Winter predators

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by superchemicalgirl, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine
    Ok, I realize I'm becoming a true new englander when I start thinking about winter in July (it's almost here!!) - before I've harvested anything but lettuce out of my garden.

    But I was wondering what types of predators are out there in the winter (ie not hibernating). Specifically my issue is that it gets very dark here so early and doesn't get light until so late in the day. Due to my schedule I will be opening up the coop before I go to work (when it's dark) and coming back home to close up the coop after work (and it'll be pitch dark).

    Do I mainly have to worry about airborne predators like hawks and thus having my coop open while it's dark won't matter?
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Do they free range? You might seriously think about construction a winter run. You have possum and raccoons for certain and that is enough to worry about, but then depending on where you are in Maine, you could have a lot worse.
     
  3. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    They've got a nice fenced in big run area. When I'm not home they stay in there. When I get home I let them out to free range the yard. In winter that probably won't happen as a) there's nothing to eat here except snow and ice in winter and b) it'll be dark by the time I get home anyway so they'll be in bed.

    So opossum and raccoon don't hibernate? Crap.
     
  4. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Found this for you:

    Opossums do not hibernate. Their greatest challenge during winter, especially in colder climates, is simply to survive. Very often opossums will alter their foraging habits during winter, coming out during the day when it is warmer rather than at night. It is not uncommon for opossums in northern regions to suffer frostbite during extremely cold periods. Their tails are particularly susceptible to frostbite as they have no fur covering to protect them. Sometimes opossums can be found relocating to basements or garages in order to escape the cold. The only way to prevent this is to make sure all openings are fully covered. From http://opossum.craton.net/faqs.htm

    Raccoons do not truly hibernate. In colder climates they may enter a state of torpor in the winter. This is a step below hibernation. Some body functions slow down (heartbeat, breathing, etc.). However, the raccoon may awaken periodically and leave its den. It may even eat before returning for another extended sleep period.​
     
  5. MysticScorpio82

    MysticScorpio82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Maine, USA
    Yep we have Coons, Opossums, as well as Foxes, Coyotes, Skunks, Fishers (aka fisher cats), Ummm and a few others I can't think of off the top of my head. [​IMG]

    I think our black bears are about the only thing around here that hibernates.... I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news [​IMG]
     
  6. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Sounds like you need an automatic door. I am saving for one myself for the same reasons. I live in Tennessee, but I work 12 hour shifts, so in winter I leave home in the dark and come back in the dark. Do some research on them...there is one kind that opens sideways (like a regular door) and that is around $189, but there is another type that slides the door up and down and that is cheaper. I think they both will run on electric or battery.
     
  7. can you hear me now?

    can you hear me now? Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    Well I will say this. Where the Red Fern Grows is a book about a boy in the Ozarks of Oklahoma and his coon hounds. They go to coon season in the wintertime. I sure remember seeing tracks here in the winter and coons will devastate your chickens. Trust me I have been there. If you have your run done in hardware cloth, won't be a problem. Even if the coon cant get in and you have chicken wire they will try to reach in. I have seen this too and it isn't pretty. I say if you can get hardware cloth and also bury some underground you will have done yourself a huge favor. I know it costs a lot but you will save money with the Fort Knox of chicken runs with that stuff. Other than that good luck and keep warm this winter. I am sure it gets cold up there.
     
  8. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Never EVER trust chicken wire. It is the tissue of the wire world. (especially now days..its weaker than ever) Preditors will chew right through it like its not even there if they are hungry enough. Welded wire will stop about anything, other than a bear. Costs more but sure is worth the peace of mind.
     
  9. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    I have 6 foot high welded 2x4 wire for my fenced in area. No top covering. I was also not able to dig it in as most of what my land is is granite. I have a hard time getting anything more than 2 inches into my ground. I had to have a fence company come out and do my fence because they had to dig into the granite to set the posts. I was thinking about doing an apron around the edge but my current project is the coop expansion and I shouldn't start more than one project.

    I have a special needs chicken named Hoppy - she had a broken leg from shipping. The leg is all healed (but scarred badly) but she will wait until the last bit of light before going in the coop. I'd hate for her to get locked out, as she's my favorite. I'm also not going to have electricity to the coop, but lets face it, I paid to have a fence company put in posts, I'd probably pay an electrician to run electricity to the coop for a door... especially knowing now how dangerous it's going to be this winter with all kinds of cold hungry predators.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Edited to add: my run will also not be anywhere close to 6 feet tall in the dead of winter here thanks to the snow. I won't be able to snow blow (too much area) it and the snow builds up fast here. I guess that's another reason they'll be much more unsafe this winter. Sigh.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010

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