chicken predators...can chickens be safe?

msjay2u(7)June 2, 2008

I am a chicken newbie and about to get some peeps tomorrow. Yes I did want Guinea's but I have not been able to find any so I am getting some peeps. I had planned on keeping them in the house until they were old enough to go out in the pen (that I have yet to build). The guy selling me the chicks said he did not like my coop plans because he said they leave the chicks vunerable to predators. He warned me of the dangers.

When I went to work today I was talking about it and one of my coworkers said I will sure find out what is on my property when the chickens show up outside. He said that chickens attract all kinds of predators and I have to worry about possims, coyote and hawks mainly. I remember when I had a duckling I let it out while I was piddling in the yard and there was a hawk on the tree watching it. I did not even know the hawk was there at first but so happens my car was parked under the tree and when I looked at my car it was bombed with hawk poo!! I took the duck back inside to safety.

I am planning on building a coop similar to this one

it is going to hold 4 Cochins. I really wanted them to free range but this is the next best thing.

any advice?

should I put the chicken netting on the bottom too?

I brought chicken wire but the breeder said I should use chicken wire AND welded wire too.

Thoughts? My thought is if I am not going to eat the chicken I will be darned if I will let a freaking animal out in the yard eat it. LOL


oh and in the brooder do I need to put a top on it? I am using a 29 gal tupperware set up.

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

The guy who warned you is right, as is your coworker. Both the chickens and their feed attract predators and vermin. The chicken tractor you have pictured there is OK for daytime use, and where predators aren't a factor. The chicken wire is too flimsy and predators can tear right through it, and the open bottom means that predators can simply slip under the edge or dig under it. So if you use a chicken tractor like this, make it daytime use only, and preferably when you are around.

Your chickens will need a secure coop for nighttime. More info on coops, runs, tractors, roosts, nests, etc. is here:

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 12:10PM
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how about using a tractor like this with the hardwire instead of the chicken wire. also how about if I put a bottom on the tractor. I can't afford a full fledge hen house.

I went to your site. it was very informative. thanks!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 11:23PM
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Your chickens will want to to roost at night and like Velvet said they need to be in a secure structure.
This looks small for 4 chickens, even just for daytime. If you put wire netting on the bottom it might be hard on their feet and it would make it hard for them to get to the bugs. Maybe you could stake this down in the corners during the day and then get them some kind of coop at night.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 7:20AM
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You might want to look into getting a livestock guarding dog.

One of these coupled with an invisible fence might help keep some of the predators away.

A link that might be useful:

*This article first appeared in SHEEP! magazine and in the Dairy Goat Journal in 1995.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 2:17PM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

An as-yet unidentified predator (possum, racoon, fox) broke through hardware cloth wire stapled and nailed every half-inch to the window in the coop door. We'd had chickens for 10 years with few predator losses, but once this culprit discovered the food source, it was relentless. We quickly found a good home for the survivors.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 7:57PM
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dreamgarden I read the article you referred to and it was very interesting. I have a real apprehension of having a dog. The last time I had a dog it destroyed my lawn. I had spent a couple of years getting my yard just like I wanted it which included cutting down trees having the soil analyzed, adding the appropiate additives and planting sod. The yard looked beautiful and then I had decided to get a dog and by the next year I was shocked how the dog destroyed my years of hard work because I had no grass left. Now I am in a new house and have started over again with the yard woes. (see my website link below). I am so turned off on the subject of dogs. In my mind the benefits do not out weigh the consequences. It is truly a quandry.
chapelhillgardner- in fact I live very close to Chapel Hill if that is Chapel Hill, NC and yes there is a fox/coyote problem here right now which happens to be killing off goats. I talked to some Pygmy goat owners in Mebane who have had their whole flock of goats killed by Coyotes or foxes so I have no doubt that is what happened to your chickens. My thought is that I should be worried however, I do have wild rabbits in my yard and I have been watching to see if the rabbits are being killed and I have not noticed any losses. I have one wild baby rabbit living in my barn successfully. So far he has survived and I have been using him as a guage. I also have not noticed any evidence of anything trying to get in the goat pen. I have an old shed in the goat pasture and now I am thinking of taking the tim off the sides of the shed and converting that into a hen house.
Here is my new idea:

I wonder how this design can be improved upon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click on the link on the left - The Land 2c my point

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 9:15PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Wow, nice coop! :)

When we built our new run, we lucked out and found two heavy-duty security screen doors, with the door frames and keys to the deadbolts, curbside one day.

NO predator is getting through THAT door! :) You may be able to find something like that on freecycle or craigslist.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 4:51AM
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good idea!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 1:20PM
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I am timidly exploring raising free-range chickens in coyote country so your link on the guardian dogs was terrific info.

However, I wondered if anyone here is actually using these dogs to guard their chickens. Can they really be trusted around birds? And can they actually bond with the birds enough to stick with them out in the pasture? Do you still lock up your chickens at night with the guardian dogs around and how do you house the dogs then?

Thanks. Connie

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 7:40PM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

I read in yesterday's Chapel Hill News (yes! NC) about the presence of coyotes in all 100 NC counties. Same author had written about the presence of bobcats in Orange County NC, as well. Several weeks ago, for a few nights running, I heard a fox hollering just outside my back fence. Whatever took my chickens had the ability to make off over a 5-foot fence with either a bantam or standard chicken in its mouth leaving merely a few feathers as evidence. This occured during the day, and at night. The night events included breaking through a heavily-fortified coop. We were really puzzled when it happened - just couldn't visualize a possum or raccoon (or fox, for that matter) with that level of athletic ability. That is interesting about the goats - thanks for responding.

