Is it foolish to even try raising poultry in my location?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Stumpy, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. Stumpy

    Stumpy Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    For a while now I have been very interested in raising just a few ducks or chickens for eggs. I am a stay-at-home wife and have never had any sort of livestock, although I grew up in a family where stray or orphaned animals of all sorts were taken in and cared for. I live in a clearing in the woods on a lake in the southeast. Our lot has very little level ground, just a bit of front yard. There are eagles, hawks, owls, coyotes, snakes and raccoons in the area.

    I have always assumed I would have to build a coop out of hardware cloth and treated lumber, hoping to use left-over metal roofing on the top. I also thought I would need to bury the wire all the way around and have a very tight-fitting and locking door. I love the idea of a chicken tractor, but have never understood how they can just sit on the ground without all sorts of predators coming underneath, especially snakes.

    Is it simply foolish to try to raise chickens or ducks in these surroundings? I liked the idea of ducks because of their hardiness, and just that I am more drawn to them, but I like the fact that chickens could do without water to swim in.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. tx_dane_mom

    tx_dane_mom Songster

    Sep 23, 2007
    SE Texas
    I don't think you are foolish to want them, certainly not! But as you are aware of your predators, you know you are going to have to take extra precautions, like you mentioned.
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Foolish?? No way! You know your predator situation and just need to build accordingly. Bury the fencing at least 6 inches at an angle outwards....also....around the coop. Attach the fencing to the outside walls, and bury as well. Make sure the flooring is strong...and there are no ways for the preds to get in. A good roof on the run....netting, fencing...whatever you can afford. As long as they are in a secure coop at night, all should be well. Have fun building the coop, and just enjoy your chickens! Oh, and dont forget...4 sq ft each standard size chicken in the coop, and 10 sq ft in the run. So, build BIGGER than what you want to start out with. If you want 5 or for 15 or 20. Its a VERRY addictive raise chickens. [​IMG]
  4. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    get chickens...........and ducks.............
  5. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * stumpy, how many chickens would you need for your family at avg. of 1 egg laid per hen, every other day??? How many eggs does your family consume and use for baked goods, hard-boiling, etc.?? You may not need as much room as you are thinking since it seems you'd have a tough time free-ranging. Do you have some kind of outbuilding that might convert into a coop???
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:I live in the southeast, on a hillside, surrounded on 3 sides by woods with a subdivision out in front of me, and close to a state park wildlife area and the Chattahoochee river.
    I have every predator you've named plus possums, stray dogs & cats from the subdivision and an odd bear now and then.

    As long as you make your coop & run predator proof you shouldn't have problems.

    I've never lost a chicken to a predator.
  7. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    If you wanted to still do a chicken-tractor you could always build on with a wire floor. The chickens would still have to stand on wire, but it wouldn't be near as bad because the wire would be on the ground. The chickens would still be able to dig and forage, just not to the extent they would without a floor. If I were to build a chicken-tractor, I would use the 2"x4" wire(sometimes called dog-wire) for the floor. Just be careful when moving it with a wire floor, you don't want to get any fee or toes.

    Chickens and ducks are always worth the risk. LOL. I agree, get both! Ducks and chickens both have their own personalities and benefits. You'll enjoy both!

  8. S0rcy

    S0rcy Songster

    If you are scraped for money, try the local hardware/home improvement store scrap bins. I have actually found excellent sized wood pieces in these bins that often don't get sold. I built my greenhouse and taught some people in New York how to build cold frames from the scrap bins. I'm sure that enough material could be found for you to build a secure area for your friends [​IMG]
  9. I'm sure we have as many predators as you, and though we've been slugging away in cold weather getting our coop ready (see link below) I'm certain that the extra precautions are worth it. I have a model example of a small-operations poultryman nearby who is hugely successful and I make mental notes of what he does that is superior. Then again, a friend nearby lost all her hens because she was careless and didn't cover her run. She has two cranky roosters left and they are harried by everything above them on the food chain. Our nearest poultry neighbor used to raise a few broilers and kept a few layers, but as he said, the last few years have brought a rise in raptors and the coyotes and raccoons are very bold. He's fighting cancer and may improve his run this year (he has great coops) but without the extra effort you'll be miserable and lose birds.

    Another issue is self-sufficiency. Food costs are skyrocketing and having a source of protein on the property is a wise move. We're increasing our garden too this year, for that reason.

    I think you'll be very happy once the work is done!

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  10. Stumpy

    Stumpy Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Red Rooster, that’s fantastic to hear. Our places sound similar. We are able to view a bald eagle’s nest from our deck during the winter with binoculars and one day this week I almost stepped on a copperhead by our steps. Right now the whole idea is just a dream of mine, and DH is not on board with the idea. I wanted to learn as much about it as possible.

    d.k., it’s just the two of us, so I thought two chickens and two ducks would be sufficient, especially considering our level ground limitations. (I’ve imagined a floating duck tractor that I could take down to the lake so the ducks could enjoy a swim without escaping.)

    We have an old well-house which is about to fall down, but perhaps if we get around to replacing it, we could expand to include a coop.

    Sorcy, you’re my kind of woman! J I have often eyed those bins myself. Money is an object. There is an old turkey coop on nearby family property which I could scavenge from also. We discovered it a few weeks ago. It is more of a wooden clapboard structure with tin roof and heavy duty wooden nest boxes. Would it be a bad idea to reuse the nest boxes?

    I appreciate all of the encouragement. This place is a goldmine of information.

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