Possum/skunks/ and unknown oh my!!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by slucas0205, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. slucas0205

    slucas0205 New Egg

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    Hi all! I have 6 beautiful brown hens doing fantastic! Got them in April when they were a few weeks old and never had any problems... until now. We moved to basically the middle of nowhere and I reluctantly let them out of the hen house a few times the were good girls and came right back before dusk. But the reason I say reluctantly is because since we've moved I've encountered many possums and have heard howling of wolves/coyotes? (Not sure which is around me). And my husband had to dispose of a skunk who dug under the hen house and got a little too close. I've been searching the web for natural repellents or ways to deter these animals. I know if it happens I can't do anything about it but I'd like to try to keep my ladies safe... if anyone has any ideas or suggestions please post so I can get a move on getting these animals away at the least. Thanks much!

    Samantha
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    You might want to check into electric fencing to protect your birds and only allow monitored free ranging. When we free range, eventually we sustain losses. Good luck with your flock.
     
  3. slucas0205

    slucas0205 New Egg

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    The girls are supervised for the couple hours I let them out those few days. And we are saving up to buy a fence. We literally just bought our first house so these things won't be so quick to get. Which is why I asked for any ways to deter until then.
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First thing I'd suggest is to lay down a wire apron around the coop and/or run. This will keep the diggers out. Theory is the wire apron is built of something like 1" x 2" wire (if you have weasels, you might drop that down to 1/2" x 1"). About 2' wide. Bend about 4 inches or so up on one leg that you attach to the side of the coop/run. The rest is laid out on the ground, held down by landscape fabric pins, tent stakes, etc.

    Diggers go at the junction of the flat and upright leg and immediately hit the wire and are thwarted. They may cast up and down the line, digging here and there, but never do figure out they need to back up a couple feet and start digging way out there and tunnel under. No need to bury it. Left flat on the ground, you can cover it with landscape mulch or let the grass grow up through it.

    This is what mine looked like when it was installed.

    [​IMG]

    Today, you can't even tell it is there, except the varmints know.
     
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  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After you secure the coop with an apron, next step is to widen the safe zone perimeter with an electric fence. Those two items will keep your birds safe from just about all threats except birds of prey.
     
  6. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Best deterrent is multi-faceted approach: a secure coop & run, predator control, good fences or a dog.
    A dog that is properly "chicken conditioned" and accepts them as part of the pack is a great asset to any chicken owner.
    Our lab is an outside dog and hangs out with our hens whenever they are out.

    Other than that, buy a cage trap and start trapping coons, possums & skunk as a preemptive measure.

    You didn't indicate which state you are in. Unless you are in the upper Midwest/Mountain states, no wolves but coyotes are in all lower 48 states now.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    In addition, don't feed outside of their safe coop and run, so fewer critters will come out at night around your coop. Chickens are tasty treats for everyone, and it takes good security to protect them, especially at night. If you have bears, electric fencing around your coop and run are essential. For other smaller predators, a dig proof foundation, well secured hardware cloth, solid construction, good latches; all the things we talk about here. Mary
     

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