Your proposed coop is VERY nice. Love the ceiling height!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 8:06PM
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funny you would say that. I swore I saw a bob cat on my property this weekend!! I know we have a fox running around here.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 7:20PM
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You are very sensible to start off with just 4 birds.

I have brooded small numbers of birds in my home, in those very large rubbermaid containers (2 x 3-1/2 foot?) that I got from Target.

For the first 3 days, I just put paper towels down on the bottom, and put their food and water in there, with a lamp over the top. I keep them in my home office away from my dogs and cats.

When the paper towels can no longer keep up with the poop, I put down wood shavings in the same container.

Once they no longer need a heat lamp (won't take long in Texas during the summer), I put them outside in a dog crate in a coop that I've converted from a livestock shelter. It faces East, so it is in shade once the afternoon sun comes. Once they are bigger, I let them run around that coop on litter, (it's 10 x 12, and tall enough for a large man to easily walk around). EVENTUALLY, once they're big enough that my cats won't try anything on, and hopefully, a hawk won't either, I open up the pop hole, and let them free range.

Remember that with our heat and humidity in Texas, air flow and shade is HUGE. Cochins have profuse feathering, including their legs, so dry conditions are important too.

I haven't had a problem with predators in my converted livestock shelter, but I HAVE in my barn. I think it's because the dirt is easier to tunnel through, and because the shelter is right across from my house, with woven wire around the field, etc.

I'm currently brooding 50 chicks, but this is in a 4 x 8 chicken "tractor" INSIDE a building with a concrete floor. This IS predator proof!

Once they're old enough, they will go to an outside hoop house, with daytime access to the outside. They will be protected by an electrical netting fence.

Just some ideas for you.

Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 12:09AM
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Chickens need a nest box and a secure, snug area to retire to at night. They need a roost and need to be out of the weather. They need lots of cool, clean water available at all times, even in the coldest of winter.
A large dog house can be converted into a henhouse, but you need to add a solid door. There should be roosting areas and
nesting areas and room for water. Close them up at sunset and let them out in the morning.

Bobcats, foxes, coyotes, yes, but I have had more trouble with neighbor's dogs, raccoons, owls, and Marsh Hawks than the rest. My number one predator is RACCOONS. They are very capable of climbing anything and everything and do; of riping off screen or chicken wire and breaking through lightweight structures; of murdering your entire flock in about 15 minutes and not making one sound. They hunt in groups.

If the birds completely disappear, then suspect coyotes, foxes, wild cats of all kinds.

If your chicken run does not have a top on it, then any of the above can get to them, including household pets and even two-legged passersby.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 8:40PM
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Babalubird: Last year, we bought a livestock guardian dog (Maremma) in order to protect our chickens. We ended up buying a couple of goats at the same time, so that she would bond with them as well as the chickens. She was 7 weeks old and for the first month she stayed with the goats 24/7, but the chickens do go into the pasture, so she bonded to both. She now spends time in the fenced pasture and outside it where most of the chickens free range.

We were losing quite a few chickens to a regular, very sneaky coyote, but by the time our dog was 5 months old, she was doing her job instinctively. She wasn't perfect, still isn't, but just her presence is a huge deterrent and we haven't lost a chicken to predators in 8 months.

I will admit that when she was 7 months old (teenagerish), she decided that one of the chickens, having a difficult time in the snow, would be fun to play with. The end result was not good for either the chicken or the dog. She was immediately disciplined and it has not happened again. She knew I was very dissapointed in her, but the key was to deal with it right there and then. I now trust her with all of our animals and guests to the farm, especially children. She's just wonderful!


    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:42PM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

Thanks for your post. You help confirm my suspicions about what might have taken my chickens without a trace. I'd seen the results of hawk and racoon damage - the events that drove us to give our flock away were quite different.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:46PM
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I am going to be putting my chickens out this weekend. No longer able to stand the smell in the basement. I am hoping to have good luck with them in the converted shed. I brought chicken cages from a guy and I have to get it all set up in the shed. I swear I hope nothing gets to them. I hate there are predators out there wanting to eat my good chickens. I was also thinking of getting some animal traps and putting them around the pen but then if I catch something what would I do with it? I would be scared to even go near it.LOL

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 8:39PM
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We made sure our coop and run was practically predator proof. Nothing has tried to dig in or tear into it so far. However, we have been letting them out to range while we are outside. This has worked well for several weeks. But just last week, we had just sat down at the kitchen table and were watching the chickens peck around, when they took off running back the other direction. I ran outside, and was too late...a BOBCAT in the DAYTIME grabbed one of my barred rocks and was gone. It must have been watching us the whole time and waiting for us to leave for a second. Sigh...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 6:24PM
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awwww I am so sorry for the loss!!
How did you make the coop practically predator proof? this lady I was talking to at work today told me that she made the bottom just like mines and she spread chicken wire across the floor and up the bottom piece, then she tacked another board across the bottom (and on top of the net) and ancored the second board in the ground with rail road ties. she said she then added a layer of dirt over the net mixed in some DE and put in a little shavings for the chickies to scratch around in. She claims no losses for the past 4 years.

