Fence Height and Hawks

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BlackIowaDirt, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. BlackIowaDirt

    BlackIowaDirt Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2012
    Am new to raising chickens, and am curious about my coop placement and fence height.

    The old owner of the house left me with a 4 foot high fence I can use for the chickens. Given the coop placement, its at the bottom of a hill where hawks like to sit during the day.

    So, should I add some chicken wire to the top of the 4 foot fence to keep the chickens in and hawks out? Is 4 foot high enough for Barred Plymouth Rocks?

    I was thinking of adding a bit of chicken wire to the top, that is hung at about 45 degrees to keep hawks out and chickens in. Much like the wire you see at the top of a fence surrounding a prison. :)

    Or, could I simply string some flourescent colored string across the top, like zoos do to keep out seagulls from their concession stands.

    Lastly, will having a young dog near the coop help keep away hawks? Hes' cool with chickens.


  2. TomGallopavo

    TomGallopavo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Hillbillyville, MO
    Hawks eat chickens...I can tell you from first hand experience...in fact one of the victims was a barred rock. My philosophy is it is worth losing a few now and then to let them free-range...they have a very nice life that way. They also convert tics to eggs, an amazing trade off if you ask me. I also notice that I only have lost black chickens to hawks...the orpingtons are more camoed out here in MO. I don't know about the dog but they do like to play with chickens with deadly results. If you are really that worried about hawks I would cover the entire run. I have never heard this but you could try putting crow decoys all around...crows hate hawks and owls. I have seen swarms of crows run both off and I never shoot crows anymore for that reason. You know it does suck to lose one, but that really is part of having chickens...actually it is part of life in general. No matter what you do, I think you will really like having chickens. Good luck!
  3. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Neither dogs nor humans tend to scare hawks, unless the humans or dogs have wings...

    four foot is high enough for the chickens even if you made a flat roof but how are -you- getting in to clean up?

    I'd do -something- to the run, open runs invite predators.

    I'd also worry at night how will they be protected from coons and weasels, rats, mice, owls etc. (depending on your area, bear, bobcat, snakes, alligators)

    Your plan (forth five degree angle at top will not keep the chickens in nor the hawks out- it will need a roof, in wire or metal or plexi-panels or vinyl - or anything really.

    You might keep cats or coons in if they climb the outside of the fence.

    What about diggers? Like foxes and feral packs of dog?

    Just because you haven't seen any critters doesn't mean they won't show up when there is food and chickens around.

    And I felt my losses were too high to allow free ranging, it was me who put the chickens into a position where they had trouble - even with the huge bushes and places to hide.

    Hawks liked my sliver/black birds SLW, they couldn't see the GLW as well. The only white bird I had was the tiny rooster so they didn't even bother with him (or he was a coward).
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  4. highpointfarm

    highpointfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2012
    Orange County NY
    I have heard that an predators scare predators.... So i put a plastic owl out on a fence post near the coop and this seems to keep the hawks at bay....
  5. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
    If you are worried that much you need to top the run. Netting or some other choice. If you have a secure coop, think netting for the top of the run. However I would add height so you can walk in easily still. You can bow PvC easily attaching it to the 4' fence and stretching netting over it.

    Our ornamental duck pens have nets over them. Everyone else free ranges all day, every day. We have red tails, coopers, eagles as well as bob cats, raccoons, cyotes ect. We also have two LGD (great Pyrenees) that patrol and take chase when a hawk even lands on a fence post. There are goats in the pasture, and geese that alarm when something is not right. It works well for us with no losses.

    Good luck with what ever option you chose.
  6. georgiagail

    georgiagail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep, you'll need a roof on your run....

    Couple of folks have done what we (and others) have done on our runs; attached PCV/electrical pipe to the rails of the run with brace rail clamps, then stretched hardware cloth over these and attached the wire with zip ties.

    Folks with four foot high runs have made these roofs as "hoops" to increase the height and make things more comfortable for themselves which working in the run.

  7. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    I have a run that I covered in deer netting. It works well and is cheaper than even chicken wire. It DOESN'T secure the coop from climbing predators like cats, coons or possums, but does protect the chickens from BOPs (Birds of Prey). Surprisingly, the deer fencing actually held up to heavy wet snow and freezing rain this past winter. I would like to change over to chicken wire eventually, just to further secure the coop from climbing predators. I have seen pictures on here of some folks that have used a smaller diameter wire, like electric fence wire over their runs to shield chickens from BOPs, but again it isn't as safe from climbing mammals.
  8. BlackIowaDirt

    BlackIowaDirt Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2012
    I think the PVC option will work quite well. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

    I think I'll put a line of Barbed Wire on the outside to discourage the coons.
  9. georgiagail

    georgiagail Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wrote my posting at work and still haven't figured out how to pull up the pictures I once posted on this forum.

    Now that I'm at home, here is what I meant by using PVC/electrical pipe (both for a flat roof and a hoop roof).


    Flat roof[​IMG]
  10. BlackIowaDirt

    BlackIowaDirt Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2012
    Wow. Nice work. :)

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