Run design - Fox proofing

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by evanbb, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. evanbb

    evanbb New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2010
    Hello chicken lovers,

    First post here, so apols if this topic has been re-hashed 2,500 times already. I couldn't make any sense out of the Google search results.

    We've finally realised that free-range chooks + vege garden = lots of dead veges and straw for days. It's taken a while but the ladies have figured out the garden is a fun place to be.

    So, we're going to build a combination chook run/orchard netting that will hopefully house 8 fruit trees and maybe half a dozen chooks. We're in canberra and I'd be surprised if there wasn't a fox or 2 within one km. Firstly, I'm thinking about the requirements to stop a fox (and probably a Brush-Tailed Possum) getting in and causing a ruckus. Will a good nylon wire stop a fox? I suspect not. I've considered treated pine lattice for at least some of it, any experience with that? I'm going to try and stay away from wire mesh, mostly because it's ugly, but would use it if necessary.

    I suspect the footing is the key to keeping foxes out, being smart and persistent. Rather than burying the edges I'm thinking of building some sturdy garden beds to hold the edge down. Bring the ground up rather than the fence down. I need to have a trip to the hardware store and have a good look at materials. Until then, any assistance would be terrific.

    Evan
     
  2. Dread Pirate Roberts

    Dread Pirate Roberts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2009
    NorCal
    how about a hot wire?
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Just put an apron around the perimeter.

    Its MUCH less work

    If you put a raised bed against your fence, it wont be long before it rusts out, and it will be very hard to repair
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree, and remember that foxes dig and climb. We have lots and if the species there is like our Vulpes vulpes, you really need to fortify.
    See our run, below, for information. I know your climate is much different, maybe you need to talk to folk in Oz?
    Not sure about your possums, but the foxes alone require an adversarial attitude! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  5. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You are on the right track by wanting to build a secure enclosure from the start. Too many people skip that step and instead adopt a reactionary stance against predators instead of defensive. It's just plain common sense to build a proper pen (at least for nightime) for your chickens/livestock. In the long run it will save you time, money and energy, so I applaud your wise decision.

    If you are going to fence a large run, I agree that electric would be the way to go. Be sure that there are no "wildlife ladders" as I call them. (Structures that allow animals to scale or go over your fence like large trees, buildings, trash cans, etc.) To double up on the safety, I would suggest training yor chickens to go in a secure night pen. As ecure pen would be made of solid materials and strong 1/2 inch squares of thick wire mesh. It should have roosts and nest boxes, and should have wire buried in the ground around the perimeter to prevent digging. You will sleep better at night knowing they are locked up snug.

    By the way, if lattice is the same thing where you are as it is here, it's what I call a "wildlife ladder", I wouldn't use it. lol
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Foxes are big diggers, and grey foxes are quite good climbers too (I believe red foxes will climb a little bit but am not sure; I am sadly too stupid to know which sort of foxes Australia has [​IMG]).

    Foxes will chew/rip through anything nonelectrified that isn't heavy gauge wire mesh -- I would for SURE not use nylon mesh, plastic fencing, nor even wooden lattice. You *could* use them I suppose if you want to run several lines of electric wire on them, but remember that all electric fences fail sometimes for a variety of reasons, and predators can be pretty quick to notice. I would suggest regarding electricity as a bit of extra insurance rather than as your lone defense.

    For digging, honestly in the States you need to bury heavy gauge wire mesh (or something else digproof) at least 18" to reliably keep out foxes -- dunno if you might need to go even deeper than that in Australia, ask around -- or put a wire mesh apron flat on the ground outside the fence, strongly attached to the base of the fence, at least 3 and preferably 4' wide, with the loose edge very well pinned or weighed down or lightly buried, so's not to give a fox any ideas.

    GOod luck, ahve fun,

    Pat
     
  7. evanbb

    evanbb New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2010
    Ahhhh, didn't realise this is an international forum.

    Yes, it is Vulpes Vulpes, the Red Fox. They're pretty common in urban Australia, but they're more occasional than common. I haven't seen any evidence that they've visited our yard; no digging or poos.

    The Brush-Tail Possum is a nuisance more than anything. Similar niche to a racoon in that they frequent backyards and bins and do quite well in urban environments. They're no where near as smart as a 'coon though; more curious than genuinely intelligent.

    In any case, it sounds like a wire mesh is the way forward and that it needs to be buried. I might net the roof, but will probably gal-mesh the whole way over.

    I'll let you know how it goes and post some pics once I'm done. Might even sketch it up in google sketch for the nerds out there.

    Evan
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    If there are red foxes around I would suggest fairly serious digproofing... they may not have done anything much around your yard in the absence of chickens, but are whole different critters once they realize that dinner is just the other side of a run fence [​IMG]

    If your possums are large enough to take on an adult chicken -- all I know about brushy-tailed possums is that I have some socks from NZ knitted with their fur in the wool, and they make *excellent* socks [​IMG] -- then having them climb over the fence at night might also be a concern, as this is a problem with American opossums. If they are too small for taking on a grown hen, it might be that you only have to protect chicks from them.

    Good luck, have fun, post pics when you get it built [​IMG],

    Pat
     
  9. thenewbckyrdchicknfrmer

    thenewbckyrdchicknfrmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:im sorry yo hi'jack your thread but i have a question for lynneP, i was looking at your coop building page and i saw that clear PVC plastic you used for the roof of your run, i was wondering would that effect plants growing in the run? like does it filter out any essential rays or beams that the plants need to grow?

    EDIT:spelling
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  10. evanbb

    evanbb New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2010
    Mostly just for a bit of fun, I've drawn the design up in Google Sketch Up. Here's a 2d output of the 3d model
    http://twitpic.com/z92c5

    It's a useful program to think about what the final design might look like, but hard to draw the important details, like how the poles will be set in the ground and how far down the mesh will go.

    EB
     

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