Security check for a newbie

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by christinehalt, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. christinehalt

    christinehalt New Egg

    Mar 22, 2017
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Hi! I'm new to raising chickens and need to know if I'm taking all the correct safety measures to keep out predators. We live in a residential neighborhood and have a completely fenced (6 foot) lot. The coop and run will be fenced in with a 20" chicken wire apron dug around it to discourage predators from diggging into the coop.

    We have two dogs, but I am more concerned by our resident coyotes who live in an adjacent lot...I hear them howling every night and am concerned they will be lured by my sweet chickens. Will the wood 6 foot fense surrounding our yard keep them out or do we need to take more safety measures into account!?

    Ideas to deter coyotes and further safety proof the coop from our two dogs (terriers....[​IMG]) would be greatly appreciated! TIA!
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Here are some observations I have. The first thing I would do is ditch the chicken wire and invest in hardware cloth. A determined coyote, stray dog, or raccoon can defeat chicken wire. Hardware cloth is pretty spendy but not if it keeps out the things that want to eat your flock.
    In terms of the the 6' fence. Not sure what breeds you have but some breeds are more flight prone than others. If you clip the flight feathers on one wing that will keep them on your side of the fence. Downside to that is it leaves them pretty defenseless because then they can't fly at all and should something get on your side the fence...
    Speaking of the fence...I have read on BYC that coyotes have been observed getting over 6' tall fences. Not sure if they were chain link which they could climb or otherwise grip onto and get over....or board fences like yours which they would have to completely vault over.
    The coyotes will hear and smell your chickens but as you are residential they would likely only visit at night and your chickens will be safe in their coop by then.
    Also, I see this is your fist post on BYC. If you like, pop on over to the New Members Forum and say hello so we can give you a proper BYC welcome.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hardware cloth is better than chicken wire but it is expensive. The heavier the gauge of the wire the more effective it is in stopping predators. The tighter (smaller) the mesh the smaller critters it will keep out. Another advantage of tight mesh is that it can make it harder for the critter to get a grip to pull on it. There are photos on here where a large dog or such has torn through hardware cloth, just ripped it. If the mesh is large enough a critter like a raccoon can reach through the sides of a wire mesh run and grab a chicken, eating it in parts. There are some trade-offs in fencing. For my apron around my run I used leftover wire, some hardware cloth and some 2” x 4” welded wire. Both have worked so far and I have seen evidence of digging around the run.

    If you are buying it new, the 2x4 welded wire may be cheaper by the square foot and will be very effective against your dogs and the coyotes. But you need to look at the cost of the roll to see the real cost. I’d expect hardware cloth to also be effective as an apron.

    In suburbia you have a lot more predators than the coyotes, things like raccoons that can climb. Foxes are great climbers, often climbing into trees. And there are other threats. I haven’t seen it myself but I’ve read that coyotes can jump over a fence higher than 6’. That 6’ wall will provide quite a bit of deterrence but don’t expect it to be a predator proof barrier. Any time you let them out your chickens are at risk, but many people are very successful providing deterrence during the day and locking them in a good predator proof coop at night. Practically any predator can be active during the day but your risk is much greater at night.

    The way I read your post you do not plan to let them free range in your yard during the day, you plan to keep them in the coop and run. If I’m wrong let me know and I’ll discuss more about that wall keeping the chickens in. If you can tell us what that wall looks like we can be more precise.

    The more you can tell us about your set-up and how you plan to manage them the better we are able to help. It’s hard to be specific when you don’t know details. But in general, use decent materials including robust hardware and pay attention to your connections. Often the connections are the weak link.

    Welcome to the forum, glad you joined us.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    You've already been given extensive good advice...and questions.

    I'll just agree that a coyote won't have much trouble with 6' foot fence....
    ....and wonders what the gap between bottom of fence and ground is?
    What can't climb/jump over may well just dig underneath.

    Making the coop for sure, and maybe the run, predator proof is the first best defense.

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