Guarding from predators...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tracylhl, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. tracylhl

    tracylhl Songster

    May 20, 2009
    Myakka City, Florida
    I know we have some neighborhood dogs and a few fox and I'm sure there are other random creatures roaming in the night. I don't want them eating my girls! I know that it's been said that you should bury the fencing about 12" down underground to discourage digging under the fence by predators. Have you done that? My husband feels it a little unnecessary and I know it's not terribly easy to do but is there anything that is as effective or moreso?
  2. Kieyamama

    Kieyamama Songster

    Aug 23, 2009
    A lot of people will apron the fencing out along the ground about a foot. vs burrying it.
  3. Airilith

    Airilith Songster

    Sep 28, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    I was wondering the same thing. Having to bury fencing would really defeat the purpose of making a portable chicken tractor. Haha!

    The fence skirting is a good idea.
  4. tracylhl

    tracylhl Songster

    May 20, 2009
    Myakka City, Florida
    Skirting! Hmm... didn't think of that. Thanks!

    What about overhead? Is it necessary to cover an outdoor area for them? We currently have a fairly small tractor so there is an enclosed run on it but we're working on a new big coop for many more birds. We're looking at a fenced area of 20x14 and I'm not sure I want to enclose the top of all that! Of course, I don't want anything snatching my birds either!
  5. juliawitt

    juliawitt Songster

    Aug 9, 2009
    We have every predator you can imagine...except bears..well, I haven't seen any bears so I will say I don't have any. We always lock our chickens up at night!! For the run, we put up 6 foot fencing with big rocks around the bottom to discourage diggers. Our run has BIG trees around. I was told a hawk/owls need to have a running dive to grab chickens. The trees block them so they can't get up the momentum to dive. So far we've been lucky on all accounts. Last night when I put the girls up, I could hear owls hooting very close. I ran to lock them up! Then I woke up last night to much coyote yipping!!! I am afraid we will be tested soon!
  6. twentynine

    twentynine Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    One bit of advice---
    Electric fencing.

    Properly installed and maintained electric fencing can protect your birds from ALMOST any predator. Nothing, absolutely nothing is 100% fool proof, but I have never lost a bird protected by an electric fence. I do spend some effort checking and maintaining it.

    Pertaining to digging the wire in. Yes! Do it! Even with my electric fence my wire is dug in about 10".

    Tractor? I installed a portable fence charger on my tractor. Like I said I would not have birds without an electric fence.
  7. Here's how we did ours, and we have a *very* heavy predator load, and have had no losses. Even when you are well fortified you need to check your construction daily for signs of digging and to seal up any seams which may have become stressed or chewed.

    We were advised to use 1/2" gauge hardware cloth and it's worked well. The only thing that would get through is a bear. We also are fussy about getting the hens in well before sunset and not letting them out until after first light, and the coop is built within a barn and is very strong.

    Our test case has always been 'Mary', a raccoon that the feral cats brought home as an infant, and who is something of a pet and lives in our loft.
  8. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I have 24 pullets, 16 weeks, 4 breeds. I put up a 2000 sq ft run of 72" tall 2x4 welded wire. I dug a 4x6 trench and set the fence so that the bottom was just below the top of that trench. Then I poured the trench full of a mix of 1:5 cement to coarse sand (after wetting the trench first to prevent weakening the cement). Then I put 4 courses of hotwire around the whole thing, including the gate. I powered it with a 4 KV, 5-mile fence charger. I then put 24" tall chicken wire inside around the bottom to prevent coons from reaching in to pull birds out piece by piece. (without that they will have their heads sticking thru the 2x4 fencing all of the time.) Even with all of that, I still drop the two guillotine pop door closers down at dusk.

    I do have three trees and a lot of resident crows, so owls and hawks are not a problem. They seldom bother mature sized birds anyway, but can occasionally attack. Your run is so narrow that chicken wire overhead would not be too hard to do with a center support. You can also buy some of that orange bailing twine at places like thke co-op or tractor supply and run it overyhead criss-crossing the pen to discourage hawks. Definitely do that if you have small chicks running around out there. Coyotes and coons are fence climbers so the hot wire is a must. Also set catch and release traps and do not release the preds for someone else to have to deal with. A fresh or even not fresh egg is good bait for coons, coyotes, skunks, etc. For coyotes and foxes, use a cheap frankfurter or cheap lunch meat.

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