May have to throw in the towel and give up the chickens..*updated!*

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by parkersmom120106, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    I posted a while back about a fox that I caught carrying off one of my chickens (she died a few days later btw). Well since then every couple of days I notice somebody missing. I have a mixed age/breed/sex flock ranging from hatched June 2nd to hatched in late January. I have one girl laying an egg a day for me and a few that should start laying any minute. The older hens (5ish months and up) have started hopping right out of the pen and wandering the yard all day. Last night we found 4 of them roosting on the railing of my back porch. I'm thinking they don't feel safe in their little pen/coop. Anyway at about 2am I heard clucking and looked out the window. The fox was standing in the yard about 20 feet away from the porch and then headed right up to it. I ran to the back door and flashed the back porch light on and off and opened the door a crack and slammed it back shut. I was afraid to open it all the way. I looked out and the fox was gone. I don't think it came back because nobody's missing today. I don't know what to do. I don't have the money or the skill to do much to keep the fox away. I have no gun and don't want one in my house (I have a 3 year old in order to keep a gun loaded and accesible for me to grab and shoot something, it would also be accessible to my 3 year old). I have materials to build a better pen (4x4s, feild fence, plywood etc..just need hardware cloth), but nobody to build it. A friend loaned me a live trap but it's small. The fox would fit in it, but I doubt it would go in it. I tried tying my labrador up out there next to the chickens but she isn't used to being left in the yard alone and just kept barking at everything that moved so I had to bring her in. My other dogs are small and would do the same thing. I guess I'm not even asking for advice here since I know the only way to keep the fox away from the chickens is to build a better pen (right not the fence is on tposts, only 3 feet tall and the have short little a frame coops for shelter..they hop right out of they want to). This is just frustrating. I've looked up repellents, but it sounds like they only work some of the time. Looks like I may have to sell off the chickens and wait til tax return time when I can pay someone to build my pen for me. GRRR! I was thinking they may be safer if I turn them all loose and let them find their own place to roost, but there aren't many trees in my yard and I'm not finding evidence that they're getting taken from then pen. It's the ones out in the yard that are getting picked off. The girls on the railing must have looked like a buffet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  2. HarlansHollowFarms

    HarlansHollowFarms bana-bhuidseach anns gára

    Jan 16, 2009
    Quote:Sounds like you need to just cowgirl up and TRY to do this on your own....we girls can do alot if we put our minds to it!!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  3. lizardz

    lizardz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the same problem - if they're in the pen, they're fine; out of the pen, they're dinner for the local bobcat or coyote. For an easy-ish fix, you might try just putting fencing over the top of the run to keep the girls in. If you feel you need a different solution, go to your local building store and ask advice. I've found they've always been very helpful to me, even when asking silly questions. You don't need anyone else to build it for you, you can do it! Good luck!
    Liz
     
  4. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    Ya'll are probably right. I just assume that I'm not strong enough to dig post holes, cut wire etc, and I'm probably right (I'm 4'10" and 100lbs), but I don't know unless I get out there and try. We did cover half the pen with some stuff we had laying around (it's the black fabric stuff that you put under gardens to keep the weeds from growing..no idea what it's called) for extra shade and to try and deter the chickens from jumping out on that side. The just jump onto the cloth and hop out. I could cover the other half to keep them in. It would mean that I have to squat and duck walk to go inside the pen, but I guess that's where being little is an advantage lol. It would at least keep them inside where they're a little safer. When I get tax return money I'll be able to pay someone a few bucks to build it for me. I also won't feel guilty asking people to help when It's not 100 degrees outside lol. Guess I better get that cloth measured and cut and pull out the trusty zip ties lol. Thanks for the encouragement, ya'll.
     
  5. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    May 2, 2010
    Missouri
    I agree, no reason you can't do it yourself! If you have a computer, look up how to install fencing, check out some of the coops/runs here on the BYC. You didn't say what kind of fence you have up now, only that it's 3' tall. For a quick fix to keep the girls in, you could try putting some of the field fencing on the top to make a roof so they don't jump out. Fields fencing is not a good type for a chicken pen though, and the fox can still get in. You might also try an electric fence around the outside of the run and coop. That will stop a fox once he gets a couple of zaps! Sounds like you really need to get a better coop and run built when the money comes in, otherwise, the predators will win. Where there is one, there are many!
     
  6. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

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    Jan 27, 2009
    Enumclaw
    You might go to one of the major home stores and see if they have classes you can take to help you learn the skills that you need. It could be that there are tools that you can rent that would make things much easier.
     
  7. HarlansHollowFarms

    HarlansHollowFarms bana-bhuidseach anns gára

    Jan 16, 2009
    Quote:[​IMG]
    You go girl!!!
     
  8. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    Quote:x2!! My chicken coops aren't gorgeous, don't showcase beautiful craftsmanship, or are in any sense of the word, level, but I built them! By myself! And I knooooooow, if I can build adequate, perfectly functional, predator proof chicken coops, so can you.

    Fellas are very helpful to have around and I'm grateful for all the stuff my DH does do around the house, when it comes to chicken-related building needs, I'm on my own. I had very, very little practical building knowledge when I built my first coop and run, but though I spent much longer on it than more experienced builder would, I figured out the basics and learned to improvise and nearly 4 years later, that little coop is still standing!

    If you've got the materials, all you need is a plan and some motivation. Make a plan, ask for advice if you need it and just go out there an DO IT! You'll surprise yourself, I promise. And there are plenty of very helpful folks on this forum who will gladly talk you through anything you can't figure out on your own.
     
  9. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    Quote:Awesome!!! Good luck and let us know if you have any questions!!
     
  10. hudsonhousechicks

    hudsonhousechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 2, 2010
    Austin
    I'm 5'3' and 120 pounds and I'll tell you what, I'd rather dig holes than knead bread! Or do any indoor household chore for that matter. The physical labor might feel good to you. I built (a very rudimentary) compost pile in 100 degree weather in Central Texas a year or two back. It's not much to look at but I was really proud of it in the end.

    Get a book or surf the net for plans and methods. You don't have to do it all in a weekend. Take baby steps and spread the work out over a few months. You will make a fantastic role model for your child. You will be stronger for it. Imagine it being done and how good you'll feel having done it. It may seem overwhelming, life often does. Keep your tax refund money take on the challenge. Good luck!
     

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