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How to re-enforce chicken tractor against predators

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicknmania, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Hello we have a chicken tractor which is pretty large, it's about 4 X 8, 6 feet high, and it has an a-frame type roof, which permits a person to walk inside. It has a latchable door on hinges, that a person can walk through. The entire thing is constructed of PCV pipe, which was an idea I had so that we could make it a decent size, but light enough to move around easily.. .It is also wrapped in chicken wire. ( I guess I could post a picture of it, but I'm just now thinking about writing this, and it's dark...so I guess I could post pics tomorrow, if necessary). We have had and used this tractor every year, for about eight years, and never had a problem with predators getting in.

    This year, though we are having a terrible problem with predators. We are battling foxes and Lord knows what else, and raccoons galore. None have tried to get into the tractor, except one raccoon who is getting into it every evening, after our chicks are put away for the night. Twice he has chewed the wire ties and punched through the chicken wire at the bottom of the tractor. The obvious solution would be to trap and dispose of him, but he's just a young one, and I hate to...plus, this year especially I think he would just be replaced by something else. We are concerned that the fox might discover how easy it is to get in the tractor, and the fox hunts during the day. How can we reenforce the chicken wire on the tractor? I thought about hardware cloth but I am not sure if it would be possible to secure it to the PCV pipe? We thought about just wrapping the bottom third of the tractor with the hardware cloth, and maybe secure it with bendable wire, and then make a separate piece to secure across the bottom third of the door. Would this work? The coon hasn't seemed to have made any effort to climb up on top of the tractor; he did try to dig under it once, but was not successful as the ground is very hard and the tractor is in a wide open area. Suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Poultry netting forming a perimeter tractor can be moved within for several days before netting must be used as well. Will keep ground dwellers away from tractor itself.


    May should have been used instead of must. There is almost always more than one approach to a problem. Too tires when typing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    What is the difference between poultry netting, hardware cloth and chicken wire? I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The coon isn't digging under it. He's punching through it. Do you mean make like an exterior perimeter fence with poultry netting?
     
  4. pauleberly

    pauleberly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Without seeing a picture it's hard to tell. Could you attach the hardware cloth to the chicken wire securely?

    You might be able to drill holes into the pvc and use a bolt/washer and attach it to the frame.

    I would also consider adding a 45 degree bend to prevent anything from being able to dig under the frame of your coop.
     
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Consider making a perimeter of electric poultry netting around the tractor. Put a hot 12 volt battery powered fencer on it and after getting zapped a few times, the coons, fox and other varmints will probably go elsewhere. The 12 volt fencer is portable and it and your poultry netting can travel with the tractor.

    Or, consider 1/2" x 1" wire cloth around the base. The stuff I use is 14 gauge wire. They can't chew through that. About 2 foot up the side from the base. Use light wire to tie it to the pvc base. If they get better at digging, wire a piece of 1" x 2" to the pvc as an apron and just lay it on the ground. Wired on one side, it will fold up on the side of your tractor when you move it and fold back down at the new location.

    In my world, poultry netting and chicken wire are the same thing. They will only keep chickens and birds in. They won't keep determined predators out. Better is 1/2" x 1/2" hardware cloth, or better still.....14 gauge welded wire of 1/2" x 1". That will. You can replace the chicken wire with this stuff, or attach it over it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  6. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Thank you very much for the suggestions. I will see if I can get a picture today if it is not raining. Wouldn't it weaken the PCV if we drill holes in it? and where would I find electric poultry netting? On line? Would it be a hazard for our chicks? They are just about five or six weeks old now and often fly around in there, I don't know if getting a jolt from flying into the fence would hurt them?
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two sources of poultry netting I'm aware of:

    The best known is Premier 1, in Iowa:

    https://www.premier1supplies.com/poultry/fencing.php

    Another is Kencove:

    http://www.kencove.com/fence/134_Poultry+Netting_resource.php

    I have some stuff from Kencove and it is impressive looking stuff. Hoping to get it hooked up today.

    Unless they somehow manage to get tangled up in it and make it to the ground and can't get away, it should not hurt them. All animals (and that includes people) quickly learn to avoid it at all costs. If they are inside the tractor, they can't get near it. Varmints can and once zapped, go elsewhere. Key to fencers is to have one that puts the hurt on em. That also helps with poultry netting that is close enough to the ground to short out to weeds. A powerful unit will keep zapping even if there is some weed contact, and some claim to burn off the weeds and grass. But you don't want to give a varmint a tickle. You want to set his tail on fire and knock his teeth loose. You want them thinking no chicken is worth that and best to move on.

    BTW, lots of uses for a fencer besides protecting chickens. I saw a unit yesterday that was setup with two low wires surrounding a patch of sweet corn. Without that, coons will have a feast and riddle it. With it in place, they move on.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I use the Kencove and neighbor uses the Premier.

    Can also be used to protect larger compost bins.
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Interesting.
     

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