I was wondering how to let them free range. I guess I can sit out in my gazebo and let them romp around in it with me in it and the netting zipped down. I was wondering if I would have to chase them down to get them back in the cage though.

Yeah after all I read I have decided I will have to closely supervise when they are out.

If the wild rabbits in the yard are safe would the chickens be okay in a cage? wait a minute now that I think about it I have not seen my favorite cotton tail in a week or so...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:25PM
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We used hardware cloth over the long windows in the coop itself, (very much needed windows in the hot humid south), and used the same cloth on the bottom of the run, and dug down a foot around the run and put in the hardware cloth in the hole and bent it out, then covered. Where the door to the run is, we put in concrete paver stones. (You can't dig through those.)
We knew we would never let the chickens run around free without us being around; just never dreamed we would get a bobcat during the day. It must have been a female with kittens in the woods, and must have been hungry. Although we see lots of wild bunnies around here. Our chickens love to follow us around the yard right by our feet, because they know that our feet will stir up crickets and grasshoppers. They are really cute and they talk the whole time. I guess I have to just get used to the fact that something is bound to happen to some of them.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:17PM
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a bobcat during the day? I would never dream of a bob cat anytime!! We saw something like a bob cat on our property too. I was in shock and I wanted to get closer to see but heck I did not want to take the chance of getting attacked!!!

How do you get them back in the cage and how long do you let them out. do you also lock them up in the coop at night and how do you manage that?

Are they on a schedule?

Is it safe to let them out in the coop in the morning when I leave to go to work or should I wait till I get home?

Gosh I can't wait to start enjoying my chickens too. they are the cutest things. When I put my hand in the brooder they shy away but after I come back with food first they are a little less skittish and when I take out the water thingy, wash it and put fresh water in they seem okay that I have my hand in their space.

I have not really picked them up. I have been told not to at this point. until they get a little bigger. no explanation and now that I write it I have to wonder if that even makes sense. LOL

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:34PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Chickens are domesticated and will more or less trust you and be fairly easy to round up, other birds can be more persnickety and are there for more likely to stay out and get eaten.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:09AM
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I too am thinking about a small flock of 4-6 hens in a chicken tractor, but I have seen both skunks and raccoons on our property. Will these predators only attack at night? I want to make a chicken ark similar to these: I would use hardware cloth on the sides of the run and a wire with larger openings on the bottom. Would my chickens be safe during the day? I plan to lock them up in the coop at night.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 3:37PM
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I too am thinking about a small flock of 4-6 hens in a chicken tractor, but I have seen both skunks and raccoons on our property. Will these predators only attack at night? I want to make a chicken ark similar to these: I would use hardware cloth on the sides of the run and a wire with larger openings on the bottom. Would my chickens be safe during the day? I plan to lock them up in the coop at night.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 3:42PM
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ginni77(z 5)

Don't discount what a raccoon can do to a flock of chickens or how agile or capable they are at "breaking in" to get your chickens. If they are driven, they can do a lot of damage and get in places you'd never dream of.

I lost my whole first flock to a raccoon, or a couple coons. In one night a coon got into my "predator proof" coop and killed 21 of my 25 laying hens. I know it was a raccoon because the next night, I set a live trap and caught it when it came back for the rest of the chickens. It chewed thru my drop-down door (which was closed and locked) and got in a did tons of damage.

My coop now is built into a metal garden shed and when we built the coop we covered it with chicken wire and then 1/2 inch hardware cloth. I can't put a finger thru the wire on our coop! Then we put a hook and eye... the locking type...then a hasp on the top and bottom so no raccoons can get their hands in the door, any place! Then the metal shed can be locked and secured. I also have a live trap outside the shed with yummy bait in it so I can catch anything that wants chicken or eggs and relocate it, hopefully before they try to get my chickens!

If you use a chicken tractor as a coop, you need heavy-duty welded wire all around it, even on the bottom. Coons will dig or rip or tear...whatever it takes.

One other security measure we have taken is that we have a baby monitor in our coop and we keep the other part of it in our bedroom so we can hear if there is any commotion at night, when nocturnal predators are actively seeking food.

Anyway, do all the security measures you can. Better to have too many than not enough. It really hurts to lose your chickens to a predator.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 4:23PM
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lech I think that is a nice chicken run but personally I would not use it for full time use as someone had pointed out. I was thinking of using the same type of set up until everyone warned me about the predators.If they can get through wire I imagine they can topple that ark over.

I was wondering the same thing about the day time but read through some of the other threads and you will see people have had losses in the day too. It just makes me SICK!! but I guess in the animal world it is about surviving. All animals do from the time they wake up till they slumber is think about their next meal by any means necessary! Again MAKES ME SICK!!

dang Ginni!! LOL you should have your chickens secure! I have stopped work on my coop trying to think it out really well. I been thinking of putting wire on the ground and burying it then putting wood ash from my fire pit mixed with DE in it so the birds can take nice baths. Then someon pointed out the vunerability of the pen I am making on the side of my barn whereas the side of my coop and barn meet but because there are boards on the barn there are small gaps. I been thinking of wrapping the wire to the inside about 3 inches and putting a board over it to secure it to the wall. In my mind that is still not working out so I am not sure how to solve that problem. I use a chain on my goat pen with a s link to lock it but that is not going to work on the chicken coop. I think the locking hook and wire might work.

As for the live trap I thought of that as well but then I might not like what I catch! LOL

I am definately not saving any money or aggravation by getting my own eggs.

