think they would do anything but go to the edge of the fence and whine. I am worried about an occasional late evening out though.

    I think I'll keep the chicken wire on - it's done really nice and I'd hate to waste it, and over top of it for the bottom 3 feet, put maybe the welded wire? I'll have to see what my choices are...is that stuff sufficient for the apron too?

    btw - that hen apron is too cute!
     
  9. sweetie54

    sweetie54 Out Of The Brooder

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    my chickens sleep right on the edge by the chicken wire and one night a racconn stuck its hand in there and grabbed one of my babies and wrenched its leg!!! I gave it baths everyday and put bactene on it!!! Now we call her hop a long!!!
     

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