Two Snake-Proof Grow Out Pens for Florida

Awakening Forest

FreeBird
Premium Feather Member
Aug 14, 2020
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North Central Florida
When the chicks are acclimated but still small, my biggest challenge has been snakes. I moved here five years ago this November and inherited a dilapidated rat-infested trailer on this property. There was a huge population of rats - they were all over the place - the snakes learned this was a good place to hang out. Even though the trailer was torn down and removed, the rats found nearby places and they continue to breed. I have owls, hawks and snakes to take care of that. They keep the rodent population down without me having to resort to poison or inhumane traps. They are all my friends but only the snakes kill my chicks. My dogs handle the other predators but they aren't good with snakes. To their credit, the snakes are learning to stay away. My three resident rat snakes, all around five feet and identifiable by scars and markings have not been around the chicks for over a year. This year a new rat snake came through and killed a 14 week- old FBCM pullet :mad: . Hence I have to keep my chicks in a grow out pen for longer than I would like and they get too big for what I have now.

I have a pretty custom- made chicken coop made from hardware cloth but it isn't snake proof so I didn't want to rely on someone else to promise me a snake proof grow out pen to go through the same issue again. A friend offered to build me one and I graciously accepted. The materials were ordered this morning and will be picked up this afternoon.

I'll post drawings and materials list and photos as we go along.

The pen will be site built on 4 x 4 legs. 8 feet long and 3 feet wide and 3 feet high (total 6 ft high including legs) covered in 1/2 inch hardware cloth all around. The roof will be slanted and panels will be placed about 6 inches above the hardware cloth for venitilation. The size and materials were partially determined for ease of handling since we both have arthritis. It will be divided in half to hold 6 chicks on each side for 12 chicks total. Each half will be 4 x 3 pens (more or less) with a shelter on each end. One door in front of each cage and one door at each end to clean out shelter.

This is a learning experience for me. I hope to be able to build a chicken coop on my own next year.

Here is the materials list so far:
4 4x4x8 pressure treated for legs
10 2x4x8
6 1x4x8
4 2x2x8
2 rolls 25'x 3'x 1/2" hardware cloth
5 seacoaster roofing panels 2.2' x 8
#9 1" roofing screws
2 4x 8x1/2 plywood
8 2.5 door hinges
4 inch steel bolts

Wood screws and staples are all ready on hand.
:fl
 
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Awakening Forest

FreeBird
Premium Feather Member
Aug 14, 2020
481
1,569
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North Central Florida
The hardware cloth is over the top and the roofing panels can be installed tomorrow if the rain lets up :rolleyes:. Also the framing of the shelters is done. Not sure why I have to wait 24 hours before my laptop finishes uploading the photos from my phone.These photos are from yesterday. I'm learning a lot. Mostly learning there is no way I will be able to build a coop by myself. The measuring and cutting is very precise and I'm dyslexic.
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Awakening Forest

FreeBird
Premium Feather Member
Aug 14, 2020
481
1,569
236
North Central Florida
Work continues. We are close to finishing but rain and aches and pains have kept the pace slower than a molasses drip. I’m very excited. I think after losing the last chick to a snake- one that was really ten times the size it could even swallow- I’m going to leave the bottom as one large grow out pen instead of two. That way I have a secure area to raise smaller breeds for longer time. These are photos of the shelters which are on each end I don’t know why the photos keep coming out sideways if anyone knows how to correct that...
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