Preditor proofing?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WVjoe, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. WVjoe

    WVjoe Out Of The Brooder

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    What should i do to preditor proof my coop and run?

    I am putting the fence 12 inches into the ground and it will be between 5 and 6 feet high. besides that what els could or should i do?

    the run is 45 feet long by 15 feet wide with the coop directly in the middle.

    i have seen alot of sugestion to put netting over the top. is this necessery?

    the coop itself is a 8 foot by five foot molded plastic tool shed that i cleaned and modified; think im good their, i dont see much getting in their when its shut up.

    thanks for any suggestions or advise i certainly apreciate it..
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    The netting on top will help for hawks and that will be your daytime issue with the fence that high but won't help for possums and coons at night. For them you'll have to lock them in the coop at night.
    A fox could probably jump or climb your fence but around here they only come around at dusk.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    It’s really hard to total predator proof a run that size. There are so many predators that can climb, fly, dig, rip, or just jump that high. It would cost a fortune to totally predator-proof against every possible thing.

    What I suggest is that you make your run predator-resistant and your coop predator proof, then minimize your risks by management techniques. You’ll never manage to make it 100% predator-proof but you can do a whole lot to keep them out.

    Your biggest risk is at night. Many predators are more active then and you are not around to interfere with their attacks. That does not mean coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, or whatever won’t be out during the day. I see them all and they are not sick or anything like that. The risk is not generally huge during the day but it never goes away.

    I suggest you look at an apron instead of burying the wire. Lay about 18” of wire flat on the ground outside your run and attach it to the bottom of your run fencing. A lot of people take up the turf, about 2”, and put it back down on the wire to make it look better and keep it away from weed eaters and lawn mowers. The idea is that a predator goes up to the fence, starts to dig, hits the wire, and doesn’t know enough to back up. I used 2”x4” welded wire for that. It will stop anything “big”.

    Netting will not stop a fox or raccoon from climbing the fence, ripping the netting, and getting in. It will keep the chickens from flying out and it will greatly hinder hawks or owls from flying in. There are different kinds of netting. Hawks or owls can just fly through some of them but they generally won’t hit it if they can see it. You can put netting over it if you wish, but you’ll need some supports in the middle or it will sag where you can’t walk through the run, which is a real pain. If you get snow or ice, that can bring it down.

    How big a danger are hawks to start with? That is real hard to answer. I’ve got hawks all over the place and my chickens roam without any netting over them. I don’t lose chickens to hawks. Other people do. Hawks are a definite risk but not a guaranteed disaster. What I’d suggest is that you give the chickens a place to seek shelter from them. Chickens have an instinctive fear of anything over them. If they see a shadow or a movement in the sky, they scatter for shelter. If you can give them bushes to hide under or some sort of cover (which would be good for shade too) they will probably be OK. It’s not a perfect solution but a reasonable precaution.

    Full sized chickens can easily fly over a 5’ fence. Usually they won’t unless they have some motivation. I keep mine in 4’ high electric netting and they generally don’t fly out. About the only time they do is when I am integrating young chickens and those fly out to get away from the older bullies. Of course, they don’t know enough to fly back in.

    They can easily fly up 5’ to a roost or perch. One thing to avoid is putting a landing place in top of your fence. It’s pretty common for them to fly up there just to perch. They can easily come down on the wrong side and not know to get back in. Avoid putting top rails on your fence. Have some fencing sticking up at the top so they don’t see a place to perch.

    2’ x 4’ Welded wire will stop practically any decent-sized predator from getting in, but it won’t stop everything. A risk also is that the chickens will stick their heads through the fencing to eat the green stuff growing there. Believe it or not, they’ll do that with a predator close enough to take their head off. All the predator has to do is hang around a while and they’ll get used to it. I solved that problem by putting chicken wire around the lower 18” or so of the run fencing. The big benefit to me is that it also helps keep baby chicks from getting separated from a broody where she can’t protect them.

    I lock mine up after dark in a predator proof coop and let them out after daylight into a predator resistant area and that has worked really well for me. I used to let them free range during the day and lock them up at night. I would lose one every year or two to a fox, which wasn’t too bad. I could handle that. But people have started dropping off dogs out here in the country for the “good life”, which means they get eaten by coyotes, starve to death, or get shot if they start harassing livestock. But it became so regular that I’d lose chickens to those dogs that I finally went with the electric netting.

    We all have our own unique problems and issues and have to find our own solutions. Hope you can get something out of this that helps. Good luck!!!
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Good stuff Ridgerunner!!
     
  5. WVjoe

    WVjoe Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks a bunch. My coop will be preditor proof, so i will put them up their at night and i will add the flat wire around the outside bottom and go from their.
     

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