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Thoughts on knitting mesh for tractor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by pw_quiltworks, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. pw_quiltworks

    pw_quiltworks One Handy Chick

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    Sounds odd putting it that way. I really don't know what you would call it. Where I come from it's called knitting heads or mesh. I am making mesh/netting for a tractor. I am wondering if it would work as good as chicken wire. First of all it's nylon and it stands up to most weather conditions. The nylon I am using is used in lobster traps. I used to knit head for a living waaaaay back in the day. [​IMG]Anyway...I am wondering if you think it would work as well as chicken wire. Here are the reasons why I am going this route. I paid 60.00 for the nylon. That is fairly cheap for the amount that I bought. I think that is very reasonable in price. I am pretty sure it is more than enough for a large tractor. It will stand up to any weather conditions. Maybe not lightening. I can make the mesh any size I need it. It's lightweight and is easy to handle unlike wire. The only thing that worries me is animals chewing through it. I am here all day and I am pretty sure if my chickens are in some sort of enclosure the fox will leave them be. They have not bothered them before when in a fenced in area. If I let them free range within a week they would be gone. We do shoot the fox when we can but they are a hard target. Does anyone have any experience with nylon netting? I would love to hear how it works if your using it. I am going ahead and am going to give it a try. Now all I need is some good plans. If you know of some good plans please direct me to them. Thanks.

    Never buy nylon rolls/balls through the mail. I had to go to Searsport to return what I bought cause it was the wrong size. It was almost rope. Searsport from here is about an hour and a half drive. Sighs. Live and learn.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  2. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    Considering that Drs. Foster & Smith had to stop advertising a particular dog bed as being "chew proof" about 10 yrs ago after our Blue Heeler had chewed a hole in it in just a couple of minutes - I wouldn't trust anything for my chickens that wasn't heavy metal. If my heeler can chew fast and hard, I don't want to see what a determined wild predator is capable of.
     
  3. pw_quiltworks

    pw_quiltworks One Handy Chick

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    I am home all day and have a view of where I will put it. I should think having my gun ready and I can view the pen I would have no problems. I could see it if I worked all day but I don't. I am retired. It is my hope that I would hear something. When I am out somewhere I would leave them in the coop. I am not gone much. Maybe twice a month on a day trip. Hubby does all the shopping. [​IMG]

    I can lift only about 50 pounds over my shoulders now. I am not young anymore. So what I make must be somewhat easy to move. I have all I can do to lift my 50 pound bag of feed up a flight of stairs. I have mixed feelings about the nylon. But as it is it's better than nothing. I think I will probably try this route for now and if it does not work maybe I will go to chicken wire again. [​IMG] I had nothing but problems with that too. Rusting was a big problem. Everything here rusts. By the time I got the pen finished I could all but move it. I did manage to run over it and that was the end of that. At the time it was empty thank goodness. I want my pen to be 50 feet long 4 or 5 feet wide and 3 feet high. I plan a small nesting area that will hold 3 nests. Maybe 4 depending on how many hens I get. I might get a tarp for shade. Not sure of that yet.
     
  4. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicken wire is not reliable against things like raccoons. Chickens stick their heads through chicken wire and cut their the combs. A better solution would be a heaver wire. I make a modular set up for my garden. It uses 2"x4"x60" 12.5 gage galvanized fencing. Each piece is 5'x5'x2' high and weigh about 45 lb. When butted up to each other I can have a run that is 100' long. The run pieces are not hard to build, using a wire cutter, some zip ties and some tubing to cover any cut wire the chicken are exposed to. It takes me less than 45 minutes to put one together.
    [​IMG]
    If you visit my photo album there are more pictures of this set up. I live in an area that has lots of raccoon, hawks, opossums, skunks, and foxes. I built these last year for my garden and haven't had a break in yet.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/gallery/album/view/id/6169273/user_id/122612
     
  5. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    A hubby that shops - sounds fabulous!

    I hear you about things being heavy and hard to work with. I just made a temporary "play pen" out of chicken wire and stakes - set up outside the living room window. That stuff is awful to get unrolled and put where you want it. I think it is worse than the heavy wire rolled fencing.

    Does make a difference if you are home to help watch out for things. I'll be happy when we get the runs for the chicken tractors finished so I don't have to keep watch on this play pen. Between keeping an eye on the dogs out the back windows and the couple of chickens in the play pen out the front window - I can't get anything else done! :)

    Take pictures of the knitted netting - should be interesting to see.
     
  6. sonjap

    sonjap Out Of The Brooder

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    Jaxon4141, it looks like a chicken could easily put her head through that fencing or a raccoon put his paw in. Are the photos deceiving? I'm a newbie looking for the right mesh as well, but I thought that would be too big?
     
  7. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chickens can put their heads through the wire and a raccoon could reach in. However, the raccoons never come around during the day time. I live in an urban area just inside the city limits and there is lot of activity going on in the day time, so raccoons hide during the day. They only come around at night. Same thing for skunks and opossums. When the chickens are in their coop , at night, there is no where for the raccoons to reach in and get them. Sometimes a fox will come around during the day, same with local dogs, and the chickens always head for the coop when they see an animal they don't know. This goes for people they don't know too. The way the opening in the runs are situated places the chicken in the middle of the runs, so they are as far away from the exterior as they can be when threatened. If I had weasels here I would have used a smaller sized mesh, but no one has seen a weasel in this area for decades or maybe longer. The raccoons used to reach in at night and grab the feeder and eat the chicken food, so that unit now has hardware cloth on it. Other than that there has been no problems with predators.
     
  8. Ahab

    Ahab Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you make the fence that surrounds your property predator-proof, it won't matter what you cover your tractors with. WIth a few loops of electric fencing on stand-off insulators, you could mesh the tractors with #15 bait-bag twine and be safe against anything this side of determined hawks. If you're planning to keep them in tractors that aren't inside a securely fenced enclosure, then things get dicier. Chicken wire won't keep out predators, even briefly, and heading twine probably won't either (though 550 nylon is tougher than chicken wire, for certain). You'd have to go up to something like scallop-drag mesh, which is pretty much impossible to knit by hand over large areas. And even then, a raccoon with some time on his paws would get through it inside an hour.

    You might consider a loop of electric fence (wire, or electric rope, or tape) mounted to the tractor itself, though. Then, heading twine mesh would keep the chickens in the tractor finestkind, and the electric loop (one a few inches above ground level, another about 8 inches higher) would keep away any reasonable predator. If the tractor's too far to run an extension line from a small plug-in energizer, then a battery-powered energizer like the Speedrite AN90 (about $175) would be plenty.

    So, with electric, it'd work; without, maybe not. FWIW, I'm building a couple of tractors this spring after seeing my ducks commandeer a hoop-house-covered winter spinach bed. They spend the winter in the securely fenced garden, and they looked at their wooden house, 4x6 feet (on wheels), looked at the nice 4 x 24-foot spinach bed hooped with electrical conduit covered in Reemay fabric, cut themselves a door, and moved in. So I figured, make them a couple of 12-footers with 2x4 runners, just like the old round traps we all fished before wire; use 3/4-inch aluminum conduit for the hoops, run five 3/4-inch strapping the length for strength, hinge on a door (leather straps, of course), and lash on some wire. But now you've got me thinking I could mesh them over with some condemned shrimp net. I'm afraid my head-knitting callouses are long worn off.
     

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