Winter pen open covering that doesn't collapse under snow?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Tahai, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Tahai

    Tahai Songster

    Hi Northern Flocksters!

    I have a large, oddly shaped pen for my girls (16x23, sort of) which I currently have covered with bird netting. Yesterday I was looking at my garden, thinking about the harvest, wondering how long I'll get greens in my cold-frame this year, and how much snow we'll get, then I had an UH-OH moment.

    Bird netting, especially over so large of an open area, will collapse under snow pressure. We have Coopers and Sharp-shinned hawks living in the woods behind us, so covering is mandatory. Money is also tight.

    I need something that will hold up to heavy, wet snow and/or ice. I can run a few locust poles across the top for support.

    What do you all use to cover your daytime pens?

    [​IMG]

    Thanks so much,

    Tahai
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
  2. chfite

    chfite Songster

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    Taylors, SC
    Rather than more, try less. To keep to hawks out here, I use colored string strung across the run on about 6 inch centers. I believe that the hawks won't try to fly in unless they can see a clear path in and out. I have trees over the run as do you. I think that this helps as well to prevent a clean approach to the run. Your run is larger than mine. Mine is 16 x 20. I read that some hang CDs from the covers in place to help prevent hawks attacking. I don't know if it works or not.

    We rarely have snow here, but I suspect that it would not accumulate on the strings much. I use nylon cord, less than 1/8 inch diameter to cover the run. We have hawks here most all the time. I have seen one perched on the shop's roof looking into the run. They fly over with regularity.

    My chickens spent their days out foraging, so an attack in the run is not so much of a risk as an attack out in the open.

    Chris
     
  3. MoonShadows

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    Pocono Mtns
    My Coop
    We have a good number of red tail hawks where I live. I have watched them over the years and their attack pattern is one that their swoop down and their weapons are both talons and the "blow" from their speed. I have never seen one sit in a tree and "jump down" on its prey. With that in mind, while I am transitioning from a small temporary run to a larger permanent run, most of the run space does not have "roof" protection. I bought a 200' roll of florescent orange surveyor's tape for $1.99 in Lowes and strung it about every foot or so over the new fencing I am building. Over the past week, I have seen the hawks flying around as usual, but I have yet to see one make any attempt at my chickens. I think the tape "breaks" the pattern they need to make their attack.
     
  4. Tahai

    Tahai Songster

    Thank you both. I like the 'string' idea. I'll have to give it a try.

    Moonshadows, we also have Red Tail Hawks (and Bald and Golden Eagles as well), and I agree with you that they don't bother prey fenced in small areas. Coopers Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks are much smaller than Red Tails, and their hunting style is different. You often don't know they're around, They hunt from the trees, drop down on their prey to make the kill, then eat from the ground.

    It looks like these are native to your area as well.

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  5. MoonShadows

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

    1,164
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    Jan 23, 2013
    Pocono Mtns
    My Coop
     

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