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Now i am just plain paranoid...how to predator proof their lives....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by orchidchick, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. orchidchick

    orchidchick Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    Hey there, I figured I needed to bring this to the professionals!

    I thought raising horses in the jungle was bad...but chicks are a real challenge as well.

    Last Sunday, while relaxing with coffee at 9 am a huge hawk came barreling out of the sky and dive bombed the coop and attached run the month old chicks(4) are in not 40 feet from where i was sitting. And stared me down as I ran up to her screeching obcenities before she took off. They were in a Chick-n-Hutch with the attached yard that thankfully I had beefed up with hardware cloth and predator proofed as best as I could, had a put a grey solar roof on the hutch part, while the yard part had a folded tarp for shade over it. I live in Fl and it is in the 80's during the day, so my problem has been trying to work something out that has enough cooling capabilities.
    I am figuring they will probably never get to free range, there is no way I could have stopped that hawk if they had been out in the yard. I have never heard of a hawk attacking the run itself, especially with a tarp over the top! Second surprise of the day was a black snake in the run several hours later that prompted even smaller hardware cloth. And it kept coming back while I was laying on the ground, so I had my trusty spray bottle of bleach that finally drove it away.

    So now, short of putting them in a concrete barrack, I am looking into a cattle panel hoop house (8' x 16') that will have the entire floor wired, but what are your thoughts on hardware cloth size, height, gauge, etc. possibility of double layer of staggered chicken wire up top? I am figuring on keeping the chicken-n-hutch and yard for now and settin it up so it can be walked right into the hoop house so that in case of a hurricane, they can come in with me, and that is pretty mobile, and they could at least be comfortable for a few days.

    Jungle momma
  2. ChickNLittle

    ChickNLittle Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    Folkston, Georgia
    Boy...last year we had our fill of predators. We were close to the Georgia wild fires, so all the animals were driven over here. We had coyotes, raccoons galore, snakes, hawks, you name it...we had it. They ate our favorite roo that I bred and raised. They ate seven of my white leghorn hens and two pekin ducks. We trapped raccoons over and over again. We took them off and released them, only to have another one come the same night. So...what we did was re-did our chicken coop. My husband built one that is 8 x 9 feet with 2 x 4's. It has chicken wire around including the ceiling. Then he took one inch mesh and re-covered all the chicken wire. Then he put lattice work from the ground up to about 2 feet high all the way around except at the door. 3/4 of the way up there are roosts. There is one door to go in and out. He will be making a run as well for daytime only. There will be a small door that the chickens can go in and out of the run. The run will be 8 x 10 and two feet high. Entirely enclosed with chicken wire and one inch wire mesh on top of that. That is the best that can be done. Snakes may still get into the yard, but they will have to be pretty small for the one inch mesh. [​IMG] Don't forget though, you have to be the one that remembers to lock them in at night when they go inside to roost.
  3. orchidchick

    orchidchick Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    Thanks Chickn,

    I think I want to make the hoop house predator proof as much as possible due to the fact that we have pretty harsh thunderstorms that blow thru in the afternoons in the summer, so even though the cattle panels are made of steel, I'd feel better if the rest of it wasn't flimsy because there is usually a lot of blowy rain and debris from the pines in the woods in the back yard. Don't want the dream girls escaping thru holes in the netting or something gettin in! That is the problem with a lot of the ark designs for here, it's hard to stake them as the soil is so sandy, heck if it rains enough, the trees just fall over if there's a good wind!
  4. orchidchick

    orchidchick Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    and so sorry about the loss of your Roo......how sad.
  5. barbara4rb

    barbara4rb In the Brooder

    Oct 22, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    I was just going to post this sort of question, but you beat me to it! My situation is that my property has a bunch of free range chickens on it. (Boy has this forum helped me!) I had a hen sitting on eggs in a dog house for almost two weeks, and last night something came in and got her and the eggs. It makes me so depressed! No coop. The birds roost in the trees.

    We are in the process of installing a pipe rail fence $$$$ along the irrigation ditch (I'm sure that's where the critters are coming in.) My neighbor has seen a coyote coming into her property and getting her chickens too. Plus she's been trapping skunks!!! We share the irrigation ditch.

    Here's my question....

    I want to make a chicken "coop" up on stilts so no one can climb up into it, but the hens can fly up to it. It needs a ledge, and I can do nest boxes and screen in the top some way. I need to have it set up so chicks won't fall out when they hatch. (I'm hoping to get the chicks and put them in hoop coops.) I'm open to ideas. How tall? How big? Can several nest boxes be placed together?

    Many thanks, in advance.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2008
  6. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *Hey, OC-- I'm in SoFl. Think I had the 'same' hawk a few weeks ago. Took a ringneck dove out of the ficus not 2O ft. from me and Miss Chook-- Bold sucker!!! Must've migrated to your place. Sorry 'bout that. . .
  7. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    It does not surprise me that a hawk behaves that way. It is the way they see things.

    Eagles for example will look down and see a mouse in a field with a human on a tractor and a river flowing nearby.

    A hawk looks down and see a mouse and only a mouse. It is rare that they miss a target. So, Hawk would see chickens and not until the last second or so would it see the run wire.

    I will warn you that hawks will get on the ground and try to get them through the wire...the mesh should stop them getting a chick.

    Good luck with them.

    By the way...Cetawin translates to LadyHawk, my name [​IMG]
  8. orchidchick

    orchidchick Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    Thanks for all your replies,

    D.K. Hey Neighbor!

    Yeah, the hawk's behavior freaked me out. it was trying to get the chicks thru the wire once it landed. The poor girls were all huddled up in the high part of the coop so quiet and this hawk was standing up as tall as the wire run staring at them and me before she took off. it is amazing how they can travel thru the pines and palms down here, they can get quite dense. It's a good thing they don't care for little dogs!

    Any more suggestions on hawk proofing and warm weather coop design?

  9. GotCochins?

    GotCochins? In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2008
    Owens Cross Roads, AL.
    good ol' shotgun works great on most any predators ive encountered.[​IMG]
  10. orchidchick

    orchidchick Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    You know, I had thought of that...but the eyes aren't as sharp as they used to be and i have been "hit pretty hard with the menopause stick"....I may end up using said shotgun on some poor unsuspecting victim in one of my more cantakerous moods....probably not such a good idea [​IMG] just kidding!!!! or I'd shoot my own foot off..... actually, I used to go to turkey shoots all the time up North, (no, we didn't actually shoot turkeys, you just won them....frozen) but I digress....

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