I wondered about the motion sensors they have on lights. I wonder if there is something I can rig up to a sensor to ward off predatiors? This is worrying me. Ginni I would like to see photos of your set up.

my booss told me today there is something else I have to worry about a Chupacabra. LOL I think it is a myth though.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 6:11PM
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ginni77(z 5)

LOL on the Chupacabra!! He definitely looks like he'd be a chicken-eater!!

I'm on my laptop and don't have access to my regular computer right now and this is the only picture I have of my coop in my Photo Bucket albums. You can see the door to the coop...the locking hook, the hasps on the top and bottom. When we secure the coop at night, we put snaps on the hasps. Oh and the bottom hasp is one of those that the eye turns to sort of lock it. This photo was taken before we put the 1/2" hardware cloth on. That was sort of an after-thought once we saw how flimsy the chicken wire was. This photo was taken during construction and long before we put any chickens in it.

This is our tractor. It's covered in the 1/2" hardware cloth but doesn't have a floor of wire in it because the chickens only go in it during the day when the only predators we have are hawks. It's in an area of our yard that has a 6' privacy fence that's secure against free-roaming dogs. (Don't forget about loose neighbor dogs being a predator...they can do a lot of damage too!) I wanted the chickens to be able to scratch in the dirt since they can't free-range. I live in town and the chickens can't be loose. I could never leave the chickens in this tractor after dark tho...coons could easily get into it since there is no floor!!

I purposely didn't connect the coop to the tractor because I felt that would have left vulnerable spots in both of them. Besides, I can move the tractor around if I want to. It can be a real laugh tho when I'm herding the chickens from the coop to the tractor. Herding chickens is like herding cats!! Luckily, they run right into the coop in the evening with no trouble!

I'll try to post more pix of my coop soon.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 4:52AM
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Thanks Ginni. I really appreciate the photos. One of the areas I am stuck on is the door and never really could find a clear picture of a door so I can see how it is supposed to look. That looks pretty simple. what is going on at the bottom of the door though? I can not see it clearly. Is it reinforced with wood with a wood sill?
I really appreciate those shots. I am going to go out and check on the measurements on mines and get busy.
Thanks again!
I just got the idea to search photobucket website for other people's photos of chicken coops. I put the search results below. It is pretty interesting. On the second page there is a coop someone built in a garage. hmmm...

Here is a link that might be useful: other peoples photo bucket chicken coops. Interesting photos

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 12:00PM
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I have seen the strange animal again and it looks like a Fisher cat. I looked it up in different places and they can get pretty aggrssive in getting to their prey. I am going to be working on my coop and pen this weekend (hopefully car accident bruises will allow me to finish). Now remember I said I was going to build a box within the coop? I was going to use plywood on the inner box but when I saw how much plywood costs I decided to build a frame and use slats of wood instead or modify the wire coops.
I am wondering when they say predators can be aggressive just how far they will go. they can not tear apart wood structures can they? I tried to look up damaged coops so I can see what they have torn apart but could not find any info. I know bears will tear wood structures up to get to food but no bears here. oh wait they did find one on the highway yesterday. hopefully no bears around my property...

what is the worst structural damage have you guys experienced?

Here is a link that might be useful: fisher cat

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:54AM
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OMG I am STILL working on this frick fracking coop and I have a question. I made my frame, it is partially roofed and I am now in the process of putting up the chicken wire. Just like Ginni said the holes are so small you can net even get a finger through it. Everyone recommends to bury the wire down in the ground to prevent diggers. I have found the welded wire to be extremly hard to work with and I am wondering if I am supposed to be burying it straight down in the ground or along the ground under some dirt? I noticed today that the ground is not level and so there are some vunerable spots that I have to remedy before I put the girls in there. I really could use some advice on this. I thought this was going to be an easy project but I have come up with all kinds of problems. this being the one I can not find the answer to.If I am to bury it straight down how am I supposed to do that?

second question. I thought about putting a partial slab in there. Cement is so hard to mix so thats why the partial idea. how far should I bring it in if I decide to go that route.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 10:53PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

You dig a trench around the entire thing, six inches below the low point should be enough for all but the most motivated foxes, you extend the wire down in the trench and fill it back in. alternatively you can get long landscaping staples and run the fencing flat along the ground for 8"-12" and then have it sharply turn up when it reaches the run, the wire should be going out away from where the chickens will be, staple it down (with a hammer) and then toss an inch of dirt on top of it and plant something with tough roots to hold it down, grass works well.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 11:03PM
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oops I answered this on the need advice quick thread

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 5:52PM
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I'm building a coop right now and I built the coop on top of concrete board that sticks out 6" all the way around. I piled litter on it several inches deep and hope that it will be easy to keep clean and dry. Can't report back on how successful it will be on keeping the coons out as I haven't left them out there during the night yet. I will probably put up electric fencing also. Hope that does the trick as we have lots of coons around here!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 4:14PM
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That is an interesting concept. I assume you are speaking of cement board that you put on the walls of bathrooms(Durock)? I actually have plenty of that left over from a bathroom project so let me know how that works out for you. I know you will not be able to walk over it without cracking it. Just today I was using a piece as a barrier to keep my goats off the porch and I stepped on it and it cracked.

Another thought is to put the board on the floor and then cover it with dirt.

I really like your idea and worth experimenting with. I had a good sunny day to work out in the yard and did not take advantage of it. Playing with the grand kids.

