Help! 4 lovely ladies just moved in, coop and all - Page 3
 
 

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Help! 4 lovely ladies just moved in, coop and all

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        01-23-2013, 06:06 PM
      #21
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    
    I don't know about predators in your area, but here I keep that coop zipped up like Fort Knox and to the point I think I'm paranoid and until the last 2 years, I wasn't paranoid ENOUGH. Raccoons especially, with their little 'hands', are very tough to keep out. Skunks are abundant around here too, and OMG, if one of those gets in, you'll play HE!! Getting it out without having to burn the coop. UGH!
    Yep, I definitely took note of your buried hardware cloth- I am sure we will have to do that. We live in an area where people have decent sized properties, but are still close enough that roaming neighborhood dogs can be a problem- one neighbor who simply refuses to keep her dog contained has already been responsible for the killing of a few birds from the same flock that these girls came from

    Other than the killer pet dog, we have the typical assortment of predators- raccoons, foxes, coyotes, weasels, plus our regional specialty, the fishercat. I hate those things!!

    Lots to protect the ladies from.
         
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        01-23-2013, 06:21 PM
      #22
    Banned
    Dreamcatcher's idea is good, but here's one that may be easier as it doesn't involve digging a trench around the perimeter of the run.. Our run is made out of chain-link dog kennel panels, with chicken wire lining the inside. Around the perimeter of the run, we laid a 12 - 18" strip of cut chain link, laying it flat on the ground, then covered with the the same size strip of landscape fabric. We fastened one side of the chain link to the bottom rail of the coop with cable ties, and anchored the other side of it to the ground with wire anchors. Then we covered the landscape fabric with mulch. We have come out many mornings to find holes dug in the mulch, but the predator stops when they get to the chain link. No predator has been smart enough to back up 18" and dig under, or they've decided it was too much work.

    The beauty of this method is that no digging was involved, and the mulch edging around the run means there's no weedeating, that I can run the bush hog and the riding lawn mower right up to the run.

    We have neighbor dogs, coyotes, fox, raccoon, weasel and bobcats in the immediate area, and the only predator loss we've had has been from a snake, and we've killed two snakes in the coop. I have no idea how to make a coop or run snake proof, so we dispatch the snakes when we find them.
         
        01-23-2013, 06:34 PM
      #23
    Yearling
    Maura, interesting idea. I will run that by my husband- the mulch and mowing setup sounds like a real benefit, I'm sure he'd like that.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maura    
    I have no idea how to make a coop or run snake proof, so we dispatch the snakes when we find them.
    Geez, more predators to add to the list! It's a wonder any of these backyard chickens stay alive...
         
        01-23-2013, 10:44 PM
      #24
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by egrogan    
    Maura, interesting idea. I will run that by my husband- the mulch and mowing setup sounds like a real benefit, I'm sure he'd like that.



    Geez, more predators to add to the list! It's a wonder any of these backyard chickens stay alive...
    I've found a couple of black snakes in the coop, but with guinea hens running loose, there aren't many bold enough to actually try to get in there. The guineas have kept my area pretty snake free. Thank God, we have water mocs around here and my dogs will try on any snake anytime. In AZ they cornered the biggest rattlesnake I've ever seen. So, I'll never be without a bunch of guineas again. Plus they eat ticks and keep 'em off my horses.
         
        01-24-2013, 09:59 AM
      #25
    Banned
    Dreamcatcher, we're going to get guineas this spring.

    These snakes were black snakes, and they were in the nest boxes, trying to eat eggs. I like black snakes, as a rule, because they eat rodents and are mostly harmless. I even thought about catching and removing the first one, but realistically, once they started eating eggs I figured they'd keep coming back.

    Black snakes are pretty big, so I can't imagine the birds attacking them. I don't think they'd harm a full grown bird, but I have seen reports of them eating chicks and youngsters.

    Since we killed the two, we've had further problems.

    Egrogan, I will try to get you some photos of our setup.
         
        01-24-2013, 12:04 PM
      #26
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maura    
    Dreamcatcher, we're going to get guineas this spring.

