Predators eating my chickens and can I raise anything with them...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LoveMyChicklets, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. LoveMyChicklets

    LoveMyChicklets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost too many of my dear chickens last year. In the fall my husband built a large chicken coop which I have kept them sequestered in all winter. Now that spring is here we have to decide how best to protect them when they are in the pen. The pen itself has an electric wire running about 2 feet off the ground and again on top. But never the less something continued to get in and kill them. Sometimes the whole chicken would be gone. We caught many possums but I also believe a chicken hawk was getting in through the top during the day and killing and/or taking them. I've heard that the mesh that you can use over the top of the pen doesn't work all that well AND our penned in area is huge. Are there any animals that are safe to raise in the penned in area along with the chickens that would help keep predators out? We've thought about two goats but aren't sure that would do the trick. Can anyone help?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  2. LoveMyChicklets

    LoveMyChicklets Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have any idea how they are getting your chickens? Are they digging under, pulling the wire apart, pulling chickens through the wire? Also--do you have any idea what kind of predator?--if you let us know where you live, we could help you prepare better for predators in that area. What do they leave behind? (just feathers?)

    Most here use 2 by 4 welded wire (not chicken wire), with smaller mesh such as hardware cloth or 1" chicken wire running up at least 2' up sides (on top of welded wire). You need a skirt--either 2' out, or 18" down to keep them from digging in. Run another strand of wire near the ground (I think 6" is about right), to make sure they run into it at the bottom. If they are locked in the coop at night, and top wire is on at all times, netting should work fine for keeping preds. out during the day. Make sure you have no gaps in side--coons can get through 3" gap, such as one between chain-link panels. Good luck--once they find the buffet, they are tenacious!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  4. LoveMyChicklets

    LoveMyChicklets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The possums were getting in through the sides, we believe through the holes in the fencing. Part of the fence is chain link and then the rest is livestock fencing but I'm not sure on the hole size. The chicken hawks were getting in from the top since it is open. My husband ran some wires from a pole he sunk in the middle, attempted to do a simple spider web pattern to prevent them from getting in. Didn't work [​IMG] I believe we may have had problems with owls also. I would find a lot of chickens with no heads, or no head and all the insides eaten. I've also had entire chickens missing. I'm scared to let them free range in the pen during the day for fear I'll lose more of them. It just tears me up each time I lose one of my little feathered friends.
     
  5. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    I think the poster above has given you excellent advice! Can't answer about the goats but it sounds feasible. One very important point...ALWAYS lock them up in the coop at night. If you do that, I don't think they'll be bothered during the night. Also forgot to say [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  6. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    I wouldn't trust hot wire with how crafty the predators are around here (coons). I do welded wire top and bottom and slip soundly at night knowing my girls are safe.

    BTW, welcome to the forum!
     
  7. LoveMyChicklets

    LoveMyChicklets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Will the possums climb the side of the fence past the 2' marker in order to squeeze in? We've trapped quite of few of those horrible guys so I know they are definitely around. Do you know if a possum will get into the hen house through the small door if we leave it open at night? I hate leaving them cooped up all day long during the summer if I can't get in the pen before work to let them out.[​IMG]
     
  8. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Quote:Yes, a possum could do that.
     
  9. Carolina Chicken Man

    Carolina Chicken Man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry to hear about the tough time you are having.

    As far as hawks and owls, the plastic netting is not to expensive, and it will keep them out. They have to swoop (dive) down on a chicken or any prey for that matter to kill.

    If you have chain link fencing, a possum should not be able to get in. It sounds more to me like a mink or weasel. They are also bad for biting the heads off. If that is the case, the hardware wire is about all that will work.
     
  10. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

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    A dog, even a small dog (that doesn't eat chickens ) to keep with your chickens. Maybe on a run outside the pen.
     

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