GUILTY...Hi my name is Ms Jay and I am a procastranator!

Actually all the do's and don'ts kind of discouraged me. I will be working on it this week. I have got to get those chickens out the basement. I have to clean all that poop up every day and it is kind of messy and takes too much time!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 5:18PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Just so you know,,and I know this from experience. Fisher cats and racoons can chew right threw a single layer of chicken wire. I have lost many chickens this way in the past. I have since changed things. I had pens that were attached to the sides of the coop and raised 8 inches above the ground with one inch chicken wire on all sides and the bottom, (sorta looked like a rabit hutch) and some nights I would leave their little chicken door open to it from the inside of the coop, thinking since it was all closed in with chicken wire that they would be safe. I was wrong. I took the pens off, and now have chicken runs, but close the little chicken door at night, and lock it. I took the pens down cuz they were getting too dirty, so now when they go outside they are on the ground. They also free range a few days a week. I have been lucky and have not seen anything for predators other than a few hawks that constantly fly over. I am wondering if maybe because I have 3 dogs that pee all over the property that maybe that discourages them from coming around.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 6:59PM
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i HOPE YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THAT FLIMSY WIRE. I put chicken wire at the top and from 40" down I have the hard welded wire and I am almost sure the holes are only 1/2". I would have prefered using the welded wire all over but my budget is really getting busted with theis #$%^% coop. LOL. About the welded wire, I could hardly bend the stuff, got several cuts while working with it so I am hoping a predator will have an impossible time trying to get in. I am getting ready to go out there and work on it a little bit If my camera is charged up I will take photos so I can post my progress. I am so sick of working on this thing. What I have left is to finish putting the wire up, figure out what I am doing with the door, to the pen and the box and finish painting it.

I had some dirt left over in a pile in my back yard so I think I am going to also put the cement board on the ground then cover it with about 3" of dirt if I have that much left over.

well I better get busy. this weekend was not too hot but today it is sweltering out there. That's what I get for procrastranating!

I also have to go get some bigger hinges. the ones I have are not doing the trick. I will not be suprised if I find my door laying on the ground when I get out there.

I am trying to figure out ginni's door. If you are reading Ginni can you post a picture of the inside of your door?

Thanks for the support. Hopefully progress pictures coming soon. NO... HOPEFULLY A FINISHED PROJECT SOON!!!!!

Thanks guys
PS We do have fisher cats here.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 5:51PM
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okay I went out in the sweltering heat and managed to put one piece of screen up then realized I can not put it up until I finish the roof. Looking from the front. I am at the mercy of DH because I have to put the sheething up first and I am not strong enough to do that yet. He told me e is going to help me tomorrow. Also the doorway is on the right side. You can see it better in the picture I posted earlier. Notice my chair for breaks. LOL!!! Even though the roof line looks a little crooked, it is straight. I checked it with a level over and over.

The chicken box. I tried to make it with some siding so when I paint it, it will match the barn. I plan to put up a better support and a roof on this part sloping down to the right

and this is the door with the small hinges. I am not quite sure what to do with it.. I was going to cut an opening in the front and put some chicken wire over it so my girls can see out when they are locked up.

It still has a long way to go. It does not look all that great right now but I think it will be nice for my gals once it is done.

I don't think I did a bad job for a gal! I hated to ask for help with the roof but I really had no choice.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 8:34PM
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I just realized I did not hava photo of the frame so you can see the doorway real good. here it is

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 8:36PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

HI msjay,,Yes, I am talking about the 1 inch flimsy wire. That stuff is almost useless unless you put several layers of it on top of one another. Looks like things are moving along. You should make your husband do all this work.!!!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 7:58AM
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Just a word on the dog concept of protecting....we lost our dalmatian timmy last fall,old age,,,we had NEVER had any kind of loss or attacks on the hens,ducks.ect.
after he passed away we lost all our hens and 2 ducks and a rabbit to a fox. We adopted a mix breed(boxer/lab) and since we've had her we've been on the lucky path again with no losses or attacks. Except for the damn raccoons in our garbage. I believe the scent of a dog can detour attackers,and keep them away..somewhat.
except I still wouldn't let her into the hens run because she seems a bit too eager to hunt! I hope she eventually will learn that the hens are hers to protect!
also...we bought a resin garden shed for the hens coop last year and seems to be working also keeps the heat in during the winter...easy to clean.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 9:24AM
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flowershen and Beeliz, this is actually a debate we have going. He wants to get a dog BUT the kind of dog he wants is a pitt bull or boxer. The last time we had a dog it ABSOLUTELY destroyed the yard from running around in it and I did not want to see that happen here even though this yard is about 10 times larger. I made a compromise that if he gets a LGD that would be cool but he does not like any of them. so since I say absolutely not on the dogs he does not want to help me with the coop. Only thing is he felt sorry for me on the roof and decided that will be the extent of his help. He says I am one sided, I bring all these animals around (goats, chickens and ducks) and he can not have one lousy dog??? LOL well I guess it is one sided. I told him his dog can wipe my little farm out.

soooooo that is where we are at with that. I was not too sure about the LGD because they say they can take over a timid owner (me) and the ones I have seen are HUGE and they slober so I was not too sure about them either. If he wanted something calm that might be a different story.

