New to raising chickens in Devine, TX

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by ski88keys, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. ski88keys

    ski88keys Hatching

    Oct 28, 2014
    Hello all! My wife and I live in Devine TX and although we are new members, we have not only used this site to learn, but have had our first attempt at raising chickens this year. Our place came with a very large coop/house/run combo large enough for about 15 chickens. We bout 9 chicks at TCS and away we went. Thing went well at first. All chicks made it to the outside and and then the fun began. One brole her neck that got stuck in a pallet. Anot her two got taken while inside their enclosure due to an opening in the wire. As I said, it was there when we bought the place. Another got pulled through the fencing. I fixed all the issues related to their demise and then decided to free range. All was great! 4-5 eggs a day and bigger as the weeks went by. Selling extra to friends to pay for feed, pine and upkeep. Then last week some predator started plucking them off during the day when they were free ranging. All chickens are gone. We are very frustrated, but will continue in the spring. We love to watch them out on our property...about 3 acres. I would love to continue free ranging but not sure I can deal with the continued loss. Thought about a large tractor or building a large enclosed run maybe 40x20 or so...that way there is grass growing for them as well as plenty of bugs. We have access to pallets and will use Craigslist to find more materials. Any guidance is appreciates. Thanks! Darrin and Lenora
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join us. A lot of us were lurkers before joining. I'm sorry about your losses to predators. My wife and and I were both raised in the great state of Texas, and eventually ended up raising our chickens in runs due to predator losses. Just be sure if you do go to runs that you make them predator proof. Be sure and use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire as there are just too many predators that can either tear through chicken wire or squeeze through the openings in the mesh. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Do you have a breed preference?
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I am so sorry for all your losses! [​IMG] That is the problem with free can lose birds. I can't free range without supervision as we are crawling with predators. So my suggestion is to build a big run for them. Put in some ladders, mirrors, benches, hanging veggies and things to do. If you can only get them out once a day for an hour, this will thrill them to no end and they will still be happy. This is how I do it with my birds. They love to go outside, but also don't mind being in their large run. Build it like you yourself were going to live in there and nothing will get in. And never use chicken wire. Way too flimsy. Use hardware cloth where you need wire.

    Good luck and I hope you can get a nice flock soon!
    1 person likes this.
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    I'm sorry for all of your losses! [​IMG]With so many predators, it probably is best if you build a secure run instead of letting birds free range. Make sure the run is made of sturdy, small-meshed wire, that it has a roof to deter aerial predators, and that predators can't burrow under. To prevent burrowing, either bury the wire at least 12 inches in the ground, or make an 18 inch "skirt" of wire that extends outward along the run's perimeter. Both methods usually prevent burrowing predator invasion.

    Don't use chicken wire in the building of the run, or anywhere else in the coop. It is weak enough to be torn apart by many predators, and has holes large enough for predators (like Raccoons) to pull birds through. 1/2" hardware cloth works best; the only disadvantage is that it is somewhat expensive.

    With a run, most birds will be happy scratching around inside. If you want to, though, you can always let your chickens out for supervised free range time. That is what I do with my chickens. Just keep a close eye on them, and don't let them stray too far.

    For more information on predators, I would ask questions on the Predators section of the forums (Predators and Pests), or just spend some time reading other threads. You may also want to check out the Coops section (Coop Designs) and forums (Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance) for designs and advice on keeping predators out of coops.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
    2 people like this.
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] So sorry about your losses, but glad you are gonna try again. There are some hard lessons to learn but the forums offer a lot of help. If you decide not to try free ranging again, try to pick breeds that do well in confinement and they will be happy and productive.
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC![​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    X2 on TwoCrows and BantamLover21.

    I keep my chickens in a secure coop and run, because I have too many predators around here. Here's how I keep my chickens safe:

    • My run is made of hardware cloth, not chicken wire. This makes it strong and resistant to dog attacks.
    • I have a hardware cloth "skirt" that extends outwards 18 inches on every side of the run. This prevents predators from digging in.
    • Each run has a secure latch that predators can't undo. Many raccoons can undo simple sliding bolt latches, so I wouldn't use any like that.
    • My runs each have a hardware cloth top and a roof. This prevents hawks or owls from swooping in. Another benefit of having a roof for the run is that the run doesn't get muddy when it rains.
    • I make sure that there are no holes in my coops walls. Every opening is covered in hardware cloth.
    • Whenever I let my chickens out, I'm always there to watch them. They don't go outside of their run unless I'm there.

    I hope this information helps! So far, no predators have broken through my defenses and harmed my birds. I've seen plenty of signs of them, so they're definitley around.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  7. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Michael, Two Crows, Bantam Lover and Wyandottes have given you great advice.

    Sorry for your losses![​IMG]
  8. N F C

    N F C whaz sup?

    Dec 12, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I'm sorry for your losses but I'm glad you're willing to try again. Let us know what breed(s) you decide to go with...I thought that choosing our birds was a lot of fun.

    Nice to have you here.
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Wyandottes has set good examples, you could also put a sandbox in your run so they have dust bathing area - they will love it. Welcome to BYC.
  10. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!

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