Recommendations Please

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by scrambledmess, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. scrambledmess

    scrambledmess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NW Ohio
    We have decided to build this coop. http://thegardencoop.com/index.html We are ordering our first chicks next week (probably Austrolops (sp?)).

    My first thought was to put the coop in our side yard so our own dogs wouldn't harass the chickens. However, there are too many strays that run around for me to not consider putting this behind our own fenced in yard.

    So the coop is going into our back yard which is surrounded by 3.5 ft chain link fence which so far has kept all strays out of our back yard, especially when our own GSD and Border Collie are out back.

    So here are my questions:

    1. Once your dogs get used to your chickens, do they leave them alone? I am not sure how our own dogs will react to the birds. Do you think this coop will keep the curious out? Should I do anything to reinforce to prevent my dogs from getting in?

    2. Our dogs are in the house at night. Our yard backs up to the woods. I know there are plenty of coon and oppusum in our woods, not to mention snakes, rats etc. I have also seen owls and hawks sitting up in our trees. There also used to be a bobcat that lived back there. I think it moved on, but knowing it was there once doesn't stop it from returning. Is there any additional modifications needed on this coop to make it safe from those preditors.

    Thanks in advance for any input!
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    1. Once your dogs get used to your chickens, do they leave them alone? I am not sure how our own dogs will react to the birds. Do you think this coop will keep the curious out? Should I do anything to reinforce to prevent my dogs from getting in?

    Not necessarily. If there is a way to separate your dogs from the birds I would do that.

    2. Our dogs are in the house at night. Our yard backs up to the woods. I know there are plenty of coon and opposum in our woods, not to mention snakes, rats etc. I have also seen owls and hawks sitting up in our trees. There also used to be a bobcat that lived back there. I think it moved on, but knowing it was there once doesn't stop it from returning. Is there any additional modifications needed on this coop to make it safe from those predators. ..

    I think you will need a roofed run, with hardware cloth on the sides and all openings greater than 1/2" blocked securely. We have the same kinds of problems, including fisher cats, bears, bobcats, even cougars. It costs more, but you will have your birds, and done 'up front' you sleep better. Your dogs will alert you, too. It will also discourage unwanted human visitors, and should have a lock. A light shining from the house to the coop is always a good thing too.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  3. jab91864

    jab91864 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    I like that coop design quite a bit. The run is covered which would help to keep predators of the sky at bay. Use small mesh wire and you will keep out more varmints. Lock the coop itself up at night... if there are windows they should be covered with a small wire mesh as well.

    As for your dogs.... every pet is different. I have 6 dogs and they all act differently. My rat terrier is awesome at rounding up stray birds that refuse to come into the coop at dusk. My pug and shih tzu could care less and act as if the birds don't exist. My dachshund is good at rounding up but not as good as the rat terrier. The dachshund will on occasion play a little too rough for the chickens..but if I have a predator issue he will trail thru the woods non stop. I have a sheltie that tries to forcibly herd the flock and is never allowed unsupervised access to the flock. His brother (sheltie) is much more gentle and actually has full access to the coop and run and is the watch dog for the flock.
    I have seen him pick up eggs and carry them across the yard an not so much as crack them. I did have an issue once with him and a banty salmon faverolle hen. He was fixated on her and on occasion I would find him carrying her about...never a mark on her (very soft mouth) but not treatment to be encouraged as it is stressful to the bird!!

    You will have to make your own judgement on your pets reaction to the flock and how they interact. Most discourage leaving any dog unsupervised contact with a flock, while others find having a guard a great help.

    Best of luck with your flock !!! [​IMG]
     
  4. CTChickenMom

    CTChickenMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 5, 2009
    SE Connecticut
    I agree with the last post...use the small gauge welded fence (hardware cloth) on any windows. Dig down into the ground about 18" around the coop and lay the fence in with a bend in it. This will discourage diggers. Coons are very clever, definitely cover the run with the same hardware cloth or they will get inside. They have opossable thumbs so locks need to be coon proof. Someone here caught an owl walking into his hen house via the pop door when he got home from work. The pop door should be closed too, at night. Make sure your coop is draft free but well ventilated. My sis purchased a coop and now has mold issues because it wasn't well ventilated. Builders of coops may know about building but not necessarily anything about the needs of chickens.
     
  5. sandypaws

    sandypaws Chillin' With My Peeps

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    desert of calif
    HOTWIRE!!!! HOTWIRE !!!! HOTWIRE!!!!!

    nice coop..but unless you want heartache you WILL need to reinforce it...somehow...
    i would NEVER trust my dogs... and i know people are getting tired of me saying it but.... shepherd and border collies are HERDING dogs bred to CHASE (and bite) i have seen way to many of these breeds chase and kill (herding them to death)
    i have a hunting breed of dog. (3 karelian beardogs) 2 strand of hotwire on the fence keeps them away from the chickens...
    i have never had a chicken death by perdators or dogs since i put up the hotwire...
     
  6. scrambledmess

    scrambledmess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 26, 2008
    NW Ohio
    Thanks for the recommendations. We do have hotwire around our backyard to keep the border collie in. It shouldn't be hard to move it over around the coop. We can just build the coop close to the fence and run it around it some way. Thanks for the recommendations on the type of fencing too!!!!
     
  7. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    SC
    Quote:Excellent advice! I would never trust my three dogs around the chickens. The light from the house idea is great- unless your rooster can see it. Then he'll crow all night! [​IMG]

    Edited to add [​IMG] !
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  8. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    new zealand
    Don't forget, it's not only the dogs that need to get use to the chickens, vice versa also required...

    We trust our 3 around the chickens, but not around eggs, every chance they have they'll run into the coops and raid any eggs with no hens sitting on it.
     

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