Help! Newbie with questions for coop, run, predators, etc

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by radishgirl, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. radishgirl

    radishgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 4, 2013
    Placerville, CA
    Im a newbie. :)

    We have 12 layers, 2 roosters and 4 bantam show birds. They have a fenced area that is appx 40x40' but they choose to hang out in the rest of the yard instead.

    Our biggest problem is hawks - we're lost 4-5 birds in the past year. Id love to have ideas on the our large space and how to get birds to stay there and keep em safe :)

    Thanks for any advice
    Regina

    A picture is worth a 1,000 words...

    From Front
    "Run" on left measure 16x16', 4 bantams stay in at all times, all other birds free-range all day.
    [​IMG]



    From back - open area measures appx 50x50'
    Tall building has secure area with 3x7' space for more roosting/boxes.
    **How do I get chickens to stay back here!?**
    **Thinking about adding ducks, would they like the coop in the taller building?**

    [​IMG]


    Main coop - 2 long 2x4s for roosting + 6 boxes. The co-op builder said this should house up to 20 birds.
    **Does that seem okay?**

    [​IMG]
     
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Taylors, SC
    The free ranging birds will always be at risk of loss to hawks. Being out in the open makes them prime targets. They will stay in the fenced area if you close the gate. If the fence is 6 feet tall, it should be tall enough to keep them inside.

    If they continue to free range, providing more shelter for them to flee to in the event of an attack will help.

    The main coop shown is difficult to evaluate. Guidelines are 4 square feet per chicken in the coop. If the coop is to house 20 chickens, it would need to have 80 square feet of flooring. That would be 2-1/2 sheets of plywood, for example. Each sheet is 32 square feet.

    Chris
     
  3. radishgirl

    radishgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 4, 2013
    Placerville, CA
    thank you! regarding extra shelter, we have very little brush but I am looking into planting some new shrubs to keep them safe. any ideas?

    regarding fencing, the gate is only 4' tall and of course that is where they get out. I may be able to add to it.??

    regarding coop - if they only sleep there, well a few sleep outside the coop, do i still need that guideline (4sf per bird)?

    THANK YOU!
     
  4. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    The guidelines are exactly that. I added another coop for the additional birds, so that the space guidelines would be met. All the chickens moved into the first coop. No one uses the other coop. So I have 10 birds in 32 square feet of coop. They have a 16 x 20 run. They forage most of the day, so the time-average space is good.

    I suspect that the chickens don't read the guidelines.

    Chris
     
  5. radishgirl

    radishgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 4, 2013
    Placerville, CA
    lol, i thought all chickens knew how to read! :)
     
  6. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Westfield, Indiana
    Ours free range in an acre fenced area and the fencing is 50" high. They use to get out every so often over the gates. I added some additional fencing at the gates to make them less inviting (the gates were at the same height as the fence but they had pipes at the top instead of barbed wire at the fencing). They stay inside now. As Chris mentioned, alot of hiding places will help with the odds of hawk attacks. The roos should keep a look out and give alerts when they see danger. I am not sure if you have poles and netting over your 40x40 run but that would help alot as well. If you are handy with tools, I would connect your coops together. This way you can give your birds some choices.
     
  7. radishgirl

    radishgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 4, 2013
    Placerville, CA
    Im sorta handy. But I want to cover the whole thing in netting (bird netting right?).
    Any ideas on how to execute this? Seems like it would sag, and the oak trees will be in the way...

    If you have seen this, could you point me in the right direction, photos would be awesome!
     
  8. MayDayMel

    MayDayMel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2013
    Trinity, AL
    Hi, I'm pretty new to this myself, but I had some small trees that were in the way as well. I took some of the bird netting and chicken wire and ran it across the top, and where it cam up against the trees I put a teacup hook and hooked the wire onto it. Everyone said to staple/nail it, but with the teacup hook I can adjust it as I need to easily if I have sagging, or as the trees grow. Hope it helps!
     
  9. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member


    I have seen poles mounted on saw horses for stability and on top of the pole mount a Tether ball or basket ball. Or a circle of wood to keep from punching a hole in the net.

    I have a yard thats about one hundred by fifty and I plan to do this myself. I dont have pictures. The net will sag the trick is to lift it up high enough so the sags dont bonk your head.

    Here is a thread on rigging. First page has another idea for doing this.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/267851/aviary-netting-installation-ideas

    I have also seen pictures somewhere where a person set up swingsets for netting support.

    sorry I couldnt give you pictures.

    deb
     

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