Please help me design a safe and humane chicken yard

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by amanda1, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. amanda1

    amanda1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2015
    We lost our third bird in one year yesterday, this time to a fox. I had run fishing line every square foot over their yard, which has seemed to prevent hawk attacks, but apparently one of our ladies figured out a way to get over the fence, and yesterday while we weren't home she was clearly taken by a fox. We are planning on moving the coop in the fall, a bit closer to our house and right next to our garden. We are hoping being closer to the house will deter some predators, but we have a lot of foxes Hawks and raccoons out here.

    I want to have a yard for them that is a sufficient size, yet protects them completely. We do let them out to free range when we are here and can watch them.

    We hope to keep about 10 chickens at a time. The area I have to work with is 40' x 50'. My husband wants to plant a tree inside the yard. I'd like something I can cover, but might have to work around the tree. I'd also like to make sure it is high enough to get inside and mow or trim without stooping over. Obviously the less expensive, the better. I don't think we need hardware cloth fencing, the 1" x 2" openings would probably work. Please share your ideas with me!
     
  2. Hay Belly

    Hay Belly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have foxes, raccoons, hawks and eagles so I use chain link dog panels I got off craigslist and the 2"x4" cheapo wire rolls from Home Despot or TSC. My total coop is 26' x 26'. I zip-tied the wire on top and use various things (boards, ladders etc.) to hold it up in places, like a clothes-line pole because it will sag. I don't know how attractive you want your back yard - 6x12' chain link panels are not! But nothing short of a grizzly can get through them. I am super paranoid about something chewing through the top which is why I used wire. Netting would be cheaper but carnivores can definitely chew through plastic.

    A tree in the midst is no problem at all. You can cut the wire to make a sleeve going down all around and then attach it at the bottom like the closure on a laundry bag with giant zip-ties. I've never had a problem with them chewing the zip-ties but I use a lot! And for digging, I got free pavers and placed them around the panels on wire attached to the base of the panels when I first set up the coop but no one ever dug.

    Where I live there are dozens of dog kennels on craigslist; I wouldn't use anything else. The only problem is there are areas in them that a young coon could get through so I cut wire and covered them. Not pretty but 100% safe. Just imagine you are making a cage to house foxes/coons/dogs/hawks and if they couldn't get out they can't get in.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
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    This may help:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1117877/a-treatise-on-electric-fencing

    Reading posts like yours was motivation to put something like that together.

    I have become convinced that the first line of defense ought to be an electric fence. Done right, that may filter out the vast majority of threats, at least from the furry varmints.

    This is not for everyone. My daughter doesn't want one as they have a 3 year old who likely as not would touch it. She was not amused when I told her he would only touch it once. [​IMG]
     
  4. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had a small garden when my youngest daughter was probably 7-8 years old. I had set up an electric fence around the perimeter to keep dogs and cats out of it. Well naturally she got on it. Cried, sniffled, was insulted, etc.,. Her mother coddled her...I laughed. I got hard looks from both of them.[​IMG] Well, a little bit later that day my daughter was back out at the garden with me when one of our dogs got a little bit too inquisitive...yep, he got into to it and commenced to yelping and hollering as it took off. I looked over at my daughter and she was laughing hysterically. Everybody gets "initiated" to an electric fence sooner or later...and it's not funny. But then, whenever somebody else gets in one it's hard not to laugh. It's just something about "knowing the shock"...kind of a kindred spirit thing. [​IMG]

    Once something/someone learns what the fence is about...they will avoid them as best as they can!

    Ed
     

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