Earthquakes & RACCOONS -- stressful morning

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by beachcoopgirls, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. beachcoopgirls

    beachcoopgirls Just Hatched

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    Jun 24, 2016
    It's been a hectic morning for the beach coop girls. It started shortly after 7am when my husband and I woke up to the girls throwing a fit! Every once in awhile we can hear them from the house but nothing like this. At the time we had no idea what was going on, but soon to find out there was an earthquake in Oklahoma and the tremors could be felt in Central Iowa! Poor hens were being rattled!
    My husband ended up letting them out in the yard for the day, usually whenever we are home we let them free range. About an hour or two later I go out and can't find them anywhere. Nothing too unordinary until I call them and no one comes running like they typically do. I still don't think much off it until I walk down to the ravine and see a giant RACCOON hanging out. I yell and the guy goes running off, thank goodness all my girls were safe but another 30 seconds and I'm sure we would have lost at least one if not more.
    I know this is one of the risks we are taking with letting them range but is there anything else we can do to help deter predators from the yard?
    We decided we won't let them out any earlier than 10am and we are going to try to bring the dog around the coop more so that other animals can smell the dogs "territory".
     
  2. Millworker26

    Millworker26 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2016
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    I've been thinking a bit about the idea of "clearing" an area of predators. While there's no way to really remove all predators I do think you can exert some control over your local ecology. Raccoons took a number of my chickens early on; when I started trapping I never thought I would end up removing 10 raccoon from my yard, but I did. Today I could set a trap out there for 2 weeks and catch nothing. While there's never a guarantee I no longer feel that my flock is in ever present danger.

    Anyway, you could consider some method of predator management.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
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    Anything you can do? An electric fence around the perimeter you want to maintain. It could be a few hundred feet or a few acres. I'm now thinking about 3 or 4 wires, the lowest being 5 inches, the highest about 15 to 20. Run a hot charger and it will take a really determined predator to get inside that wire.

    BTW, that was not an earthquake. I was up late last night. That was just me snoring this morning. It was great.
     
  4. beachcoopgirls

    beachcoopgirls Just Hatched

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    Jun 24, 2016
    This might be a really stupid question but would the electric fence hurt the chickens? Or will they know now to touch it?
     
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
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    After they touch it they know not to touch it. They get a pretty good zap, but quickly learn to avoid the fence, as do the predators. It is a pulsing shock......not a continuous one. About 1 second intervals. High voltage, low amps. Very painful, but not dangerous. As such, an electric fence is more of a psychological barrier than a physical one.

    I currently have a low two wire fence, and it seems all of them go up to it, then step on it to go over. The bottom of their foot is what gets zapped. You know it when they hit it......they go airborne and will still be cackling about 20 seconds later. I have discovered that with the low two wire fence, and I suspect it would be the same if it were 3 or 4 wires*......if they do manage to get outside and want back in, they lift up and hop or fly over it. They do not seem to do that going out.

    * - On the two wire fence, our little house dog got zapped early, but quickly figured out he could jump over it, and now routinely does. If he can figure that out, a fox could too. Raccoons seem not to, but I suspect a fox or coyote might learn they can hop over it. That is two wires that top out at about 10 inches off the ground. By adding another 1, 2 or even 3 wires (which I plan to do), that might deter those who would jump it. Best thing would be for them to try, not get over it, come down in contact with the ground and wire and get zapped again, such that a jump would not work and get them zapped anyway. Adding more wires on top does not increase maintenance. That is all at the bottom wire and is the same if you have one wire or 10. I'd want mine to top out no higher than I could safely step over, as I have not gate. I just step over it.

    The low wires seem to work with predators, as most seem to lead and travel with their nose close to the ground. Their nose is what gets zapped and with a hot fencer, that will reverberate to the tip of their tale.
     

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