New Chicken House- Predator/roost/etc questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cluckcluck42, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. cluckcluck42

    cluckcluck42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2009
    Hey guys,

    We moved into our new house recently, and there is a big shed out back,. We have (quite ruggedly) turned half of it into a chicken house. To separate the storage area from the chicken area we put up wood pallets, screwed them to the wall, then to each other, and put plywood over it. Then put chicken wire all the way to the ceiling. I'll take pics, it's interesting lol. I think it looks good, but I may be a little biased. A lot biased. (rubs sore hands, frickin staple guns, grumble grumble)

    We're afraid of predators getting in, so I've gone along the outside of the shed and screwed planks of wood at the bottom and half buried them to try to prevent anything from digging under. At the top of the shed, there is a foot of open area where the roof hangs down. I thought it would be good ventilation since not a lot of wind can get through, but now I'm worried a predator will climb the wall and get in that way.

    Am I being too paranoid or should I cover that with chicken wire/tarp/wood/heckifIknow??

    Also--- I of course did not think through the laying boxes well enough and don't have it ready yet. I have a selection of boxes or a cat carrier. Cat carrier??

    There is a shelf in the chicken area (used to be for tools) and I'm worried they will roost there. What can I do to dissuade them from roosting there? I'd love to put the nesting box/cat carrier up there, but its at waist level and I'm not sure if I can get the roost higher than that. By the way, how high DO chickens fly???? We have rafters....

    Thanks guys, so excited that we are picking up our chickens tomorrow!!!!!
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  2. CheerfulHeart2

    CheerfulHeart2 Creative Problem Solver

    Apr 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Wow, sounds very inventive/creative. Cool.

    Count me as a fellow novice, but from what I have read:
    racoons and oppossums are some of the very worst predators and they could get in through the top easily. If you have those in your area, you may want to take a serious look at screening it. You probably should take a hard look at what predator issues you may have to help you decide. In my neighborhood, we are close enough to the city the hawks don't even come around, but on the game came thread, you see an amazing array of animals in folks back yards.

    From what I can tell, the key to keeping chickens from roosting on something is to make the roosts higher. Also, it seems like just about anything works for a nest box, just put some golf balls in it them (a few in each) so they get the idea. I leave the golf balls in all the time and they lay in the box with the most golf balls in it.

    Congrat's on your new chick's!
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Most definitely put wire up over the one foot opening! Not sure what type of shed you started with...solid wood floor??? Little critters like mice and such can still get in/digging under the planks you have put around the bottom of your shed, but you should be good to go with big stuff. Let me ask, regarding the shelf...would it be possible to center a roosting board above the shelf area and just use it as a dropping board??? I'm only asking, because unless you CAN get your roosts higher, they will be roosting there on the shelves, if you use is to hold your nest box. So might as well go with the flow and make the coop easier to clean up in one swoop. I think the door taken off a cat carrier sounds fine as a nest box, by the way. Many people use litter boxes as nesting boxes... As for your rafters, I can almost guarantee that at least some will aim for them, maybe from the shelf or roost. If so, you could always nail light weight plywood there. If you're in a cold weather area, you could insulate the ceiling, and then put some plywood up??? Just some ideas. Post pics when you can; it really helps others to give more specific feedback... Good luck with your new chickens!!!
  4. cluckcluck42

    cluckcluck42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2009
    Thank you both, I am so excited! [​IMG]

    We just got back inside from putting up the roosts. We found a PERFECT sized branch from a tree, sitting right outside on the ground. We put it in the corner and it stuck there perfectly, it's completely solid. Absolutely perfect! And it's much higher than the shelf (the shelf is on the other side) so they will hopefully choose the branch. We also put a piece of wood behind the large branch and a bit lower. We will definitely be improving on this but so far, so good.

    We're thinking of covering the shelf with a tarp, since there is a toolbox and a few other things we need under there. Not sure if this will work out, if the chickens take to hanging out on it, we will have to cover it with plywood or something. We will figure that out when we need to I guess! I'm just crossing my fingers chickens hate tarps as much as horses do.

    Tomorrow we are going to cover the opening at the top with chicken wire. I would just be crushed if something happened to the chickens and it was preventable. I think it's a good opening for ventilation though, I will take pictures of the shed and chickens tomorrow, our camera is stuck in one of a million boxes but I will be motivated to dig it out when the ladies arrive.

    We have a great big german sheperd and he is a good guard dog. The shed isn't too far back from the house so I am also hoping that if anything is poking around back there, upsetting the chickens, he will alert us. We live in an area known for raccoons, bears, and hawks. Even wild boars! Someone let them loose in the area years ago apparently.
  5. Buzzy

    Buzzy Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 1, 2008

    Hi, welcome to the world of chickens, you're gonna love it, and them.

    Raccoons will absolutely get in that space and climb in a clean you out, but chickenwire won't stop them. They can rip right through it. You have to get something like kennel wire. I'm serious, I've seen them do it.

    We have just come through our second holocaust - the first when we were newbies and put up chickenwire to keep out the raccoons. It didn't and we lost five out of seven in less than the 10 minutes it took us to get our shoes on and get out there.

    The second was just a week ago when a windstorm knocked a branch through the window in the coop - the same night the coons got in and wiped out half our flock before we discovered the broken window the next morning.

    Evil is just sitting out there, waiting for its chance.

    Also, if you're going to put up a run for them, use kennel wire fencing, cover the roof of the run with it, and DIG IT IN 8" all around. You're going to want a chicken run for those days you want to be away & its not fair to keep them cooped up. It's worth it in peace of mind to spend the money and do the work.

    Happy chicken-lovin' [​IMG]

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