okay so now it is out there let me have it. His friends have all gotten on me about how unfair I have been. I do not think it is unfair at all if he was willing to compromise. Maybe you can contribute something about a good breed to get. I am not too keen on dogs BUT if he decides on something not too vicious I might bend on this one. Pitts and the likes ARE DEFINATELY OUT! Boxers have a lot of health problems.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 6:10PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Well listen, I have 2 chocolate labs, and a pitbull mix. All of them are as sweet as pie. Not aggressive and do not bother the chickens at all. I got my pitbull mix at 8 weeks old. He looks like he is purebreed,,and some people say he looks mean,,but he just loves everyone. He is a big baby...Of course that does NOT mean every one of them would be as sweet as him. To be on the safe side, I would go for the labs,,they are much calmer and are also great around the chickens. My chickens free range and the dogs just stand there and watch them. I think you should let him have a dog !!! After all,,you DO have your farm animals...don't you??? hehehe. and they will be a help in discouraging predators to come around your chickens.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 6:54PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Well listen, I have 2 chocolate labs, and a pitbull mix. All of them are as sweet as pie. Not aggressive and do not bother the chickens at all. I got my pitbull mix at 8 weeks old. He looks like he is purebreed,,and some people say he looks mean,,but he just loves everyone. He is a big baby...Of course that does NOT mean every one of them would be as sweet as him. To be on the safe side, I would go for the labs,,they are much calmer and are also great around the chickens. My chickens free range and the dogs just stand there and watch them. I think you should let him have a dog !!! After all,,you DO have your farm animals...don't you??? hehehe. and they will be a help in discouraging predators to come around your chickens.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 6:55PM
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remember I have goats too. will labs be good around goats? I said I was willing to compromise, we just have to come up with a good comproise. And if he gets a dog will that mean he will build chicken coops etc to my hearts content? LOL!!!

almost everyone I know who tried to convince me that pitts were okay wound up changing their minds later.

My neighbors brother had a pitt and 2 goats. one day the goats got in the cage with the pitts and he ate off half the goats face!!! That really turned my stomach!! They had to put the goats down and the dog too. I don't want that to happen here.

I am going to look up the nature of labs. My neighbor has a lab and he chases birds all day long but I guess raising them from pups around the chicks can be different. I am really more concerned with the dog getting along with the goats.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 7:50PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Why not get a dog bred to be around livestock? Australian sheperds are calm dogs with out the herding OCD that border collies have. They are smaller dogs than labs but can still deter predators.

Boxers are okay, yes they have a lot of health problems but that just means they will not live as long (all animals shuffle off this mortal coil eventually) Set up a vet budget before hand and if the dog exceeds it have it put down. Boxers are guard dogs and if you convince it that it needs to guard the chickens and goats it wont hurt them for anything, but convincing is the hard part.

Do not give in on the pitt, people say that breed doesn't count for anything, but those people are 100% dead wrong. Dog breeds were selected for behavior and while it doesn't guarantee anything abuse isn't the only factor leading to people being mauled by pittbulls and other similar breeds.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 8:42PM
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ok...seriously...get yourself a mix. lab/and whatever.
there are so many that need homes,I,personally agree with you on the boxer and the pitts...but mix em up a bit and you got yourself an awsome dog and protector. ours is a mixed boxer...she's seriously the best dog so far I've had(please forgive me tim) but absolutely obedient and sweet.
so,go rescue yourself a new baby from a shelter and I promise you'll have a great friend for life!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 10:18PM
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I did not ignore you guys. I was doing some research. I read on livestock dogs and regular dogs and their interaction with goats with an occassional chicken thrown in the loop. I read about LDG's and how to successfully raise them as working dogs.

I have a link at the bottom. Good Lord what a job that is!!!
I also looked up regular dogs and the results were not good. I thought a lab would be a good choice until I read about 3 labs and a chow who attacked and killed a goat. (I did not think they had it in them!!!) Seeech being a farmer is not as easy as I thought it would be. I am now back on NO DOGS, period.

Read or throughly skim the article if you have time... it is kind of long and then comment please. Prefer if some who actually have dogs (LDG or not) respond based on their experiences (please indicate if you own dogs if you respond and what kind you have and what animals they are around). This is still on topic although it veers from chickens to chickens and goats... I am looking for some insight and now that I got the book views I need the experienced view...

h and still raining today so no work on the coop...

Here is a link that might be useful: about livestock guardian dogs

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 11:11PM
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My project is coming closer to the end. I finally got the roof on AND straightened out the hen box. I put more framing in the doorway since I realized the opening was waaaay too wide. I found an old door in my barn that I plan on butchering up to fit the new doorway. I changed the hinges and got bigger ones that now support the box door. I have to go get another blade for my rotozip so I can do all my cut outs. The area over the box and on the right side are proving to be a challenge to get the welded wire in. I am thinking of filling it in on the side with wood since I can not find a secure solution. I used ALL the wood I brought and ALL the pieces of wood I had in the barn for a different project. I have used up most of my welded wire and now using scrap wire I have found in the barn. I have not painted it yet or decorated it with my garden junk.

maybe one day I will be finished and the chickens can actually go in there and enjoy it. My neighbor came over and said I have room for more than 2 chickens. I told him not to encourage me. I am thinking of adding a polish top hat though. They are so adorable.

Hopefully I will be finished by the weekend.

