Deer Netting as Perimeter to Augment Containment / Protection of Free-range Juvenile Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Below is something I will be attempting in my very large backyard setting. Resources involved more than most backyard poultry keepers command. Some with similar resources may find the effort interesting while others may not be so inclined. My efforts are to enable expansion of free-range rearing area for American Dominiques that otherwise do not tolerate light predator pressure largely due to their limited capacity for flight. Birds are to be reared in a brooder setup through 5 weeks then introduced into chicken tractors that will serve as roosts after juveniles are released during day starting about one week after being introduced to tractors. Tractors will be stationary once birds retreat to them only at night. There will be multiple groups differing in age by about 4 weeks. A couple American Dominique cocks will be free-ranged with the juveniles and likely kept in tractors with juveniles to encourage bonding between cock and juveniles. Cocks highly valued for protection and against Coopers Hawks. Approach to this point well vetted.

    After observing a neighbors temporary success with deer netting surrounding a run, I am planning on setting up a temporary although larger enclosure. Neighbor’s enclosure has not been penetrated by fox or coyotes although sun and wind are putting a limit on the deer netting to about 6 months.

    My new enclosure will be roughly 1.5 acres near the center of the area already foraged by free-range adult flock during the day but where birds retreated to a more protected roost. My dogs patrol area but 5 acres appears to be about the maximum that they can protect from snatch and run predators like Mr. Fox without help from fences. This new area is in addition to what we can protect young birds on with current configuration.

    My application will not involve deer netting alone. The perimeter has already been tightly mowed which I suspect will be important for getting this to work. Grass and weeds are allowed to grow up at least 3 feet tall in areas not so mowed. After deer netting perimeter is put in place I will put up three strands of hotwire about 1 foot from the deer netting panel. The mowed area will cause predators to hesitate as approaching the two fences and provide a lane my dogs can patrol faster. The hotwire will then be present to zap predators that mess around and attempt to challenge the otherwise delicate deer netting. Enclosure will have an opening facing central area surrounded by yard and two existing similar sized perimeters using a combination of electrified poultry netting. The openings are familiar to my dogs and provide choke points canine predators do not like to enter as well as provide mouths to death traps for raccoons and opossums when dogs catch them inside enclosures.

    Diagrams to follow.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,957
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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
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