Has anybody been successful at keeping predators at bey?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ChickMami, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    I started building the coop/run this week and the more I read the more nervous I'm becoming! I live in a residential area with fenced in yards (6' high fences between neighbors) and the predators I am concerned w/ are hawks, possums and mice. I have never seen a raccoon here but the neighbors say they have- so not 100% but they are probably lurking, too.

    Has anyone here been completely successful at securing their run/coop? I'm terrified of doing something wrong and jeopardizing the hens! So far I'm making it an enclosed run 8L x 8W x 6H and will use 1/4" hardware mesh. I'm just wondering though if even that will be enough?
     
  2. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are in a very predator heavy area, wilderness on all sides, so we have many animals that would like to make a meal of our chickens.

    We lost two cockerels to a bobcat when they were free-ranging (who is still at large), but we do have a run and coop that we feel is pretty much predator proof (unless a bear decides to break in). We also no longer let them free range unless one of us is outside with them.

    We have 6 ft chain link fencing with skirting buried three feet out from the run all around and also have heavy duty chain link stretched across the top and secured, our coop is up off the ground and locked at night, because we have raccoons around and I've heard that they can learn to unlatch doors if they aren't locked. We have heavy duty mesh screen built into the ventilation openings in the coop and have covers for them when it's windy or really cold. We also have very small hole wire fencing running along the outside of the fence about three feet high. We initially put it there to keep the chicks in when they were little, but we leave it to keep mice and snakes from going through the chain link.

    I'm told that nothing is absolutely predator proof, but we feel pretty confident that our chickens are safe when they are in the run or coop. We had that bobcat visit day before yesterday and I saw him standing outside the run looking at our chickens through the fence (the poor chickens screaming their heads off to alert us). He ran off when he saw me coming, but I don't think he could have gotten in even if we hadn't been there.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    1/2" is probably better, it has small enough squares and heavier wires. Just make sure you fasten it really well, lots of screws and washer work best...or trim boards covering all edges attached with lots of screws.
     
  4. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the replies! That makes me feel better!

    As far as 1/4" v 1/2" mesh, i was thinking 1/4" would be better in regards to mice. Is that not so? I'm curious as to why the larger of the two is best. Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Because it's made with heavier wire.
     
  6. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    Aaaah I see!.
     
  7. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm never worried about mice as my girls think they're rather tasty. I don't encourage them, I keep feed well secured, but I know my girls will deal with them should they manage to sneak in the door.

    If you're really worried about mice, check out the Buckeye breed of chicken. They're supposedly as good at catching mice as a cat. I don't have any but I'm considering adding them to the flock at a future date.

    http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/buckeye.html
     
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  8. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    I have had very good result from using electric poultry net (summer only because of snow), I do not close the small door, the owls have not ventured into the small opening going into the big barn. send me a pm if you want product links.
     
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  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m afraid I’m going to scare you but that’s not my intention. I want to alert you. If you talk to your local animal control and are here in the US, I’d be surprised if you don’t have raccoons, possums, skunks, feral cats, members of the weasel family, rats, and snakes. In many suburban areas you will have bobcats, foxes, fisher cats, and coyotes. You almost certainly have owls and hawks. Dogs are often a huge threat but those 6’ fences will help a bunch with that. Many of those things climb.

    In spite of that list, you can make a pretty predator-proof set-up. You are not likely to be able to keep mice out. They can squeeze through some very small holes and chew through wood. The chicken feed will attract them. Even if you secure the feed well (and I recommend keeping it in a metal container with a good lid like a metal garbage can) the food the chickens spill will attract them. My chickens certainly don’t keep the mice cleaned out, especially at night. I trap them to try to keep the numbers down and feed them to the chickens, but I know I’ll never totally eliminate them.

    I use the philosophy of having a predator resistant run (I won’t call it predator proof but it really is highly resistant) and lock them in a more predator-proof coop at night. That adds another layer of protection even if you think your run is predator proof, plus more things come out at night and have more free time to look for weaknesses.

    Predators can strike at any time, even the ones that people mistakenly think are out only at night, but many people successfully keep their chickens safe even with all these threats around. An apron around the run is very successful in stopping digging predators. Take a sheet of wire maybe 18” to 24”, lay it flat around your run, attach it firmly to the bottom of your run, and maybe take the sod up and place that over the apron. The predator goes up to the fence, starts to dig, hits the wire, and does not know to back up.

    A roof can make a big difference, either solid or just out of wire. It will stop any flying or climbing predator from getting in.

    Be careful around your gates. They can be points of weakness, but you can build them solid enough that they work. And don’t go real small on your hardware. Hinges need to be robust. So does your locking hardware. Make sure your hasp is large enough for your lock to fit too.

    I agree that ½” hardware cloth is a good choice because the gauge is probably heavier, which means the number will be lower. The secret for either one to be successful though is how you attach it. That attachment is often the weakness.

    No one can give you any guarantees, but plenty of people are successful in keeping their chickens safe. Good luck!

    Ocap, I had an owl land inside my electric netting and go into a coop to get a chicken this past summer. I was out late and did not get the pop door closed at dusk.
     
  10. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    interesting !!!! we had a Coopers hawk fly into our run through a six by two foot door (day time). I hear the owls all the time and just had a bald eagle fly over. Mountain Lion hit by a car five miles north of down town Kansas City. two bob cat kittens at the end of our driveway. Fox walked up to the edge of my chicken's run and tried to figure out a way inside (day time). Closed the door to the coop late one night and closed a Opossum inside, killed several chickens and a pea hen before I found it.
     

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