Predator problems, how to keep a turkey pen safe?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Indigosands, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. Indigosands

    Indigosands Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday, my world was shattered when I walked out to find all my beautiful Narragansetts butchered in my own yard. It appeared a pack of coyotes dug and tore through the wire at the bottom of the fence and they ate most of my birds right there in the backyard. I'm shocked at how bold they were, they jumped an exterior chain link fence to get into my yard, walked right through my driveway and then clearly took their time killing and eating my whole turkey flock and a couple of my roosters in the pen with them. They must have been here over an hour while we slept. I don't know how we didn't hear the ruckus. I feel terrible. My husband and I plan to rebuild this pen from the bottom up and we've purchased a hotwire and wired the chicken coop in the meantime and plan to wire the turkey pens as well top and bottom. Turkey pens are different from chickens however, and there's no locking them in a coop - how do you do it?
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss. Definitely bury a skirt of wire outside of run (we used 1.5ft. of hardware cloth with large rocks around fence perimeter). Electricity is very good (there are numerous threads on various setups/just perform a quick search). We rely on preemptive suppression of vermin, but that's not an option in all situations (our fencing is 6ft. welded wire - but no cover - too many trees in & out of runs). The one time our turks were spooked by a dog, they all flew to the roof of the house, and the wife `happened upon' a `road killed' canine out back.

    We do use baby monitors in both turkey shed and chicken coop (these are great if one is at home - if volume is cranked the whining/growling/putting will wake one up). If possible, cover run with some kind of netting - coyotes will attempt to spook them into flying if the vermin shows up during the day.

    If shooting and trapping isn't an option rely on `Ready Kilowatt' and burn some snouts.

    Hang in there, and the best of luck!
     
  3. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aitkin, MN
    My fencing isn't as stout as Ivan's, but the same general plan. My pen is about 150 x 120 ft, with a six foot high chicken wire fence. Another 20 inches or so was laid on the ground and covered with 8-inch rocks. Then I have two strands of electric wire. Occasionally there will be some damage to the fence and wires where a predator tried to attack and hopefully did the electric slide. I also do not have a cover because of the trees in the back third of the pen. If I don't keep wings clipped, they will fly out. But they usually do that first thing in the morning, and it's easy to get them back inside. I have lost a couple of escapees to predators. Our biggest problem is bobcats. Bobcats get shot. Coyotes don't seem to even look at the turkeys. Perhaps because they have already bumped into the electric fence.

    Sorry about your massacre. Sounds more like a stray dog than coyotes. Either way, losing more than one grown turkey at a time must be devastating. Better luck in the future.
     
  4. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry to hear about your birds!

    For where we live, I find a secure building for night to be far more essential than fencing.

    I have nothing nearly as good as the others as far as run. My turkeys are in a small run made from 4' horse fence (of course they fly over it) until we finish cross fencing their pasture (because they're naughty). They have a very secure shed (think small garage for lawn mower/atv/etc) that they get locked into at night. Keep in mind, I nightly have to round up some or all of the turkeys and chase them into their shed. My chickens have a similar set up, though their shed is much older.

    We've had bear in our yard, and I assume coyotes since I hear them nightly. I've been told that keeping birds around here is hopeless due to all the predators (besides bear & coyotes): mink, marten, cougars, bobcats, fox, stray dogs, stray cats, even wolverine and wolves not too far. In two years I haven't lost a bird here.
     
  5. grinningranny

    grinningranny Out Of The Brooder

    How awful for you; that had to be devastating. I hope you will be able to remedy the problem with the extras you are installing.
    We have a 10 ft chain link fence around our 1/2 acre pen that is shared by turkeys, chickens and goats. The lower 2 feet lay on the ground and are covered with large rocks since we can't bury it...we live on rock. We can't cover it because of lots of trees, which seem to be good cover protection from hawks. We hear coyotes almost nightly, a cougar got our neighbor's llama, we have seen bobcats, fox, and bears, but we have remained free from attacks, so far; partly due to the high human/dog activity around our house, and all males, visitors included, "marking territory" around the house (required activity) [​IMG] . All our animals are locked into a barn or coop for the night, and I scream and throw rocks at anything that flies over, much to my family's amusement.
     
