Need help predator proofing! PLEASE HELP!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ChickGirl88, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. ChickGirl88

    ChickGirl88 Just Hatched

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    I am a newbie to backyard chicken keeping. My husband and I have had chickens for about 4 months without any predator incidents-until last weekend. My favorite rooster completely disappeared late Friday morning and then the next day I came home and found half of my flock dead-some bodies scattered around the yard and two missing. Exactly half of the flock (8 out of 16) had died/disappeared within 24 hours. I searched the yard and realized that my husband had moved some rolls of wire that I had covering a small hole where the ground dipped (about 6 in). It was completely accidental-he thought that it was scrap wire and had moved it without noticing the hole bc the grass is tall around the fence line.

    At first I assumed the predator had gotten in where the hole was...after doing some research, now I'm not so sure. I patched the hole, but I am still very worried. My fence is only 4 ft tall and it is just metal wire fencing...I read that coyotes can completely clear a 4 ft fence, so now I'm thinking maybe I should build it up? I was thinking about adding some material to the top of my t-posts (maybe PVC) and then running barbed wire around the top? Also, the fence isn't dug in, so I could run electric wire around the bottom or could lay some wire on the ground in front of the fence area...in an L shape to discourage digging... I hate the idea that the fence didn't keep the predator out, but trapped my chickens in as they got picked off. :( Does anyone have experience fortifying a fence that isn't super expensive? My neighbors said there have been coyotes in their yard every morning for the last week or so...my other neighbor said that he has seen foxes around before...and my husband has seen a bear and raccoon on our property before...so the possibilities really are endless. We NEVER had a predator problem until now...I thought predators just came out at night and that the chickens would be safe during the day. WRONG.

    I am just so worried about my chickens now. I have only been letting them out of their small coop a few hours a day and only when I am home...and then I am constantly checking on them. I know that this is no way for them to live. :( I was leaving my small (35 lb) cattle dog tied up next to the coop during the day, but my husband saw a 50+ pound coyote yesterday at dusk and now I'm worried to leave my little dog tethered with that lurking around... Does anybody have advice on predator proofing so I can be sure their safe and not worry about them constantly?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    So sorry for your losses, and welcome ! You have an emergency, so as a quick fix, lock those birds up unless you are sitting there with your 22. Your small dog is also at risk, so supervise him also. He might chase off a coyote, or turn into dinner himself. The birds are an easier target, but no way should your dog be out there without you. A safe run is totally enclosed with hardware cloth, and maybe chainlink or 2"x4" woven wire horse fencing, covered, and with a solid base. Hardware cloth as an apron, or something to prevent predators digging into the run. Electric tape is very helpful, and the electrified poultry netting is excellent if you can use it. Barbed wire could tear up your birds, not a good choice. Mary
     
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  3. RASS

    RASS Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry about your problem. I lost 5 ck. in 10 days to a coon coming in at night. I put out one of those trail cameras and had it pointed right at the ck. door where they enter and leave the coop. I was amazed at how the coon could climb the wire I had inside my barn and get through a small hole near the ceiling. I highly recommend a camera at night. I had no problem in the daytime.

    Good Luck
     
  4. johnderosa1

    johnderosa1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I 2nd the electric fence option. Not too expensive and really effective. I have raccoons, mink, foxes, coyotes, bears etc. here too and have not had a single one of these critters enter my yard since installing the wire more than a year ago. I already had a metal hex deer fence installed and just added two strands to the outside. The only furry critters ive seen in the fenced area since installing it have been mice, chipmunks and two squirrels. Good luck
     
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  5. ChickGirl88

    ChickGirl88 Just Hatched

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    Thank you all so much. Our chicken yard is far too big to put mesh on the top-I think it is about 80 ft x 40 ft, so my husband and I are going to run electric wire around the bottom of the yard and then again around the top (we are going to put in some taller t-posts and run the tape at 5 ft, 5.5 ft, and 6 ft. Hopefully with the fence raised to 6 ft and the top and bottom providing electric shock, we won't have any more dog/coyote issues. Until we get it up this weekend, I am keeping them in their coop with water provided and letting them out for a few hours when I'm outside in the afternoons.
     
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  6. johnderosa1

    johnderosa1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Probably dont need a wire around the top, just several around the bottom. If you do go with a wire at the top, there needs to be a way to complete the circuit to make it work. If the fence is wire and grounded then that would suffice otherwise you will have to have a live wire and a ground wire running alongside each other at the top. Finally i would try to use a predator rated charger for the fence. They pack a wallup and will deter even the most determined critters! Good luck
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I would section off a smaller run area, covered, for when the hawks find your flock. My run is covered for that purpose; when a hawk hits one of my birds, the flock is locked in their run and coop for a week or three, until the hawk gives up and moves on. Ground predators can take out your entire flock in an hour; hawks take a younger or smaller bird every day or three, but will come back as long as it pays off. Mary
     
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  8. minnehaha

    minnehaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm also putting electric fence around the bottom and top of our fencing, our fence is 8 feet tall. I lost my cat to a coyote 5 days ago, but no chickens were attacked. However, a successful hunt by a predator means they will be back looking for more food.

    My neighbor whom is around 100 acres away lost 4 chickens to coyotes last week. They dug under her fence to get in in broad daylight. Her run is around 1 acre big, mine is 2 acres large, so it's hard to catch them with so much space and trees that provide cover for the predators. She is also considering running electric fence. My cats go beyond the fence and into the woods where we have many predators, and I am fairly certain a coyote got the cat. I am keeping my other cat indoors for now. The coyotes are really hitting hard right now. Yesterday morning I saw a coyote trotting across a wheat field down the road from me with someone's cat in his mouth.

    2 weeks ago another neighbor had her 2 small dogs taken by coyotes right off of her porch!!! She could not stop them.

    We have bears, coyotes, fox, mountain lions, hawks, eagles, coons, domestic dogs, bob cats......etc etc....

    This mountain lion was on our property last fall and showed up in our hunting cam (predator cam). We didn't have chickens yet, but we do now and their building is Fort knox because we have some big powerful predators!!!!



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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  9. RASS

    RASS Out Of The Brooder

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    The electric fence sounds great but will it kill or injure a chicken?
     
  10. minnehaha

    minnehaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aint that the truth, I've had fence chargers for horses in the past that were so powerful it would make my foot involuntarily stomp the ground if i touch it with my hand, the electric current would exit out of my foot quite violently......it was painful!!!

    I appreciate the info on setting it up you provided, it's been awhile since I've run electric fencing, and I am planning on running it too.
     

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