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New to Forum /Predator Protection/ Planning on Chickens - Suggestions

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by gossamerga, May 9, 2008.

  1. gossamerga

    gossamerga New Egg

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    May 9, 2008
    North Atlanta, GA
    Hi All,

    I have been lurking quite a bit and I am planning on adding a few chickens in the backyard.

    Here is my question. We are in a neighborhood but we have about 3 heavily wooded acres except what we have cleared and fenced in at the back. The fence is a 6' high shadow fence.

    A creek borders the property and we see snakes on occasion, black or rat snakes and cottonmouths - YUCK. We have several hawks that patrol the area, deer, opossum, raccoon, turtles, rabbits, mice, moles etc.

    Just this morning I saw this Red Fox family on the front driveway.
    [​IMG]

    So here are my questions...

    Do you think I can free range at all? Should I plan on the coop and a secure run and only let them free range when I am out in the yard? Would I be enough of a deterrent?

    Could a red fox jump a 6 foot fence?

    Any suggestions are welcome and thank you for your help.
    Beth
     
  2. peruvian_princess

    peruvian_princess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2008
    Fayetteville, Georgia
    I would definately not free range at all! A fox is fast and sly and you may not see the fox but rest assured the fox sees you. i would build a coop and run and make sure it is covered and make it dig proof as much as possible.
     
  3. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, you sure do have a predator problem... I don't have an answer, but if it were me I'd create a really solid pen and run the wire fencing deep into the ground. I would let them free range when you are there, but the problem is getting them back before dusk. It's not easy when they've sensed freedom.

    Good luck
     
  4. peruvian_princess

    peruvian_princess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2008
    Fayetteville, Georgia
    Exactly! My hens if they do happen to get out of my run they take to the woods! Even though I have raised them since they were chicks they like the freedom so I dont let them out at all. I already lost one roo earlier in the year to a fox because the bachelor pad hadnt been created yet and the fox dug under the pen and took him like a thief in the night. I didnt hear a sound and just like that he was gone.
     
  5. peruvian_princess

    peruvian_princess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2008
    Fayetteville, Georgia
    Oh hey girl I just realized you are in Georgia too! Howdy neighbor!
     
  6. gossamerga

    gossamerga New Egg

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    May 9, 2008
    North Atlanta, GA
    What really cracks me up is that I am in a suburban neighborhood - although we are in a more "rural" area. I think our yard attracts all the animals because so much of it is just heavy natural woods with lots of forage material, a source of water and cover.

    We do have a dog ( some sort of jack Russell, beagle, terrier mix) who has purged the yard of the squirrels. She is great with our three cats and young son and was around chickens at her previous home so I wonder if she will offer some protection as well.

    She has been nuts all morning since seeing the Fox out the front window.
     
  7. gossamerga

    gossamerga New Egg

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    May 9, 2008
    North Atlanta, GA
    Quote:Howdy Back at ya.
     
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you think I can free range at all? Should I plan on the coop and a secure run and only let them free range when I am out in the yard? Would I be enough of a deterrent? NO!

    Could a red fox jump a 6 foot fence? YES!


    They climb, they dig, they grab necks and suffocate birds...they come back night after night, day after day when they have kits...they will regard free-range as an open buffet and you will not have chickens.

    We have them, the former goldmine diggings are loaded with foxes here. We wouldn't dream of free-ranging, no one does that here anymore. All the former free-range flocks were decimated and a few lonely roosters survived.

    Think about a run with 1/2" mesh (hardware cloth, a roof, and all holes big enough to squeeze a hot dog through must be sealed (weasels, rodents). You also need to bury some of it at the ede of the run, which has the added bonus of keeping out snakes. I know it's expensive but not as expensive as losing your birds, over and over and breaking your heart

    Beautiful foxes, btw, I like them very much but I don't ask them to dinner! [​IMG] They wil be wary of your dog but if there are three, or more, he could be in trouble too.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
  9. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.
    My suggestion would be to bury you hardware cloth at least 12-18 inches deep and pour cement around the wire then cover it up. Foxes will dig and if they can get in they will take your birds one at a time till you have none left. Prepare you coop and run like Fort Knox. Good Luck to you.
     
  10. gila_dog

    gila_dog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2007
    New Mexico
    I agree with the others who say not to free range your chickens. They will love it, while they last, but something will eventually get them.

    You don't have to dig a trench and bury fence wire around the perimeter of your pen. Just lay it flat on the ground around the perimiter, attach it to the bottom of the vertical fence wire with hog rings, and toss a little dirt on top of it so it doesn't look tacky. This is a lot easier than digging a deep trench and burying the wire. Any dog, fox, etc that tries to dig under the fence will dig where the vertical wire meets the ground. With two or three feet of fence wire extending out horizontally, they won't be able to dig thru it.

    I'll bet you have racoons there. They are much harder to keep out. Covering the top of the pen with fence wire and securing everything super tight so the little villains can't pull the fence apart is important.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2008

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