  6. Indigosands

    Indigosands Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yucca Valley, CA
    Thank you all, I sure hope we can get this turned around. We have seen coyotes in the service road behind our home in the early hours of the morning and there's been reports from our neighbors from blocks around that they've been stalking their pets. I don't know what has caused them to be so desperate all of a sudden but it's alarming. I have small kids.

    A baby monitor, now that I didn't think of and it's an excellent idea. We, and the neighbors have huge burly and tall pine trees in our yards so letting them free range just isn't an option because I doubt they'd stay in OUR tree. I know they'd be a lot safer that way. We're positive it wasn't a domesticated dog. Tracks were too small, and there was too much meat actually eaten and taken. My husband said the same thing, that we should be locking them inside a house at night. We had a 3 walled shed type structure for them with a perch inside and some of them would insist on sleeping on top of it anyway. Would anyone be willing to share pics of your turkey's house? I couldn't find much online for photos of a specific turkey setup. Seems like most people free range them and let them roost in trees.

    All this will need correcting rather rapidly. These crazy turkeys had become our favorite animals. I have 7 slate eggs incubating now in hopes of a fresh, safer start.
     
  7. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is the "turkey house formerly goat barn" two years ago:

    [​IMG]

    We built a wall to divide the space in two, the white door on the left will be replaced in the spring. The blue door on the turkey side is a dutch door, I only leave the bottom open during the day. There are windows in the divider wall, so light does get into the turkeys' side. The other side is storage.



    [​IMG]
     
  8. pv74

    pv74 Out Of The Brooder

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    I cobbled together a bunch of old chain link dog run fence panels. I ran hardware cloth 1.5 ft into the ground and wired it the fencing.
    I then stretched sections of chain link and /or horse fencing over the top (used fence tubing and clamps that I bought a Lowe's to hold the weight of the fencing on the roof).
    It's completely enclosed top to bottom....nothing is getting into this fortress without a lot of effort.
    Not the cheapest solution, but I have not had problems with predators yet...and we have coyotes, skunks, raccoons and birds of prey (I live right on the edge of the Birds of Prey National Preservation area) in my area.
    The entire area for my chickens and turkeys (I only have a few) is 300 sqt ft (I'll probably more than double that space this summer).

    I'd love to let my flock run free, but I don't think it's worth the risk...besides, the birds have plenty of space to run around and spread there wings...so I'm not too concerned.
     
  9. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    I put up shed for the turks (no choice/too many preds). It took a little over a month to train them to return to the run and into the shed to roost (only had to encourage them get off of the chimney, once - and wife's skill with the bow came in handy to run leader (and then a rope) up over hickory branch - force `em down onto the spotlit ground below. Now they just march in - single file - with no human intervention (first gen. trained the following gen., etc). [​IMG] Be aware, 1.5 -2 wk. old poults can, with effort, clear 6 ft. fence. Not much older and they can fly right into every sort of trouble. If they are provided with handy roosts within run they'll usually stick with those (our broods have never used roosts in corners of run to vault up and over - though they have used them to get to roof of shed or coop): [​IMG] [​IMG] Jennies and hens will sometimes decide an unauthorized nest outside of run would be nice. These are hunted down, the nest completely destroyed and any eggs and hen returned to shed (back corners, ladies!),
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  10. Indigosands

    Indigosands Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yucca Valley, CA
    Thank you all for the pictures and ideas, please keep them coming! I'm still very new to this and I sure don't want to lose a second flock to the predators. :(

    Ivan I learned how well a turkey can fly the first time I set them out in a penned off area. They were about 2 wks old like you said, they took a running start and flew right up to the top of the 5" section of chicken wire that the chickens never even attempted. If a chicken's hard to catch, a poult that's caught freedom for the first time is a nightmare. [​IMG]
     

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