Keeping the Predators Out

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jaku, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. jaku

    jaku Songster

    Hello all- I just joined this site, and am new to chickens (I finally talked my wife into letting me get them:D) and this forum is GREAT! Please forgive my stupid questions for a little while until I learn a bit.

    Anyways, I read through some of the predator threads and haven't been able to find much on keeping the predators out. I just ordered 25 Cornish from McMurray to be delivered in the spring, and I'm planning on using one of the PVC tractors (the plan that's posted here in a few threads.) What is the best way to keep the critters out? I live in the Michigan woods, so the list of animals looking for fresh chicken will be long! I was thinking of putting cinder blocks on the corners to hold it down, then putting some type of a wire skirt on the thing all around- since it will be moved every day, I won't be able to bury fencing. Then I'll probably stake the skirt down.

    Any thoughts on that- will it work? Do the PVC pens work alright in general? Seems like a great option for both weight and cost.

  2. newchickmom

    newchickmom Songster

    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Hi, I'm new to chickens too.
    Your idea about the skirt sounds pretty good to me. I think I read that one somewhere on here.

    I have a regular coup and run so I'm not sure how a tractor could be made predator-proof other than the skirt.
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Do not use chicken wire. If you are in a place with known predators I wouldn't use the PVC styled tractor. A large animal can tear those apart in no time flat. You will need to build something more substantial.

    Once an animal gets it in mind to have your chickens for a meal there isn't much that will stop them. They will keep at it until they breech your containment area. They will come back repeatedly until there is nothing left for them to eat.

    Use welded wire like hardware cloth. It is more expensive but the can't tear right through it.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  4. jaku

    jaku Songster

    Quote:Thanks for the info so quickly- would a tractor made from 2x2's be better then, or is there even a way to secure a movable structure from predators? Am I correct that hardware cloth is "fencing" similar to chicken wire, only with square openings that are about 1/2 inch wide? I've read some posts here mentioning it, but wasn't positive as to what it was.
  5. muddler6

    muddler6 Songster

    Sep 12, 2007
    Jefferson County, PA
    You are correct about the hardware cloth, but I would not use it for an entire enclosure. It is heavier and more expensive. My suggestion is to find a location where you can build a perminant or semi-perminant sturcture. Those cornish X's will leave quite a mess where ever they go. If you look at my page (Blue link below), you'll see the set up I used for the 15 I raised last spring. It is now my cochin egg layer house. One thing I learned quickly, is they are not able to climb steep ramps once they start puttin on weight. So my new set up I plan will be a lower coop and a 12x12 run attached. To keep the predators out, your idea about a skirt should help on a movable structure. Good luck on your new adventure with chickens. I had to convince my wife too, but now she sees things my way, well sometimes.
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Hardware cloth is welded wire. The smallest I have seen here has about 1cm openings to as large as 1/2 and inch or so. If you use something with too much of a hole raccoons and such can get a claw in (even a house cat) and grab a chicken and kill it.

    There are many designs for tractors on wheels that aren't too heavy to move around yourself (or even pull with a riding lawnmower/tractor/4 wheeler/truck/etc.) and tow rope/chain. I believe Mark here at BYC built one on wheels that looked pretty cool and was easily mobile for him.

    Lots of critters like chicken as much as we do. Keep that always in mind when building your enclosure. Some critters attack from above, some dig from below, some try to tear right through the middle. Many succeed.

    If you ordered meat birds (not just cornish hens) those meat chickens (cornish rock crosses) grow seriously fast. By 8 - 12 weeks it is all over but the BBQing. They create ALOT of poop. When I say alot and you think alot, multiple what you are thinking by 10 and then double it. I mean alot. LOL They get so big they crowd easily and also will begin to lay around when walking to the feed pot is too taxing. They will lay at the feeders and eat. They won't be able to fly away or run away fast enough is something tears open your tractor.

    Those birds also have their unique stench. They will draw predators due to the smell.

    Just keep it all in mind.

    I wish you much success.
  7. jaku

    jaku Songster

    How effective would it be to be proactive and set out live traps near my birds to catch any curious predators from the beginning, before I have a problem? I'm thinking that would either reduce the population, and lure the curious ones in with the "easy" meal, rather than tearing into my pen, or it could be a never ending, nightly catch considering what is probably a huge population of raccoons and nasty possums in the woods around my house.
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Try it. It can't hurt. It would a real shame to invest so much time and effort (not to mention $$) in birds to only have some local wildlife enjoy the fruits of your labors early on.
  9. picklespickles

    picklespickles Songster

    Oct 27, 2007
    thanks for the mention of the meat birds have their own way of drawing predators. i feel reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaly lucky not to have a lot of predators here except for dogs. that is good to know that there could be more of a problem. also i hadn't thought about that my birds now get away from pretty much anything they want and that these would be more sluggish.
  10. Xtradust

    Xtradust Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Orange, CA
    or it could be a never ending, nightly catch considering what is probably a huge population of raccoons and nasty possums in the woods around my house.


    Trappin's like fishin'!​

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