Predator proofing a chicken tractor.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RachaelR32, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. RachaelR32

    RachaelR32 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm looking for ideas on how to stop things digging into a chicken tractor.

    I built one last year with a wire mesh skirt to prevent digging, but its not very practical. Its hard to move it as I keep catching the wire and bending it. Also it takes a long time to unpeg it and then peg it all down again once moved. Alsi, where I have stood on the wire over and over again when putting in food/water I have damaged the wire and it needs replacing in sections after only 6 months.

    My friend doesn't have anything to prevent digging into her tractors and says its not a problem. But I'd worry about it. Also, my girls dig holes on the inside, sometimes right up to the edge, so that it there had been no mesh skirt the hole they had dug might have let things in.

    I've got a broody sitting on eggs, so I'm thinking I'll need some new housing for the chicks in a few months assuming she hatches them OK.
     
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What if, instead of a skirt, you put the wire mesh or hardware cloth, on the floor inside of the coop. This would prevent the chickens from digging into the floor, and predators from being able to come in. It would also stop your problem oft moving the coop.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Consider mounting a low joule output solar powered fence charger to tractor. Then affix a single wire to frame as a perimeter 4" from ground and 4" from tractor The use tractor itself as ground assuming some of tractor metal also in contact with ground. Critters touching tractor and perimeter at same time get a zap. Digging from outside will be difficult without touching perimeter. Contact with ground (soil) only when conditions dry will result in only tractor being hot. Chickens will not be zapped by contacting tractor wires. Depending on how you handle tractor, you may not need to power it down during moves. Light charger I use has easy to reach switch and flashes when on making so you can see from a distance (30 feet or so without optical aid) if charger operating
     
  4. RachaelR32

    RachaelR32 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunatly I can't afford a solar electric fence unit at the moment. I am saving up for 50m electric poultry fencing kit so that I can fold them over the field in a bigger area at a time. The chicken tractor is just for use until I can afford electric fencing and is to be built mostly out of things I have already.
     
  5. RachaelR32

    RachaelR32 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess thats my choice. A wire mesh floor or the mesh skirt. The mesh floor is probably more secure, but not so good for the chickens I guess.
     
  6. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since you do already have the wire skirt, what about modifying it, and attaching skirt at the base of each side with zip ties or loops of heavy duty wire, (for example), on 4 sides, sort of like 'hinges'.* They can be fairly tight, just loose enough to allow the next step.
    Each side would have to extend out past that particular wall, so that they would overlap. But all 4 wire sections are separate.
    Then, when it comes time to move the tractor, you flip the wire up and briefly twisty it in the middle so it stays in place.
    Move the enclosure, then flip the wire skirts down and secure with garden staples.

    *Note; if you added a piece of wood (1x3"?) on the side of the wire skirt next to the tractor, you could even use hinges. The idea is to be able to flip the skirt up out of the way to move the tractor.
     
  7. RachaelR32

    RachaelR32 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hinges so it can flip up out of the way sounds good. I had thought I would be able to flip up the mesh skirt I've got as that was discribed on some site I'd been reading. But I must have used thicker wire or something as it's not that flexible. I had to use a hammer to bend it into shape in the first place. Bending it over and over again seems to damage it. So having it hinged seems a good idea. For the one I already made, the wire for the skirt is not separate from the wire on the sides - I just bent it out at the bottom of the sides.
     
  8. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see.
    I wonder if you could cut the skirt off as closely as possible, attach to a piece of wood like the 1x3" and hinge it back on to the bases? Small hinges would work.
    (you might need to purchase some extra wire for the short sides so there is enough overlap when flipped back down).
     
  9. RachaelR32

    RachaelR32 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got nearly 90ft of weldmesh left over from building my fixed run, so I've plenty of that. I might build the new tractor for the chicks with a hinged skirt and if that seems to work well, modify the old one as well.
     
  10. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If weldmesh is what I think it is, that should be nice and sturdy, and work well for a 'flippable' skirt.
     
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