Hawks, fox, dog, squirrles, cats and voles.. oh my!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MarylandChick, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. MarylandChick

    MarylandChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2007
    A.A. County MD
    I have many hawks around my property. The first day I moved my chickens to their first outside run I was adjusting the birds netting over the run when suddenly a hawk swooped down at my chickens just feet from me and then got caught in the nets for a few secounds and flew away. Then I got thicker bolder looking plastic chicken netting instead so no hawks would get caught in it. Then squirrels kept knawing their way in so I got metal chicken wire but that didn't stop them. After my neighbors dog or a fox dug it's way in and killed the whole flock we started on a new set up on a different part of the property.

    Closer to the house my husband built a shed-like coop and we attached a chainlink dog run to it. We put metal chicken wire on top too. There are 1 foot square cement slabs around the base of the run so no one can dig in or out. In our new flock of chickens we were sure to get a Jersey Giant rooster in hopes he might help protect the chickens or at least make enough noise so we'd know there was trouble and to go help the flock. Oh he lets us know alright.. he lets us know when anything goes near the coop. He crows when he sees people, birds, butterflies, bats, rain or wind![​IMG]

    Squirrels are in and out of the thing daily and the stupid rooster who occasionally attacks me for whatever reason :mad: seems to fear them which has resulted is us having a group of about 8 morbidly obese squirrels and higher chicken feed costs. :mad:I tried squirrls repellant sprays and such but they did nothing. I've given up trying to keep them out of my coop. Maybe they will get so fat they won't be able to fit through the chain link one day.[​IMG]

    Hawks circle the hen house and run from time to time but were never an issue untill recently when I let the chickens out to free range (They get 1-3 hours a day.) Less than 1 minutes after I opened the gate and walked into the house to wash my hands I looked out the window and saw a hawk fly by with my Barred Rock chicken in her clutches. I ran outside and all the chickens were hysterical. I shooed them into the coop and shut the gate and door so it was quiet and looked all over the woods in the direction I saw the hawk fly as I listened for my chicken. I was in tears on my cell telling my husband what hapened when suddenly I found my chicken coming from the woods of my nextdoor neighbors property. Her chicken saddle/apron was unsnapped on one side and falling off the other but other then that she was reasonably okay. We figure the hawk grabbed her by the back and when the buckel came undone the hawk accidently dropped her. (She was also probably a bit too big a load for the chicken hawk to carry too.) I guess she must have fallen. Pretty cool huh![​IMG]

    I also have trouble with my neighbors darn cats. She keeps adobting "barn cats" from some cat horrder. Then she lets them loose in her yard thinking they will keeps pests out of her horse barn but the only result has been in that at least 6 of them live in my barn and garage and they are getting pregnant and having kittens like crazy. I am always finding the cats near the coop. I once caught a cat about 1 sec. from pouncing on one of my hens when I had the free ranging. I tried to scare it off but I ended up scaring teh chicken more and then the cat ignored me and went after the chicken who ran to safety just in time.

    Now I never let the chickens out unless I'm nearby outside to supervise.

    Oh and recently I got a zillion voles (they are like mice and moles) who keep burrowing around the coop. Taking the food away at night didn't help because there are always corm crumbs and such. I worry if I poison them they may die in the coop and then kill my chickens who might nibble on their bodies. I stamps on their tunnels everyday and sometimes I blast the them with the hose. It really doesn't help though.

    I have no ideas left to use against the preditors. I feel like I have tried everything. I'm thinking I need to cave and just go ahead and get some electric netting and zap the heck out of these critters for a while. It'd be such a pain in the butt and wallet to go that route so I'm open to any sudjestions.

    [​IMG]
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  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Nice chickens you have there! That is lucky the BR was dropped by the hawk. The saddle must be what saved her. The only suggestion I can think of right now, is maybe lining the chain link fencing with either chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep the squirrels from squeezing through. I have moles that come into my coop, so I do not have any ideas there. I just stomp on their mounds, too. Gopher traps may work, but we do not have much luck with those.
     
  3. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    SO glad you got your BR girl back! Thank goodness for the apron/saddle! Hope you get your varmint issues settled... [​IMG]
     
  4. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    have your husband urinate around the coop area. that will help some with the preditors. try to keep a tidy coop and try to dispatch any preditors possible. this should help a lttle but wont solve it completely. good luck
     
  5. MarylandChick

    MarylandChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2007
    A.A. County MD
    My squirrels actually bite through metal chicken wire and pull back the wire to make room for them to squeeze thru. They are like evil piggish incredible hulk squirrels! Too bad my rooster is afraid of them! I really did think he'd chase them off but nope, when the squirrels are in the coop or run the chickns all huddle on the other side of the coop. It happenes several times a day. I think maybe I should just put food out for them outside of the cage so at least the chickens won't be bothered. I hate admitting defeat though.
     
  6. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    so, other than to save your chickens from hawks, what're the saddle thingys for???
     
  7. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Yep, I know what you mean about the squirrels, here, gophers have chewed through metal garbage cans.
     
  8. MarylandChick

    MarylandChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2007
    A.A. County MD
    The though human urine only kept away deer?

    The chicken saddels are for the hens who get so torn up from rough sex![​IMG] My rooster really tears at the poor hens. [​IMG] Most of them have very few feathers left on their backs and one needed stiches on her sides. Some had torn up bruised and bloodied shoulders. The saddles protect their skin and feathers from the claws of my rooster because trimming the claws didn't really seem to help [​IMG] The fact that the hawk couldn't get a good grip on the hen was an unexpected surpirse benefit. :DThe other benefit is that they look quite silly and you get to deal with neighbors who think you are some crazy woman [​IMG] who likes dressing her chickens up in funny capes.[​IMG] Ever since the saddles arrived in the mail I never have to go running out to the coop with Tri-Care antibiotic ointment.
     
  9. nautical_bouy

    nautical_bouy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    Beaver PA
    Why don't you kill off the tree rats and cats??? Milk weed spore will take care of moles, it kills the grubs they are after.
     
  10. orchidchick

    orchidchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    I had the same problems with the squirrels in the chain link run. When they started boxing the girls ears for sport and they were left cowerering in the corner I got really annoyed!
    The bottom three feet of the run is hardware cloth. So I went thru the trouble of putting up plastic (duh, I know) hex cloth around the rest of it, it was cheap! Of course, they chewed several holes through it in like a day and were back in the feeder. But what they didn't know, was that they now had a really ticked off menopausal crazy lady whose only weapon was......a Windex spray bottle! Take that you wiley varmint! (Please don't try this at home) After I got a good workout for a few days, and they bounced off the chain link because they couldn't instantly get out before they remembered their chew hole, there was only one squirrel left who would dare the "crazy woman". "Bring it on!!!"
    I then became rational once again, bought a roll of chicken wire and covered the remainder of the run. Chicken wire is great rolled up and stuffed into weird openings as well that you just can't attach to. They are so fat, they cannot fit thru those holes in the wire. I do throw them a token handful of scratch daily to keep them that way and we have peace in the yard again. If they get in again, I will find some people who like target practice and I believe I remember there is one member here who is a real lover of squirrel meat, I'll have to look her up!
    Good luck!
    Orchidchick
     

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