keeping chickens safe

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
Post Reply
User avatar
Jackalope
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:04 pm
Location: zummerzet, uk

keeping chickens safe

Post: # 90619Post Jackalope
Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:30 pm

we can't decide what to do.. we'd like a few chickens and to keep them free range at the bottom of the garden, we've got around 30ft x 30ft of rough grass with some fruit trees growing there. Can anyone advise which would be best- hen house with electric fencing around the perimeter or a run to keep them safe from foxes if we're away overnight? Or should we get goats?!
Boundin' around

User avatar
red
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 6513
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:59 pm
Location: Devon UK
Contact:

Post: # 90642Post red
Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:43 pm

oo I shall reply here too!

I would get a house.. we made ours out of an old garden shed.
and put in a run - you need to bury mesh, ideally, outwards from the fence.. Mr fox comes.. admires the hens, digs a little finds mesh and thinks.. 'oh praps I'll eat next doors hens, they are not fenced in and look easier'
well thats the theory.

btw foxes come in the day time too.
Red

I like like minded people... a bit like minded anyway.. well people with bits of their minds that are like the bits of my mind that I like...

my website: colour it green

etsy shop

blog

User avatar
Thomzo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4305
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

Post: # 90662Post Thomzo
Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:41 pm

I agree with red. A house for the nighttime. A run for the daytime if you are not around. Free-ranging is only safe when you are there to protect them.

Zoe
Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at http://designedbyzoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomzo.co.uk

User avatar
Jackalope
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:04 pm
Location: zummerzet, uk

Post: # 90690Post Jackalope
Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:39 pm

thank you, hmmm, is lots to think about, OH not sure anymore.. didn't realise hens would impinge on our social life so much! want the birds to have enough room to roam and so not reduce grass to mud, hence my considering electric fence. I should not have forgotten foxes prey during the day.. i recently chased one out of a friends hen house in the mid afternoon with screaming 5 yr old child in tow!
Boundin' around

User avatar
red
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 6513
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:59 pm
Location: Devon UK
Contact:

Post: # 90693Post red
Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:07 pm

hens are not that much hassle. you can get a feeder and a water thingy, so you only have to make sure they are topped up, collect the eggs, and clean out the house every so often.
we dont shut ours in the house at night.. the pop hole stays open all the time.. and they come out and go in when they want. so if we were going out in the day, and coming home after dark... is fine.. makes no difference.
Red

I like like minded people... a bit like minded anyway.. well people with bits of their minds that are like the bits of my mind that I like...

my website: colour it green

etsy shop

blog

ina
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 7998
Joined: Sun May 22, 2005 9:16 pm
Location: Kincardineshire, Scotland

Post: # 90694Post ina
Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:26 pm

Yes, I was thinking that - it should be possible to get that rough bit of grass fox proof, with a decent fence... And then it's really not that much work. Good fencing is usually the most important and labour intensive part of keeping livestock!
Ina
I'm a size 10, really; I wear a 20 for comfort. (Gina Yashere)

User avatar
dudley
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:36 pm
Location: Kent

Post: # 90870Post dudley
Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:29 pm

Summer before last while standing at the sink and looking out into our back field I saw a Mr fox strolling, ok so it wasn’t me at the sink it was my wife, but anyway. Mr fox was strolling away with one of our Ducks in his mouth. No rush just walking away as if on his way home from the shops.
I didn’t think to do anything about it, big field, long way away etc. But my wife say’s well don’t just stand there! What can I do? The duck is already his diner. Well do something man!
I belt out the house, waving my arms and shouting. Old deaf farm collie asleep outside thinks his hearing has just miraculously got better and runs all over the place wondering whats happening and sort of follows me to the field. Mr fox stops, looks, drops Duck and runs like Sh.t. I hobble across field still trying to put on my boots and find the Duck uninjured just sitting in the grass all bewildered.
Well done Mrs Dudley!
But the thing is our foxes do hunt daytime here. We also believe badgers have struck as something ate a hole in chicken wire and took some geese. Showing the hole to the vet on a farm visit she said it would possibly have been a Badger!
We now have all our birds enclosed behind Heras building site type fencing. Old salvaged panels of course.
Not suggesting using anything so heavy duty but a night time ark and fox proof day run is a must.
Oh yeah, our goats don't worry about foxes. And the foxes still come on the farm with goats in the field. They may be different next week when they kid.