It is not looking so home made now. Will post photos when I finish.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 10:15PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

MSJAY: Make sure to give us pictures soon!!...
I am planning on finally getting that coop painted THIS weekend !! We have had so much RAIN it hasn't been possible to paint. I mean several inches of rain and torrential downpours. My garden sure looks great !!. I think it was You who submitted a post with several pics of chicken coops...all kinds, sizes, shapes and colors. There was one on there that I really liked. I am going to try to match the colors on it. Anyways,,,goodluck,,and send pictures soon.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 9:06PM
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flowershens, yes that was me who posted all those photos. I am going to beat you in finishing my coop. LOL

I went out there and worked on it today and all I have left now is to put the door on, one wood panel and paint it. I am going to Homedepot and see if I can find any oops paint in a color that matches purple.

I will post photos and you do the same!

Hopefully we will have a dry and productive weekend. I been trying to get my house painted since Sept. too much rain and then hot as hell so it has not been painted. I had some people on the decorating forums photoshop my little cottage and I got some faboulous ideas but the weather has been too lousy to put them in action. All I managed to do was plant a flower garden so far. I am so inexperienced that I had grass gowing in it and I was scared to pull it up cause I was not sure if it was plants, weeds or grass. When it got the heads on it I knew the deal! LOL I plucked that crap out and put mulch down.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 11:22PM
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flowershen have you painted this weekend? I went out to finish and soon as I got out there it started raining but it finished a few minutes later. I have been working like an Egyptian slave on this coop this weekend and I am getting to the point of finishing. All I have left now is to put the wire on the cutouts I made with my handy dandy rotozip and finish the painting.

I went to Lowes and got the oops paint. It was $5 and when I got to the register they gave me a $7 rebate. GREAT. I also had to get the wood for the door and they had scrap wood for $3 a sheet. I was able to get them to cut around the damage. so I am on the road to finishing. It has only taken me a month and a half to do!! LOL I thought this was going to be a weekend project!

I believe my girls will be in their new home today. I already have a dirt daubber wasp nest in the pen. they did not waste any time moving in! I will let the girls take care of them when they move in. Anyway photos to follow today!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 9:03AM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Msjay,,,It has been raining all weekend. HEAVY rain,,several inches of rain like last weekend. The sun managed to come out for a few hours this afternoon,,but not enough to dry things out. Everything is soaked. Maybe during the week. I am hoping for drier weather soon. I will keep you posted. I look forward to seeing your photos,,make sure you take pics of the chickens in their coop too. I am sure they will be much happier chickens.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 6:05PM
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A fun thread, can't wait to see your final photos MsJay2U!

I have an old and many times repaired coop. I think I've had about four flocks now, in the 15 years we've lived here. The coons just give me pure hell.

However, I read thru and noticed that there was no mention of snakes?? I let my last flock dwindle and haven't had hens in about 5 years now, after I found three (all over six feet long) chicken snakes all fat and happy in my hen's nests. About scared the hell out of me. They are so darn big.

I have four hens now for my granddaughter, but the snake thing just drives me batty. Any suggestions?

Love all the coop ideas that are here, I want to enclose an area for mine like some of these show, they currently have a large fenced yard and then I shut the coop at night, just a small metal building.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 7:22PM
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OMG I am finally finished!!
Like I said I been working like a banshee. Well I took the photos and funny how things look different in the pictures. photos have no mercy! I look at the hen house and I know I used a level and the roof line was straight but I look at the photos and it is slanted. anyway the paint is drying so the chickies will be in there tomorrow. I can not believe the amount of poop they produce. I been cleaning up that damn basement 2 times a day and everytime I go down there more poop!
anyway here is the coop
This is the front. I used the chicken wire on top and the welded wire on the bottom

I ran out of paint so I used the oops paint for the hen box

Inside the coop looking at the front of the hen box

Inside I made a little area for the nesting box (on the left)

I made this self feeder but I am not sure of how to secure it to the cage

also do I need to put food in the night hen box and the outside box or just the outside in the pen?

Should I put some bedding in the box?

All I have left now is to build a little ladder so they can get out of the hen box. I will do that tomorrow when I put them in

flowershen, sorry about the rainy weather AGAIN. do not chance painting on a damp day it will not stick right.

I have to go over the paint on mines again but that is for another day.

Milkmad I know I have snakes out here but I have not seen them yet. I see the snake skins around the yard though and they are pretty large. I hope to NEVER see them.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 8:08PM
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no one liked my coop??
I did find a design flaw so far. I made the hen box door to flip up but it should be smaller and flip down. no way to get the chickens in there safely without them escaping. I just left the ramp up to the box but so far they slept on the ground last night. I put little pieces of wood on the ramp to help them with the climb but so far they have showed no interest. I put one in so they would get the idea and she just climbed back down the ramp and has not looked back yet. I guess I have to give them a day or two.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 8:42PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

MSJAY: yes, I like your coop and your feeder design is very interesting. I have never seen that setup before. You haven't showed us a picture of your chickens yet??? Lets see a picture of them in their new coop.
I bet you are happy to have them out of the basement.!!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 8:53PM
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I found the instructions for that feeder online and it works very well. It is about 4 1/2 feet tall but 1 foot too tall because it was kind of awkward to fill up. the site only showed a photo and no measurements. It holds about 10 lbs of food. I should have made the bottom part a little longer. 2 chickens eat of it together comfortably but any more and they would be cramped. I used the cheaper sewer pipes instead of PVC and it was VERY easy to cut with a hack saw and the parts were all cheaper (10' of pipe (i have lots left over), 90 degree elbow and 2 end caps). Also I put a piece of board under it and tied it in the wire to secure it. It is okay. I think it will only have to be filled up once a week or 2 weeks.

