How to keep predators out

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by johndeerematt, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. johndeerematt

    johndeerematt Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 27, 2013
    Adams, nebraska
    I am new to chickens, and I have a building that I have fixed up for a coop. The building has plenty of ventilation. I am wondering what I need to do to do to keep out predators and such out of the coop and pen. I don't have the chicks yet, I just want to be proactive and not lose too many!
     
  2. MBWeber

    MBWeber Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 19, 2012
    Montana
    John, well depending on the buildings conditions you may have repairs that need to be done. My chicken house is over 100 years old and needed boards replaced and wire over the windows. But I went with wire on both sides(inside and outside). My fence is 8 ft high and there were pre-exsisting railroad ties there so I attached the bottom of the fence to that. My saying is you can't overbuild.
     
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  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Decide on the dimension of your pen and what it is to be made of. Try to avoid chicken wire as it does a good job of keeping chickens in but a poor job of keeping predators out. You can use it as fencing but at the very least use hardware cloth around the perimeter about 18" up (even bury it a few inches to keep digging predators at bay). HW cloth prevents raccoons from reaching through chicken wire and snagging a chicken and eating it from the other side of the wire. Depending on your situation you may also want to cover the top to keep out flying and climbing predators. Keep in mind, chicken wire is cheap - but even with HW cloth around the bottom, a determined predator (like a dog) can get through chicken wire with enough time. Good luck to you!
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Think layers of protection. Some of your fencing material is more likely to be challenged than other parts owing to location. Ground level I will use two types of overlapping fencing. Even chicken wire can be an effective backup. Consider how digging predators will operate. Also make birds roost in elevated location that is difficult for climbers like raccoons and opposums to reach. I also arrange roost so birds can be counted at a glance.


    I also like to make so birds roost clear of fencing as close proximity makes results in predator investing more effort. I also like have flock divided so not all birds lost in one event.


    On your behavior end, check the birds each night after they go to roost. I go to extreme of sleeping with windows open and even use baby monitor at times when predator known to be targeting my birds. I now cheat by having dogs which handle predators very nicely.
     
  5. johndeerematt

    johndeerematt Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 27, 2013
    Adams, nebraska
    Thanks for the help everyone!
     
  6. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2011
    Wright Co Minnesota
    I used a 2 chambered pen design. One pen is about 12X12, other is 12X8, tapering down to the 8" dimension. There is a 1"X1 1/2" wire fencing screen forming a common wall between the 2. This ensures that any large predator attempting to enter will have to enter 3 gates in the fence before getting into the coop. Predators get very claustrophobic and don't like the multiple doors. I tested it with the cat. She freaked out after entering the first gate and not readily finding the entrance or exit and I had to rescue her. The chickens know the way well enough giving them more time to escape and evade. They also have stepped roosts inside from 1.5 to 4 feet off ground giving them additional escape options should something get in. My wide mesh wire fencing is sunken 3" into heavy clay and capped with trap rock to discourage digging by predators and chickens. I have 10" from ground level hardware cloth around the perimeter to discourage smaller predators such as mink and weasels. I have only ever lost chickens in the yard while they were ranging.
     
  7. MBWeber

    MBWeber Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 19, 2012
    Montana
    Learned a valuable lesson yesterday. When I got up I noticed my ducks where roaming everywhere. Not good. found I was missing one, not good. Found her too late. Found where something had torn a hole in the pen which is how the others managed to escape. I started building Alcatraz and was including a tree in the pen. Night came and with the pen solidly repaired but not finished I went inside. Something told me about 10pm to go outside and when I did I found a Raccoon digging at the wire on the pen, But he went up the tree that I was going to fence off. So from now on no pens with tress I don't plant myself !
     
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