User avatar
red
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 6513
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:59 pm
Location: Devon UK
Contact:

Post: # 90871Post red
Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:18 am

my parents had a badger take some ducks. They know it was a badger.. cos they caught him in the act!
Red

I like like minded people... a bit like minded anyway.. well people with bits of their minds that are like the bits of my mind that I like...

my website: colour it green

etsy shop

blog

User avatar
Thurston Garden
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1455
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 3:19 pm
Location: Scottish Borders
Contact:

Post: # 91006Post Thurston Garden
Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:17 pm

A hen house is a must. So, IMHO is a proper run. Without one, the fox WILL visit and he leaves a right bl00dy mess!

As Red says, the mesh should be dug into the ground, but 30m by 30m is a lot of digging. Our run is slightly bigger and I run a strand of electric fence wire around the base, right at fox snout level. At the moment, the energiser is in the house garden keeping some pigs in check, but the fox does not know that!

With a run that big, it would be good to put your hen house in the middle and have more than one pop hole - you can then divide the run up and let then hens out onto fresh pasture every few months. Our house is fixed and the ground is pretty bare beside it. In the opposite corner the grass gets so long, you can occasionally see a giraffe's head poking out . :lol:
Thurston Garden.

http://www.thurstongarden.wordpress.com
Greenbelt is a Tory Policy and the Labour Party intends to build on it. (John Prescott)

florence
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:35 am
Location: Suffolk

Post: # 91719Post florence
Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:29 am

Here's my tuppenny worth, if it helps...

I guess it all depends on how many hens you'd like, but have you thought about an ark which you can move around and prevent the ground from being too scratched up?

We keep a couple of bantam hens this way. We, too, have an area of rough grass in our garden in which we have planted various saplings and it is a perfect little wilderness for hens. It is grass that we don't mow and are not concerned about getting scruffy with straw or being scratched up and we have an ark which we move around to give them fress grass regularly. Every day I let them out to free range around the garden - keeps them very happy and keeps us very entertained! Our girls just come home each night all by themselves, tuck themselves up and we go out to lock them up at dusk. Our ark has a pop-hole which is permanently open with a run that is big enough for the birds to live in when we're away on holidays. It's just a question, then, of begging our friendly neighbour to feed them/collect eggs/change water etc.

There is a flaw to this system however.... whilst we've never had a predator attempt to dig under the run or get into the ark we have, sadly, lost a couple of hens to Mr Fox by forgetting to lock them in overnight. I can't begin to tell you how painfully guilty that has made us feel....

HTH
Helen

User avatar
reggiep
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:20 am

Post: # 92724Post reggiep
Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:32 am

or maybe get an eglu? www.omlet.co.uk
It is by no means the cheapest option but it is so easy to keep clean. It's made out of plastic and looks like an old mac computer. About 10 minutes a week keeps it clean

Image

MW1LCR
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:40 am
Location: Wales

Livestock

Post: # 92846Post MW1LCR
Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:38 pm

We started with Chickens this year, and they are great fun, and just started laying eggs, our 2 year old loves his "chickens!" ...but we took the advice of a local Farmer and fenced them in.... We made a fence out of stock fencing, nailed to some half round and round posts. This was stretched like normal stock fencing. Next we added Rabbit Netting, which is stronger than chicken wire and cheaper too boot ! We attached the Rabbit wire with clips to the stock fencing. This gives a really neat, strong finish.

The rabbit netting was folded out facing the outside of the "pound" by about ten inches.

Then we added a rail to run around all the posts at about 12 inches above ground.

Next we added two top wires to the posts. (To stop the hound jumping the fence!).

The chickens troop in the Hen House at night, just before dark, and we go out and lock them in. Of a morning we let them loose about 8:30am.

So far we havn't lost one, although a near miss with the dog ! (Our fault we left the gate open for a split second...be warned thats all it takes !).

I reckon the scent of the Dog puts the Foxes off going near the chickens.

I can photograph "Cluck Med" if anyone wants to see photo's of the best Holiday Camp for Chickens in Wales !.

Adrian

User avatar
reggiep
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:20 am

Re: Livestock

Post: # 92871Post reggiep
Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:15 pm

MW1LCR wrote: I can photograph "Cluck Med" if anyone wants to see photo's of the best Holiday Camp for Chickens in Wales !.

Adrian
I'd like to see those pics!

I let my chicks runs around all our back garden and I keep thinking about fencing part of it off. I have seen a portable fence kit that can be moved around the garden but at £65 seems a bit steep. :pale:

Post Reply