More Predator Defense? Strawberry netting and other things

Welshies

Crowing
May 8, 2016
3,250
2,508
286
Alberta, Canada
So right now I have one pen built for the chickens- about 4.5' tall, double layered wire with a 6' apron staked down and a plywood sheet as a gate. It is not covered, and is about 60 square feet.
I also have the posts up (just need wire) for a second pen, around 400 square feet (attached to the coops and the horse 'run-in' shed). Same idea- 4.5' tall, double layered or single layered wire (depending on how much we have left. Ideally, we want to build a portable framed run like what you buy from stores.), 6' staked down apron.
The wire is stretched tight, and held up with high tensile wire at the top, middle, and bottom.
Neither run is covered fully.
However, I just lost 20 chicks (made the mistake of free ranging them as my pen was not finished...) and 20 quail (fox dug in through the bottom) to a fox, and I know exactly which one. The coops are half a mile away and we've never had a problem before even with a coyote den 200 yards away. I plan on culling the fox, but need additional protection.
So I began my planning, and I'm wondering what others think.
I will be getting a pair of guineas to protect and also raise more (so the flock of guineas gets bigger) almost as watchdogs, and an intimidation factor for predators.
And of course, my chickens, and once the guineas move outside, quail (i have 2 coops, and doubt the guineas will integrate with the chickens.)
I was considering placing strawberry netting over the runs- or a cheap similiar idea of netting, both to discourage the guineas and chickens from flying off, and to discourage predators (hawks and foxes, coyotes) from getting in. It would be secured, not just hung, but only by being stretched tight- or at least fastened, if some slack is better.
However we are from Alberta so I was curious- what happens in winter? Will the snow pass through or at the least slide off? How well might this work, and if it won't work what are some alternatives we can seek?
 

SunHwaKwon

Crowing
Jul 19, 2015
5,610
2,680
407
North Central Florida
That is why I bought the 2" xtra heavy duty netting to put over mine. Snow and leaves pass right through but its strong enough to protect against hawks and foxes. If the foxes you have are gray fox they can climb over the fence (and up trees and such) quite easily. You will want to put a post at least 7' tall in the center and have it go from there to the top of your fence, though, unless you are under 4 1/2 feet tall. Otherwise you will have a hard time moving about in there to retrieve birds or clean.

The guineas will holler but they will not generally do much to stop a predator, though one of my males did chase away a fox on his own and another time a fox chased my guineas out of the field into the yard and once he was in the clear he got scared and turned around so they turned around and chased after him lol.
 

Welshies

Crowing
May 8, 2016
3,250
2,508
286
Alberta, Canada
That is why I bought the 2" xtra heavy duty netting to put over mine. Snow and leaves pass right through but its strong enough to protect against hawks and foxes. If the foxes you have are gray fox they can climb over the fence (and up trees and such) quite easily. You will want to put a post at least 7' tall in the center and have it go from there to the top of your fence, though, unless you are under 4 1/2 feet tall. Otherwise you will have a hard time moving about in there to retrieve birds or clean.

The guineas will holler but they will not generally do much to stop a predator, though one of my males did chase away a fox on his own and another time a fox chased my guineas out of the field into the yard and once he was in the clear he got scared and turned around so they turned around and chased after him lol.
I may get weaker netting, to drap over it- the pen and coops are right beside a run-in shed (horse shed) but you see I am from northern alberta, we have the red fox. I have identified and shot the individual but have been looking at guinea fowl, geese, or peacocks.
 

SunHwaKwon

Crowing
Jul 19, 2015
5,610
2,680
407
North Central Florida
Yes but the netting you are talking about is not going to let snow pass so you will not be able to use it in winter, hence the need for the larger holes. That part does not matter as far as the strength is concerned. How tight you can put it on has to do with the material as some materials will stretch and weaken if they are pulled tight. If you are draping it loosely with a loose way of fastening it to allow you to go into the runs, that means it can come loose to let predators in as well. The attachment method is just as important as the net itself.