    These snakes were black snakes, and they were in the nest boxes, trying to eat eggs. I like black snakes, as a rule, because they eat rodents and are mostly harmless. I even thought about catching and removing the first one, but realistically, once they started eating eggs I figured they'd keep coming back.

    Black snakes are pretty big, so I can't imagine the birds attacking them. I don't think they'd harm a full grown bird, but I have seen reports of them eating chicks and youngsters.

    Since we killed the two, we've had further problems.

    Egrogan, I will try to get you some photos of our setup.
    I have/had a pic of some guineas attacking a big water moc. I'll see if I can find them. The key is, they don't go it alone. They sound the alarm call and every guinea in the flock comes a'runnin' and they go to it. It's amazing to see. Those guineas are FIERCE and they don't quit. They're noisy, they're messy and they're worth their weight in gold to me.
         
        01-24-2013, 12:35 PM
      #27
    Yearling
    I've read about guinea hens being great for ticks, that makes them attractive to me as we've got tons and they're really tough on our dogs. Although, with this insane cold, maybe they'll actually be killed back this year, unlike last year! I think I also read though that the guinea hens don't necessarily do well sharing living quarters with regular chickens? Will have to read up on that.

    I decided to suck it up an hour ago- the temp had risen from -6 degrees F to 12 degrees- and take care of the ladies while I was still all bundled up from being at the barn (the farrier was there this morning). I'm really glad I did, because their water had frozen solid. I can't remember whether my husband or I dealt with the water refill earlier this week, but the heating pan had been put in upside down, so that the little heat bladder was facing down, not up for the gravity can to sit on it. I don't know how long its been since they had water, which obviously made me feel terrible. They drank and drank and drank when I filled it up But, the positive thing is that they are obviously very resilient. I did have two eggs; one had frozen and cracked, so I threw that one away, but the other was in good shape, maybe fresher (I didn't check yesterday...)

    They had eaten a lot of food, which I know is one sign that they're getting too cold. I don't think there's anything we can do about it though, so I just cleaned the poop out of it (there was a lot) and filled it back up. I gave them some more straw and more scratch so they'd move around a bit, adding some more fruit and vegetable scraps, and closed up the front door as tight as I could.

    They did seem really eager to go outside as soon as I opened the door- I don't think they like being closed in. But, they were only out about 10 minutes; I left them out when I came back in the house to get more hot water for them, and by the time I got back outside, they were all back in the house.

    Here are some glamour shots from their brief foray to the outdoors.
    Attached Images
    File Type: jpg do we stay or do we go.jpg (36.4 KB, 33 views)
    File Type: jpg cold but free.jpg (24.0 KB, 33 views)
    File Type: jpg did we mention we're cold.jpg (30.1 KB, 34 views)
    Celeste and Rafter B like this.
         
        01-24-2013, 12:44 PM
      #28
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by egrogan    
    ...


    Here are some glamour shots from their brief foray to the outdoors.
    I think you've got some good looking hens there, egrogan, and they look healthy and happy.
         
        01-24-2013, 12:51 PM
      #29
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chevaux    
    I think you've got some good looking hens there, egrogan, and they look healthy and happy.
    Thank you- the trick is to keep them that way!
         
        01-24-2013, 01:33 PM
      #30
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by egrogan    
    Thank you- the trick is to keep them that way!
    One thing I have discovered through trial and error is, as long as I keep them supplied with shelter, food and clean water, they seem to do pretty well. The first year I had chickens, OMG, I fussed and fussed and worried about them. Now...I shut them in at night, let them out in the morning, make sure they have plenty of layer ration and oyster shell and clean their water regularly and they do pretty well. Mine do better in sever cold than they do in severe heat, like 115 last summer, but they do like to go out and then go back in after just a few mins if it's too cold.

    I raised my guineas from keets, with the chickens, and they all went to the coop together. Once the guineas got to a certain age though, they went up into the huge digger pine that I have shading the coop. They bed down there at night, and in the day, they free range and sometimes eat and drink with the chickens. I haven't really seen any problems between the 2, once in a while a guinea will chase a hen but I've seen a hen chase a guinea too. A couple of the guineas go in the coop to lay their eggs, but otherwise, they really don't go in much.
         

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