Ready to throw in the towel!

Jessicx

Chirping
Aug 12, 2017
88
88
86
Central Texas
I have had to replace my flock three times due to disease or predation. I've had to say good-bye to more chickens than I care to ever in a lifetime; many times by my own hand. Despite thousands spent on coops, wire, feeders, feed, incubators, brooders, traps, decoys, and medicine, my flock continues to decline. I lost my best, and most beautiful, breeder last night to another Owl attack. My backyard is a mess of chicken poo and dead plants that will never return, and I've given up on trying to grow my grass back. I can't sleep past 4 AM because that's when the roosters wake up....
When do you decide that enough is enough? I have, for the most part, enjoyed this hobby. But, that's all it ever was or will be. I don't sell or eat the eggs, we don't show the chickens, and the level of destruction to my backyard is very likely insurmountable. I've even had to pay to repair the paint on my car after my red sex-links decided it would be a good place to roost! I love my babies; perhaps enough to know that I don't want to see another one ripped to pieces by opportunistic and uncontrollable birds of prey.
I'm not writing this for pity points. I'm looking for an honest discussion regarding thoughts, experiences, opinions, and advice. This is a big decision, and I want to be as informed as possible before making it.
 

starri33

Crowing
Feb 28, 2016
1,404
4,094
407
Golden Valley AZ
So sorry your going through this, are your chickens in a run or free range? our's are in a run, we have hardware cloth on the bottom of the fence, with wire running about 6 inches out to give coyotes trying to dig under as hard time, then the top half of the fence area and over the top we have bird netting, should a owl try and swoop in for a meal, he's going to get snagged up in the netting. I know that the bird netting won't keep the coyotes out of the run, I'm currently debating on electric fencing for that area.. The old coop has and the new coop will have solid floors, keeps anything that wants to dig in from underneath isn't going to make it. I considered free range when I first got them but we have to many coyotes, I've had a few friends lose their entire flock.
 

Jessicx

Chirping
Aug 12, 2017
88
88
86
Central Texas
So sorry your going through this, are your chickens in a run or free range? our's are in a run, we have hardware cloth on the bottom of the fence, with wire running about 6 inches out to give coyotes trying to dig under as hard time, then the top half of the fence area and over the top we have bird netting, should a owl try and swoop in for a meal, he's going to get snagged up in the netting. I know that the bird netting won't keep the coyotes out of the run, I'm currently debating on electric fencing for that area.. The old coop has and the new coop will have solid floors, keeps anything that wants to dig in from underneath isn't going to make it. I considered free range when I first got them but we have to many coyotes, I've had a few friends lose their entire flock.
They're all free range. I've considered building a larger coop and run, but I've already put so much money in that I don't think I could afford such a large endeavor. However, I'm really happy you mentioned this as it might be a far better alternative than rehoming the flock. Since we're on the subject, do you have any experience or advice on converting a flock of free-rangers to a closed coop and run?
 

CanadaEh

Songster
May 31, 2018
370
647
176
Canada
Despite thousands spent on coops, wire, feeders, feed, incubators, brooders, traps, decoys, and medicine, my flock continues to decline. I lost my best, and most beautiful, breeder last night to another Owl attack.
what were they doing outside of the coop at night?
My backyard is a mess of chicken poo and dead plants that will never return, and I've given up on trying to grow my grass back.
look into fencing a run area for chickens and use deep litter in it
I can't sleep past 4 AM because that's when the roosters wake up....
try velcro collar on your rooster if it really bothers you
When do you decide that enough is enough? I have, for the most part, enjoyed this hobby. But, that's all it ever was or will be. I don't sell or eat the eggs, we don't show the chickens, and the level of destruction to my backyard is very likely insurmountable. I've even had to pay to repair the paint on my car after my red sex-links decided it would be a good place to roost! I love my babies; perhaps enough to know that I don't want to see another one ripped to pieces by opportunistic and uncontrollable birds of prey.
just have them fenced in the run at day and locked in the coop at night - it will solve both predation and destruction problems.
 

Jessicx

Chirping
Aug 12, 2017
88
88
86
Central Texas
Awesome! I like the advice. This is exactly what I needed. Please keep it coming! My babies refuse to roost in their coop because I couldn't keep the snakes out. I have learned to live with the rooster crows, but when combined with a list of other issues, that crowing is hard to ignore. I started free ranging because I felt that runs were unnecessarily cruel (this was in the beginning, when I didn't know any better). However, I haven't quite figured out how to transition them to a closed run without stressing them out too much, nor do I have the option of burying fence 2 feet below the floor (too rocky) to protect them from raccoons. Starri33 first reminded me of the possibility of a closed run (thank you!), so now for this to work I need to be able to build a coop and run for VERY cheap as I just learned my dog will need a $3000 surgery. Thanks so much everyone!!!
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
6 Years
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
1,848
336
Arizona
You can hook/wire 1"X3" welded wire to bottom of run, lay it on the ground on the outside, if ground is too hard to drive stakes in to pin it down put big rocks on top of it to stop diggers ... this is called an "apron".

Cover the top of the run to stop the hawks and owls ...

Use 1/4" hardware cloth to seal up all areas on coop that snakes can get in ...
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,886
437
Finger Lakes, NY
Ive felt the same way, many times! My coop is falling apart, everything is sinking in mud, possum took my 3 best hens, we battled a rat infestation, a hawk took out a hen. Everyone has stopped laying. All this in one summer season. Ugh. Im not going to give up tho. Im working on a new coop, one that is mobile so that I can move it around. Im taking my time, finding building items for cheap or free.
 

Jessicx

Chirping
Aug 12, 2017
88
88
86
Central Texas
You can hook/wire 1"X3" welded wire to bottom of run, lay it on the ground on the outside, if ground is too hard to drive stakes in to pin it down put big rocks on top of it to stop diggers ... this is called an "apron".

Cover the top of the run to stop the hawks and owls ...

Use 1/4" hardware cloth to seal up all areas on coop that snakes can get in ...
I learned the hard way that snakes are shifty little dudes! I covered all open areas with hardware cloth, but learned they were getting in that little spot between the coop walls and the pull-out EZ clean floor.
 

Jessicx

Chirping
Aug 12, 2017
88
88
86
Central Texas
Ive felt the same way, many times! My coop is falling apart, everything is sinking in mud, possum took my 3 best hens, we battled a rat infestation, a hawk took out a hen. Everyone has stopped laying. All this in one summer season. Ugh. Im not going to give up tho. Im working on a new coop, one that is mobile so that I can move it around. Im taking my time, finding building items for cheap or free.
I'm starting to think that I should start going the same direction as you. I don't want to rehome the flock...I really do love them. I guess I'm more worried about what to do between now and the time it takes to piece-meal a run together. I do think that this is the best solution, and I'm going to go out tomorrow to start pricing materials. Thanks so much!
 

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