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Predator proofing, bottom of tractor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Fishman43, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Fishman43

    Fishman43 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is the best and easiest way to predator proof the bottom of an on the ground chicken tractor.

    I have thought of putting 2 X 4 fence wire on the bottom but wonder about it getting rusty, snagging on the ground when I move the tractor, or preventing the chickens from scratching well.

    My other thought was wire skirts (12-18") on the ground surface around the sides of the tractor to prevent digging under. But then I have to lift them up and secure them to move the tractor around as well.

    Or should I go with nothing? I have the Add-A-Motor door opener so the chickens will be safe at night in the coup.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use the wire skirt method, but I'm not counting on it for night time protection because I have a stationary coop that I lock the chickens in at night.

    What I did with my last day tractor model is to fashion four rectangular wire panels, one for each of the four sides of my rectangular tractor. Each panel overlaps the other at the corners. I attached each panel to the wire covering the tractor's baseboard with loxit clips, which kind of act as a hinge.

    When I want to move the tractor, I fold up the skirt panel on the front, lift the tractor up on that end, and drag it. I don't have to touch the other 3 skirt panels. Then, I weight down each of the 4 corners of the tractor with paving blocks.

    However, I will say I don't consider this contraption to be raccoon proof.
     
  3. Fishman43

    Fishman43 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Raccoons don't venture out during the day in my area much, but I do have a few foxes around that I have seen in the afternoons. The birds will be safely (presumably) locked in the coop at night with the automatic door, so really I am mostly looking for daytime prevention of anything getting at the birds under the side wire... electric fencing is looking mighty tempting.
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I wonder how you'd set up an electric wire to stop something from digging under the side. Couldn't the critter just dig under the hot wire?
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I presume the 'house' part of your tractor has a solid floor, yes, so this is just about daytime predatorproofing?

    If so, I would suggest either a flip-up wire apron (up for moving, down and tentpegged when tractor is parked) or if it's possible to surround the whole tractor area with an electric fence that'd do pretty well too, as your only major digging-under type predators in daytime will be dogs/foxes/coyotes.

    (e.t.a. - there are two ways to use hotwire to prevent digging. One is to run a strand or two as close to the ground as you can manage without risking it grounding out, maybe 6" or so out from the base of the fence. Critters need to get their paws and nosies down there to dig, and it will zap them. However the weakness of this approach is that it is awfully easy for small changes in the environment -- wind, heavy rain, an inch of grass growth -- to cause that super-low wire to ground out and render the fence useless, also an animal may initially paw at the ground and wire and in doing so either break it or stretch it so it's now grounding out. A generally-safer approach is to put a normal multistrand electric fence around the whole entire area the tractor will be moved within, with strand spacing and fence height sufficient to keep out Yer Basic Canid Predators so they can't get *close* enough to dig in. This is a good daytime strategy. It is weaker as a nighttime defense, because some things like weasels and mink are pretty hard to electric-fence out due to their size and, well, weaseliness)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  6. Fishman43

    Fishman43 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Pat,

    This is indeed a daytime predator proofing that is needed as the coup proper has a solid floor. Foxes are my main concern (I have seen them on my property), so I may go the elect. fence route and have flip up skirts as a backup.

    The electric fence will also allow me to run a couple of strands high enough to try and combat the hooved forest rodents (deer) that are all to common in my area, and try to keep them out of my corn.
     

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