Something is trying to dig into my run - and now I'm peeved

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by swordgeek, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    219
    0
    99
    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Apology in advance for this being kind of long... but...

    Bah! Something tried digging into my run last night, for the first time in years. I'm not sure what it was - it could be anything, in this neighborhood. We regularly have fishers, coyotes, foxes and coons in this yard (and hawks and owls and occasionally bears, and even porcupines and the odd wandering beaver). I heard something out there at about 3:30 this morning, so of course I went running with a flashlight, but it was spooked away. Call me paranoid, but I check the entire perimeter every morning, so I know it was last night.

    The coop is located in the back 2/3 of a big shed, right next to the house. This opens into the run, which is enclosed on all sides by a chain link fence, which stretches about halfway across the top of it on all sides. There is also chicken wire covering the rest of the "roof" that's not covered in chain link - the chain link was just too heavy to stretch across the whole thing without collapsing. There is also chicken wire running around the perimeter of the run, tied to the chain link, for a height of maybe 3 feet. The chain link is sunk anywhere from half a foot to two feet below ground level. (The variation is due to encountering unexpected rock ledge and the fact that the birds have been digging next to the fence for the past 2+ years and eroded it, despite how often I try to refill it. Silly birds.)

    So, something dug like mad next to the outer side of the run, at the precise location where my new pullets have been digging like mad from the inside out for their dust bathing for the past two weeks. Whatever tried to get in got a lot of soil out of the way, and even tried to move a flat stone that sits under the storm door that leads to the run. (I insisted that it needed big stones there, because something could easily dig out soil under the door and get in.) I placed bigger, flatter rocks under the door today. Large slabs of nice bluestone that was meant for better things. 8sigh*

    Anyway... now I'm paranoid. I don't have the time or materials on hand to totally refill the edge of the run, so to tide me over, I stuffed every possible access point with large chunks of old landscaping timber that's lying around. (Try moving THAT overnight, you S.O.B.!) Am I just extremely lucky that nothing has squeezed through the chain link in all this time? Am I really going to have to make a cocoon out of 1/4" netting to keep stuff out? And what can I do to reinforce the edges, now that the birds are all digging next to the sides??? I thought I had an impregnable fortress out there!

    I really don't want to lock the birds up in the coop every night and have to let them out in the early morning, but it's an option, I suppose.
     
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    20,149
    320
    411
    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Get bags of concrete and either simply line the edges of the fence with the bags, or build forms and actually pour the concrete over the wire on the ground.If you simply leave the bags intact, weather will take its course and turn those bags into heavy rectangular stones.
     
  3. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    12,146
    27
    311
    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    I built my run out of 1/2" hardward cloth. Didn't want to take a chance. Burying it 8" was smart, because something tried to dig into one a while back. Personally, I'm glad we used the hardware cloth.

    Anything can reach through the fencing. Anything that could get through it could decimate your flock since the coop is open to the run. Once one predator knows the meal is there, others will. If it were me, I'd lock the birds up and work on the hardware cloth.
     
  4. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    219
    0
    99
    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    I'm starting to think using BOTH the concrete AND the hardware cloth is the way to go. We've already talked about extending the run to give them more room, so that would be the time to re-wrap it all. It's going to be a major pain in the rear, but it's better than finding dead birds some morning. [​IMG] We're going away on vacation in a few weeks and my pet sitter will only visit them once a day, so I'd best get cracking.

    The use of concrete around the base crossed my mind earlier today when I was sitting on a few unused bags near the coop, left over from one of the SO's many projects - but didn't even think of just leaving the bags and letting the elements do their thing. Neat idea!

    Meanwhile, I guess I'll lock them up tonight. They'll hate it, but on the upside, the rooster won't be so loud in the morning! The coop is right below my master bedroom window, and the man of the house is not a fan of the constant crowing. He's not a fan of the rooster, either, so anything I can do to keep the peace for even a few days is a good thing.

    Thanks for your help, folks! It's great to have such an invaluable resource at my fingertips.
     
  5. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    12,146
    27
    311
    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    I think your plan is wise. [​IMG]
    Except about the bags of concrete. My understanding is that although they will become rocks, they will be faulty rocks. Undependable and prone to breakage.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by