I took a photo of the chickens in the pen yesterday and something is wrong with my memory stick. I put it in the computer and it can't be read, I took it to work today and same thing but works great in the camera. not sure what that is all about. it is a sony stick but it is a smaller one that fits in an adapter. no wonder it was so cheap. I am kind of pissed if I can't get my pictures out. I have about 300 on that stick!


Thanks for replying. I felt a little neglected. LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: the feeder and other ideas

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 11:36PM
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Miss_Kitty(6a KY)

Love the pictures.

Hey, I've read through this thread and not seen anyone suggest getting a roo. You are missing an opportunity to see some really neat behavior with the chickens. If you are in an urban or suburban area, I understand.

We started with Rhode Island Reds from the feed store. One grew to be a gorgous rooster. I called him "Roo-fasa", as soon as I figured out he was going to be the "one". I started to carry him around. He never bothered me. He was great for teaching my dog to leave the chickens alone. We now have a gentler Roo, a Dominique, who does his job but is easy to live with.

We have a JR terrier who is a dedicated duck and chicken killer. He learned to leave Roo-fasa's flock alone one afternoon when Roo jumped on his back and rode him like a pony for nipping one of the girls.

I never lost a chicken to a hawk, though I lost ducklings by the dozen. We can hear the coytoes sing, but I've never seen a paw print. I've lost more chicks and half-grown pullets to barn rats than to anything except dogs.

When we built "chicken world" I had them put landscape ties down to tack the wire to. Makes it a bit harder to dig through. I also planted mint behind the coop to help with the odor. I want to plant vines for shade next year.

Our poultry fence was open to the sky and the hawk stayed away. Again, it's all in what you have the room and the patients to do. I love having 'chicken world'!


    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 11:33PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

I would love to submit photos myself,,,photos of my chicken coop freshly painted,,but unfortunately it is not painted because it is STILL POURING !!! We have had several days and weeks of pouring rain. Flooding, and roads washing out because it has nowhere to go at this point. We haven't had 2 straight days of dry weather to allow the coop to dry out. This IS the worst damn summer !!! AND it is cold too !!. Uuugh, we MIGHT see some sun this weekend. yah right.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 7:25AM
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okay flowersnhens have you painted the coop yet???
to be sure you guys are not STILL having rain?? LOL

mskitty I thought about a roo but they are so loud. I was wondering if different roos are louder than others. it is quite dark out here at night so I don't think there will be a problem in the night just the days. unless the lights from passing cars will make them crow. the pen is not far from my bedroom windows.

is there such a thing of a quiet roo? what about getting a bantam roo?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 4:14PM
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flowershen did you ever get a chance to paint your coop? (am I nagging you about that LOL)

My digital camera is out of commission but now I have a camera phone and can send a photo of my girls (Lucy on the left Ethel on the right) enjoying the their coop.

and just for a little spice I am also including photos of my boys. Ricky loves to stand on garbage cans

Fred could care less with climbing

PS no eggs yet...

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 8:05PM
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DID I tell you guys about getting locked in the chicken coop? LOL it was so funny. On the outside I have a hasp. I went in the cage and somehow the hasp closed and I was stuck in the coop for a good little while.

Lesson learned. I put a lock in the loop when I go in so no chance of the hasp catching again with me on the wrong side. That could have turned into a disaster!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 10:07PM
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I wish I had a photo to post maybe in the next couple of days. Question is..My hubby took a metal table and PVC pipe and Chicken wire and built me a bird cage. When I decided to get my girls I put it in their pen and made it their coop. Their pen has a large net top over it. I go out everyday at dark and close the wire door and lock it with a clamp I have and then let them out everymorning. do you think a coon or possum could get in there?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 1:58PM
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I had six chickens. One night before six thirty while it was still light out, I found a chicken dead. I think I saw a coyote run past my other girls who were free ranging. I ran out to check and found one with its neck broke, a lot of feathers but not any blood or bites. I'm confused I thought coyotes only came out at night. The girls are safely locked at night so I thought they were safe. What do you think?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 8:48PM
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Coyotes hunt most frequently near dawn and dusk, but they are active at all hours of the day.

Free range chickens = food for wildlife

Keep them in a chicken tractor during the day (or a chicken yard with a top) and a well-built coop at night.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 8:23AM
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My son has chickens, 16 I believe, he has lost a few to predators, they are out of their pen during the day, but the other day he lost the pretty rooster, golden polish, he had won in a pet contest and blue ribbon at the fair. The neighbors dogs escaped their pen and they were awakened by the indoor dog barking his head off, this was 6 a.m. dog inside the pen, it was covered in that chicken mesh stuff, now covered in the heavier wire. He has cochins, a blue silkie (rooster), domineckers, white crested polish, two kinds that came from rural King that I don't know what they are, but they keep to themselves, I would get chickens too, but we have alot of dogs going through as well as all the other varmits..hope you enjoy yours as much as we have theirs.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Do any of you have experience with the electric portable chicken fence? I know I have heard it recommended. I know we have every predator here least most of them that I have heard of and I am planning to get chickens again and I just know that my little coop is not going to keep everything out no matter how hard we try.....I hate to have to spend the money for fence but in the long run it may be cheaper than losing too many chickens. What do y'all think?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:53PM
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