Massacre last night... Coop Design Ideas?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by EELover, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. EELover

    EELover Chirping

    Jul 15, 2010
    This morning was a tragic disaster. I had 17 ameruacana chickens and this morning when I went to feed them I found our coop with a 2'x2' gaping hole in it, with the door hanging wide open (which had been jammed shut, that I would pull out to open). 14 of my chickens were missing and I found 3 corpses. By the size of the hole, my husband thinks that it was a mountain lion. He hadn't gotten the run built yet because he ran out of time because of work so the hen house was all we had. The frame was built with 2X4's and the walls were plywood. I seriously didn't think that a creature would break through the wall to get in. I was flabbergasted! Now, I live in the mountains and possible predators living in our environment could include anywhere from a fox to a black bear. I saw 2 mountain lions about 10 months ago about a mile and a half from our house. This animal had a feast of 14 chickens killing 3 others and leaving them. It had a large appetite. Sigh. Does anyone have any good coop ideas to help us have a strong and solid coop to protect my future chickens from large predators? I'm so upset.
  2. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    How high was the hole and how thick was the plywood? This sounds more like bear damage.
  3. tnchickenut

    tnchickenut It's all about the Dels!

    Jan 24, 2010
    Englewood, TN
    Oh geez, I'm sorry to hear that.

    If it were me, I would go with electric (and I'm not the biggest fan of electric fences) and maybe even something like razor (not barbed) wire on the perimeter where the chickens can't reach. I think also that if it is a bear or lion... you are going to really have to build a coop. Do you have some pictures? You said it was studded with 2x4s and walls were plywood... you might have to go with thick 1/2inch roofing panels for walls. I know they are dramatically more expensive than the plywood 4x8' sheets but if you factor in cost of chicks and feed to keep replacing old flocks and get them back up to POL again... you will come out ahead to go ahead with the heavier thicker wood panels.

    What do you have for window? And you say you live in the mountains... what mountains? I'm just trying to help you figure out the best coop and climate matters too.

    BTW, can you tell I LOVE to plan out coops? [​IMG]

    I'm afraid, though... maybe you should not have chickens for maybe a season or two... get the big guy to forget all about them. Though, I'm sure they will try to be back.

    Another thing might help is a preditor light coupled with some kinda motion sensor spot light. And I'll PM you another idea... not for public forums.
  4. mxpres

    mxpres Songster

    Jan 21, 2009
    did you look for any tracks or any kind of sign that the predator may have left?hair or fur on the door where it went through,sounds like maybe a bear,,I know how heart breaking it can be to find your flock wiped out like that,hot wire around the coop may help..good luck and I am sorry for your loss
  5. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    It sounds like a black bear to me. I know cougars are no joke, but can't imagine one tearing through a wall like that. Bears are so strong they can peel open car doors so I doubt plywood would even phase them.

    I hate to say it but I dont think you can keep a predator like that out of a coop without some major construction. It sounds like you are going to have to set a bear trap or stand guard with a very powerful rifle. Both choices stink as far as I am concerned but I personally wouldn't want a predator that was that determined or powerful around my house.

    State wildlife officers maybe a better choice for ideas and could possibly help catch it for you. Did it leave tracks?????

    Good luck!!! Please let us know if you find out what it was. I am dying to know!!!
  6. downstownlady

    downstownlady Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    Conroe, TX
    I'm so sorry...I just can't imagine the horror of finding that kind of scene!
  7. I am so very sorry for your loss. That must have been very difficult to find. I knew from the get-go that our hens would become pets so having an absolutely secure coop was a priority for me. I was just thinking this evening as I put my girls away for the night how grateful I am that our coop is so secure.

    Our coop is on the pricey side because we have neighbors who would squawk if everything isn't aesthetically pleasing. I understand that isn't what everyone is looking to build, but there are features to it that I think are adaptable to almost any coop, particularly the "chunnel" my husband designed that allows the girls to go between their coop and pen without ever being exposed to predators. My coop page is at:
  8. ninjascrub69

    ninjascrub69 Songster

    Aug 13, 2010
    Bloomingdale, MI
    i would wait with a gun (at a safe distance) and shoot the son of a b****, or build one helluva coop
  9. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    [​IMG] So sorry that happened!

    Three ideas:

    1: I would say to just try a different type of wood; say 2x4s. Even if you're just putting in 'ribs' along the wall the extra width should help. Put them close enough and they'll have to break one to get through.

    2: I don't know how your coop is designed, but putting something like chainlink on the outside or inside as a kind of 'liner' could stop them. Attach it well enough and even a bear would have a hard time getting through.

    3: I know in Alaska they put out mats with nails sticking up out of them to keep bears away from the doors to houses. Maybe you could make something removable like that for the sides of your coop? Just put them up everynight when you close up the coop?
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  10. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    Wow ~ I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your flock. You mentioned that 14 were missing and you found 3 dead ~ is it possible that dome of them managed to escape and are hiding somewhere outside?

    I agree that with the extensive damage it sounds like a bear. Electric fencing would be one of your only options to keep a determined bear out short of building a coop out of concrete block with steel doors!

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