The best predator proof ladder design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by skipody, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. skipody

    skipody Hatching

    Oct 16, 2019
    I am trying to develop a prototype for a battery chicken retiring house. The idea is to salvage 2yr old battery chickens that are meant to be slaughtered and to allow them to retire in a agricultural setting. I have about 250 sq m of fenced olive tree grove and I plan to have about 15 chickens run around it during the day. The fence is OK but it wont hold predators during the night. the idea is to create an elevated coop that will be accessible to the chickens but hard on the predators.
    My main question is whether any one has experience with different ladder designs and which ones are the most safe. I am looking for a ladder that chickens can climb but mammals will struggle with. I will not be able to lock the coop every night so its the height that must provide the safety.
    The main predators around my house are foxes, jackals and martens.
    I am aware that such a design wont provide full protection but this is what i can go with. An automatic door is not an option since the coop is far from my house and they might die of heat in case of door failure.
    Any help and suggestions will be most appreciated
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  2. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

    Jan 19, 2018
    My Coop
    Imo nobody should have chickens if they can't properly care for them. Being able to lock them in at night and protect them fully from predators fits that bill.
    Those hens didn't leave the frying pan to go into the fire.

    If it won't stop predators at night, it won't stop them during the day. There are diurnal predators too, such as foxes, raccoons and hawks.

    Until you have vulnerable livestock and poultry, you don't know what kinds of predators you really have.
    chrissynemetz and Folly's place like this.
  3. SueT

    SueT Crossing the Road

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Predators such as raccoons can climb just about anything.
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  4. Indigo a la mode

    Indigo a la mode In the Brooder

    Sep 28, 2019
    I tend to agree. Anything chickens can access, raccoons can too, and what you're proposing just won't be safe. I'd say you should only do this if you create a coop that has an automatic door opener. I really admire your rescue effort here and your heart is totally in the right place, but it wouldn't be right to subject them to a potential gruesome predator death.
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  5. TooCheep

    TooCheep Songster

    Feb 23, 2019
    I agree with the posters above. Predators can get up any ladder your chickens can use. Why would they die in case of door failure? Would no one ever check the coop?

    I have a battery-powered automatic coop door that has been very reliable. I change batteries twice/year. The batteries did run out one time and they chickens were stuck in the coop for a couple of extra hours before I let them out.

    As long has they have proper ventilation, they should be able to survive just fine even if they are stuck in the coop without food and water for a couple of days.

    Edit: I'm using the Chicken Guard Premium, but there are other good commercial openers available.
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  6. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

    May 22, 2017
    SC Midlands
    Chickens are not the sharpest knife in the drawer. If a chicken can figure it out, then any predator can figure it out. Your best bet is an auto door.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
    breegull, aart and chrissynemetz like this.
  7. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Jackals? Where in the world are you? If you have jackals, I am betting you don't have raccoons ....

    But to answer your question, I would say any ladder a chicken can climb, a jackal and your other predators can climb easily as well. Height alone will not save them, I am sorry to say. Chickens need a sturdy support and a gradual incline. Foxes and martens will decimate your coop in a single night.

    I agree with the others. Your heart is in the right place; you are to be commended for your compassion. But your plan is impractical and - I say it with all kindness - it is cruel as it stands. Please reconsider.
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  8. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

    Oct 20, 2014
    If your battery hens are like Leghorn's ... they don't need a ladder ... a little perch about a foot out from the doorway for them to fly up to, and legs of the coop under, and away from the edges, so a climbing critter will have to hang from bottom trying to get to the side ...

    Look at a little bird house to see the perch out front ...
    termeerchick likes this.
  9. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Crossing the Road

    Dec 19, 2013
    Olathe Colorado
    I'm sorry but I just don't think there exists a predator proof ladder. I think the only way to keep them safe is to shut and latch the door at night :idunno
  10. skipody

    skipody Hatching

    Oct 16, 2019
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I appreciate your concern regarding the hens but i dont share your view. In my opinion every day in a grassy field is a gift to a battery chicken, and predation isn't worse than slaughter. Maybe I will give up the ladder all together.
    I will look into the possibilities of an electric door :)

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