1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

What sort of protection would help chickens out in the open field?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by gabby3535, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. gabby3535

    gabby3535 Songster

    My coop and run are as secure as Fort Knox, but when the chickens free-range, I leave the door to the run open, so they can just come and go as they'd like. Only problem is that the run opens onto a totally fenced, 1 acre field..............no trees, nowhere to dash
    into or under, should they notice a hawk circling. Of course they 'could' hurry back to the run and coop, as the run door is open....
    but if they happen to be on the far side of the field, that would be quite a 'long' dash to safety!
    Any ideas as to some shelter(s) I could plant or build, for their safe sanctuaries, scattered around this field? Something that would be extremely fast growing and great 'cover' for them, or easily built (and not too ugly!) for placing around the field?
    Thanks, all for any advice.......
  2. Chickenfortress

    Chickenfortress Songster

    May 8, 2008
    We have one of those cheap outdoor table umbrellas out for that purpose. Its on a piece of rebar stuck in the ground so we can move it easily. After the new coop goes up I intend to put up a couple of "tables" 4'x4' in the yard that will serve as hides. I'll mount them to 4x4 posts in the ground so they don't blow around. On the plus side, I'll have waystations around the yard when I'm doing work. The downside is that escapees will have some level of sanctuary when I'm trying to get them back in the coop. Thats what the chicken stick is for, a ball on a long stick. They fear the stick, and it reaches into places like that.
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    I've been looking for where I saw it... been snooping through too many sites to say for sure, but I saw some home-made "A" frames out of 2x4s and plywood, (about 3 to 3.5 feet tall at the peak) open on the bottom, with inexpensive wheels on one end and the 2x4 poking out the other as a handle to move around so the grass doesn't get ruined from them sitting too long in one spot.

    Only problem is, I've seen hawks land and 'run' into shrubbery after their lunch... still, they looked like they'd give the girls a chance.
  4. Mourningdove

    Mourningdove Songster

    Dec 17, 2008
    Cleveland, Tn.
    Why don't you plant a bush or 2, mine love the Rose Of Sharon bush in their lot! They even get to sit in the branches! [​IMG]
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:Butterfly Bush (Budelia Davidi)- Very fast growing 6-10 feet/yr, hardy, blooms well in the summer, comes in a variety of colors, and are cheap to purchase. Somewhat easy to propogate. Some states consider them invasive, cause they'll self propogate. I've only had 2 pop up in 10 years. They come in 3 sizes 4 ft, 12 ft, and 40 ft. I have the 12 footers and cut them back to 6 ft every year.

    Clematis, Honeysuckle, Blue Potato and/or Akebia vines- Grow up to 20+ feet per year. You will need a trellis for them to climb on. Grow very thickly and stems tangle so it would be unpenetrable in a couple years.

    I planted a "Frost" peach and a "Ital prune" Plum tree 3 years ago and am blown away with their growth. Big by the second year.

    Good Luck,

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Cover helps, either planting shrubs or building structures for them to hide under. You could also do a combination of both.

    The other option is to have livestock of some sort or a guardian dog out there with them. That also deters hawks. We never had a problem with hawks, when the chickens were pastured with our sheep. Some people also have goats pastured with their chickens. Not everyone wants a guardian dog or a couple of other animals, but it's an option.
  7. Fredster

    Fredster Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    This is our protection for our chickens in an open field:


    Haven't lost a one since we 'installed' them. They grow fast, too. [​IMG]
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    They are real beauties! [​IMG]
  9. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    LOL I'm installing one of those but she's only six weeks. I'm building branch structures on which to grow vines, near and around the coops.

    Built some others that let the turkeys get REALLY high. On land further away I'm planting bushes, butterfly bush, rose and some bamboo. Also going to see if I can get a few canadian hemlocks and bush maples going in their closest range.

    We had a really bad spell with a pair of hawks. I ran up a twine net near the coops at about 8 ft high and added reflective stuff.

    The turkeys got wise about yelling hawk. The chickens got better at listening, the puppy is growing.

    We have a chicken stick too. LOL darn things.

    Haven't lost another since I started getting really active about cover and deterence.

    Good luck
  10. Quote:[​IMG] I LOVE your Great Pryenees pups. I want a Great Pryenees or a German Shepard SO bad but I don't have the money. If I could get one I'm sure that I could free-range my chickens.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: