How to keep sparrows out of AZ Coop w/Free Ranging Chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by horsepowerhaven, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. horsepowerhaven

    horsepowerhaven Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 20, 2009
    Queen Creek, Arizona
    I'm getting ready to upgrade my coop as I have completely fallen in love with chickens and want more. Right now I have 9 crammed into a small coop (only at night, they free range during the day) with 2 nesting boxes--which isn't a problem as only 3 hens are old enough to lay.

    I'll try to post pictures of the coop I have and the plans for the new coop. Right now my coop has a "human door" that I leave open during the day for the hens to go in for food, water, to lay an egg, etc.

    My problem is I now have hundreds of sparrows eating all my chicken feed. I was feeding organic, but switched to regular since 1/2 of it is going to wild birds.

    Here in AZ we don't have bad weather often enough for a completely enclosed coop--it would be way too hot during the summer without A/C. My coop needs lots of ventilation and protection from rain storms and wind. All the coop designs on this site are wonderful--but too closed up and they all have runs (which I don't need).

    Sooo... How the heck do I keep the sparrows out of my new coop? We are going to have a small door for the chickens with the new coop, but the sparrows could still get into the coop through this door. I don't need a run, as the chickens free range all over my property and around the horse stalls.

    I've thought about a chicken wire "hallway" or "runway" on the outside of the coop that the hens would have to walk through to get "free". Although, I'm worried that this might confuse them when they want to go back into the coop--just the chicken wire walls sometimes confuses them in finding the door that I leave open.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Tucson
    My Coop
    Hello from a fellow Arizonan. Check out my BYC page for pics of a highly ventilated coop. Until a couple weeks ago I also had a wild bird problem, but that is fixed now through a variety of means (putting hardware cloth cloth over the larger wire of the coop, making a curtain for the doorway and making a treadle feeder). It doesn't sound like the wild kingdom when I walk outside my back door anymore and that is O.K. by me. The amount of feed the wild birds can eat is surprising. They were eating more than my chickens were.
     
  3. ekemily

    ekemily Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
  5. horsepowerhaven

    horsepowerhaven Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 20, 2009
    Queen Creek, Arizona
    Wow! Your coop and run is beautiful. That cloth hanging down is a great idea. I could see how the darn sparrows would just crawl right through, though.

    I love the treadle feeder concept. How do you teach the chickens to use it? I have an 18 year old boyfriend to one of the girls that keeps her horse with me building me my new coop. He put together really nice plans, but we were both stumped about the wild bird problem. I'm sure with the plans you have he could build me this feeder with no problem.

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You could dispense with free choice auto feeders and just feed once a day in a trough style feeder. As your birds free range they have access to foraged foods that penned birds do not, so they won't be deprived.

    I feed in the evenings and only as much as my flock will eat at that time. This keeps the rodents from eating your feeds and may also eliminate your sparrows as well. When all your hungry gals storm that trough each evening I can't imagine a sparrow would have a chance at the feed.

    I wrap my trough in wire so the chickens can't flick out food nor scratch it out.
     
  7. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    It's my pleasure. I just updated the treadle feeder page with a description of the training program. I'll try to get pics soon. I really like the feeders.
     
  8. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

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    Glendale, AZ
    We had the same problem - tons of sparrows even though the entire chain link run was covered with chicken wire. We covered it with bird netting and that has helped tremoundously, but we still have a couple spots we couldn't reach to cover (on the roof) and some of the birds have discovered how to get back in.

    I love the treadle idea - does it work with bantams too? We have a few frizzles in our flock of full-size chickens. I'm wondering if they would be heavy enough to open it.
     
  9. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    Quote:I first covered my coop with bird netting and it worked to keep the birds out very well, but also worked as a kind of desert gill net for lizards. [​IMG] We have so many lizards I had to replace it with hardware cloth. I think you can make the treadle feeder to open with as much or little weight as needed. I re-engineered my first feeder so that it now opens with just about 12 oz. of weight. I don't have bantams, but I don't know why it wouldn't work.
     
  10. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

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    I'm definitely going to have to talk my hubby into building a treadle for me.
     

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