Livestock Fencing Sufficient? Feeding on Demand...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ELauraD, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. ELauraD

    ELauraD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2012
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    We have enclosed our chicken run with livestock fencing. We've put it above to protect from overhead and also sunk it a foot and curved it out as well. It is heavy grade- do I need to worry for my chickens? I've been leaving their coop door open to the run all summer without any issues but am considering closing their door through the winter. There is also six windows strongly made with Plexiglas and livestock wiring as a screen built into the window frame. Do I need to add fabric - I kind of hate to suggest it to my husband when he went to so much effort and expense to get this up and running for me.

    I am also quite nervous about leaving the gate open to a fenced area to give them more free range; they are usually out of their run only when supervised. I'd like to know how much I could trust them to stay around and not venture into the neighbors areas (without my presence).

    Secondly, I have provided two plastic feeding and 2 plastic water containers, one each inside and one each outside in the run. It was my thought feeding on demand was the best way to go, but I don't want rodents either. Not that I have seen any but of course with a green belt behind us it seems to be a given. What is the program for those who control the feeding?

    We have twelve chickens that we've raised from chicks. This is our first season and happily we received our first egg yesterday (!).

    Thank you for your help in answering my questions I really appreciate it!
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How wide is the weave of the live stock fencing? Most of the time they will stay within about two hundred yards of the coop. The better foragers may go further. They may learn to fly over the fence to the neighbors if they think the grass is greener. If you control feed you give only what they will eat in a day. Since you want to pasture them they may find a good portion of their food themselves so you will have to adjust the amount you give them. Start by giving them the full amount they would eat without free ranging, then keep cutting the amount till they have cleaned it up. That amount plus a little more is the amount to feed. You have to be aware of the conditions of the pasture so you can adjust the amount accordingly
     
  3. ELauraD

    ELauraD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, The weave over the entire area is 2"x4" we also over-layed 3' high 1x2 from the ground up. The windows on the coop have the 2"x4" screen from livestock heavy gauge fencing as well as the Plexiglas window. I think I will experiment with the feed rations as you have explained them. Thank you for your detailed response, I appreciate it.
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2011
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    A 2x4 weave should be good.
     
  5. capayvalleychick

    capayvalleychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guinda CA
    I use the same type of fencing in runs, no climb horse fence it's called. It works fine for me, but I do not have problems with day time predators. Chicks can get through the 2x4 openings, so keep that in mind if you ever have chicks.

    If you are saying that you have the same type of wire on the windows of your coop, you might have a problem. I've heard that weasels can get through that size opening. I've seen squirrels go right through it.
    I use hardware cloth on most of the coops that I lock the chickens up in at night. I do have one mobile coop, and some temporary pens, with the 2x4 wire over the (high) windows. I have not had any losses. If I had weasels or more predators, I would only use hardware cloth. It all depends on your particular environment.

    As for them wandering, that depends on how far away your neighbor's property is and how appealing. I've had chickens travel over 400 ft. to range into a neighbor's grain field. Usually, they stay closer, but they'll range farther for goodies.
    I do not like to keep chickens locked in coops, except at night for their protection. They always get to range in a run or free range during the day. To lock them up can cause stress and health problems.

    I keep water available at all times. I only feed in the evening, inside the coops. This gets the chickens to come to me and into the coop for the night.
     
  6. ELauraD

    ELauraD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2012
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    Thank you, great help to me!
     

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