Geese and peacocks will be of no help, as far as the fox is concerned.

You also need to put a skirt around your runs to keep them from digging in.
 

Welshies

Crowing
May 8, 2016
3,250
2,508
286
Alberta, Canada
Yes but the netting you are talking about is not going to let snow pass so you will not be able to use it in winter, hence the need for the larger holes. That part does not matter as far as the strength is concerned. How tight you can put it on has to do with the material as some materials will stretch and weaken if they are pulled tight. If you are draping it loosely with a loose way of fastening it to allow you to go into the runs, that means it can come loose to let predators in as well. The attachment method is just as important as the net itself.

Geese and peacocks will be of no help, as far as the fox is concerned.

You also need to put a skirt around your runs to keep them from digging in.
That's what I have done.
But you see...
My pens are 4'6'' tall double layered wire with a 6'' skirt staked down, between simple metal rods (smaller and skinnier than garden posts) with high tensile wire strung through the top, middle, and bottom to keep it tight. It's simply to keep the chickens close and safer. Only one fox has been a problem, despite having the coops half a mile away with a coyote den 200 yards away. Half of the run is covered by a three sided shed. Both their coops (minus the quail coop) are totally fox proof.
Geese and peacocks are both supposedly good guard animals. I'd invest in a llama but my parents won't let me.
 

Chickassan

Wattle Fondler
May 23, 2017
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Greenville S.C, formerly Noneya U.S.A
I'm using the garden netting as a deterrent to keep my chicks from going through fence holes, don't know how much defense it offers honestly. I did however make a lightweight portable run using pvc pipe, garden netting and zip ties to secure. It worked well nothing got in or out.I still don't know exactly how good it would hold up against a determined predator.
 

SunHwaKwon

Crowing
Jul 19, 2015
5,610
2,680
407
North Central Florida
That's what I have done.
But you see...
My pens are 4'6'' tall double layered wire with a 6'' skirt staked down, between simple metal rods (smaller and skinnier than garden posts) with high tensile wire strung through the top, middle, and bottom to keep it tight. It's simply to keep the chickens close and safer. Only one fox has been a problem, despite having the coops half a mile away with a coyote den 200 yards away. Half of the run is covered by a three sided shed. Both their coops (minus the quail coop) are totally fox proof.
Geese and peacocks are both supposedly good guard animals. I'd invest in a llama but my parents won't let me.

6" is not very long, but I suppose it's better than nothing.

The coyote presence should help keep the foxes away, but of course coyotes eat chickens too, plus they are bigger and stronger.

The only problem with something that helps contain the chickens but isn't predator proof is that if a predator gets in then the chickens have no way to get away and avoid being killed.

What type of wire fencing did you use?
 

Welshies

Crowing
May 8, 2016
3,250
2,508
286
Alberta, Canada
Chicken wire and page wire
Now before anyone suggests that I revamp my complete fence and containtment systems, I guess you could call them, I will not and am not. These foxes should leave the chickens alone as they always have, the coyotes have never touched them. We just have one individual that is posing a problem. I do not have money to revamp my fences, as I am a teenager without a job right now. Occasionally I fence and work construction but I do not have the money or the resources to revamp my fence so please don't suggest it.
I made do with what I have and have never had a problem until now- mostly because I freeranged my chickens.
 

Chickassan

Wattle Fondler
May 23, 2017
14,991
74,899
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Greenville S.C, formerly Noneya U.S.A
Pallets are pretty much free and make a really strong fence. I do have an idea on your net situation at least for the top of your pen and that is safety fence, that orange plastic net they use on the roadside. It is quite strong and the holes are large enough for snow to pass but small enough for hawks not to.Maybe not perfect but its an idea.
 

Welshies

Crowing
May 8, 2016
3,250
2,508
286
Alberta, Canada
Parents won't let me get the snow fence (orange fence) as it's not appealing enough. :barnie I have thought of that however. The pallets are a really good idea, I didn't think of that. I'm just not sure how one would support them and make them taller.
 

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