Help With Keeping Chickens Safe

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by appletrails, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. appletrails

    appletrails New Egg

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    Mar 5, 2013
    We are going to get chickens for the first time this spring. Our new farm has a very nice existing coop that previous owner had chickens in. He converted an old garage into a large chicken coop with very secure runs that are all done with chicken wire, NOT hardware cloth. There are 3 strands of electric fence along bottom about 1 ft apart and the wood on the runs along ground is buired where it meets the ground and there is gravel all along the edge. It seems secure to us but we are green to this and I am worried about finding a coop full of dead chickens some morning as we will not be there at night. This farm is out in the middle of nowhere and we do not live there, so chickens will be all alone exept for some chicken-friendly barn cats and a cow. Past owner did not live on property either, but he had goats and lamas. We are totally new to raising chickens. Does anyone think a coon or other animals will get into a large, secure coop like this with large run made with only chicken wire and electric fence? Anything more we can do extra to be sure they are kept safe? Is that Night Watch product with the blinking red lights something that works? Thanks!

    Edited by appletrails - Today at 10:48 am
     
  2. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would put 1/2 inch hardware cloth 3 feet up from the ground and attach it to the chickenwire with zip ties. Raccoons like to reach through chicken wire and grab chickens. They will eat them right through the chickenwire. You never know when the electricity could go off and you would be left with only chickenwire. Also dogs, coyotes, and other large predators can go right through chicken wire. Rats and opossums can chew right through it. Better safe than sorry.
     
  3. mammat

    mammat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have any photos?
     
  4. appletrails

    appletrails New Egg

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    Mar 5, 2013
    Thank you! I thought about posting some photos for more imput....will get some detail pictures this week-end if I can get through all the snow and you can see how large the run is.... Was thinking hardware cloth is needed, it is just such a big run....?? We are getting chickens in April..so we have some time to make improvements. Thanks.
     
  5. Dawna

    Dawna Out Of The Brooder

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    You could use solar lights. They are so inexpensive now. I have them in pairs at each corner of our pen and some extra pairs if you have more than 10 ft space.
    If your cats are surviving I think you have a pretty good chance of the chickens, too. Could you check on them every day?
     
  6. BillHoo

    BillHoo Out Of The Brooder

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    The expense of hardware cloth and electric fencing is just good insurance. Constantly upgrade and check each week for anything the size of a quarter that some critter can squeeze in through.

    Better safe than sorry.

    Also look around for trees. Cut them down! they may not be close enough to be a problem now, but in a few years, you may have a branch reach close enough for a critter to jump onto the roof and find a way in.
     
  7. DianaMallory

    DianaMallory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in the woods, we have many predators. From hawks to coyotes. My run is completely enclosed with hardware cloth, including buried 6 inches in the ground. Last night I caught my first coon of season. It had tried to dig under my run, didn't work. After that it ate all my wild birdseed out of the feeder, spilled most of it on the ground. This is my 3rd flock. My first 2 were massacred by predators and I choose never to go through that again. So Predator proofing was my first priority this time around. I highly recommend doing all the research you can before placing your chickens in their home. If I had not done the research this time I probably wouldn't have my flock right now. I have been visited by many coons,opossums, Ferrell cats and coopers hawks. My girls get locked in the coop every night. The windows in the coop even have hard ware cloth across the screens. 11 of my girls will be 1 year old in April. The other 5, in august. I get 12 to 16 eggs a day. I don't know how you are going to care for yours if you don't live there. I check on my girls at least 3 times a day. Many times I have gone out to empty water dishes right after filling them. Good luck and please take predator proofing seriously. Or it could be a real bad experience.
     
  8. BillHoo

    BillHoo Out Of The Brooder

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    It just amazes me when I read the Predator thread that they all have the same story.

    "I found a headless hen, but they were secured with CHICKEN WIRE all around. What could have done this?"

    Weasel, Mink, Raccoon, rat, possum etc. They all can reach in through the chicken wire and pull a chicken through.

    How skinny can a fox get?

    This skinny:


    My neighbors saw a fox squeze under a 1 inch gap under their run after the power for their electric fence wire went off for ONE HOUR. They can hear the feint hum of the charger when it is on or off. Took 5 chicks. they saw him as he was leaving with the last one.
     
  9. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    Shoot,my dog just steps on the chicken wire and then over it! Coons just chew through that stuff.Get the good fencing.Also keep a havahart set 24/7.There is ALWAYS another predator. I have caught over 40 coons and possums(in a year),and I have little doubt there are more in the woods.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I wouldn't put chickens where you can't check on them morning and night.
     
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