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Monday, November 5, 2012

Secure poultry coops

Protect the Earth by macronet
Protect the Earth, a photo by macronet on Flickr.
We recently asked our Facebook community (www.Facebook.com/MotherEarthNewsMag) how they make their coops predator-proof. Here are some of their best tactics.

Buy Quality Materials: The best advice I give and was given is to never use cheap wire. And for heavy predator zones, add more layers of wire. If you're going to keep poultry, do what you need to do to protect them. You'll never have to buy more if you start with the best in the first place. My cages were attacked and destroyed by dogs last year. Now they can withstand a bear attack. I learned the hard way.--Travis Britt

Guard Donkey: My chickens are housed next to my donkey that runs off any predators day or night, plus they have a secure, covered run.--Stephanie Hanlon

Secure the Perimeter: Bury chicken wire or paving stones just under the ground's surface all around the perimeter, especially at the door, so critters can't dig under the fence.--Jackie Dana

Impervious Paving: Raccoons dig under most fences. Most folks will pour a concrete floor for their pen with the bottom of the fence in the concrete.--Kathy Winkler Puffin

Poultry Bunker: My chicken "bunker" has a concrete floor and concrete block walls. It has dirt piled up on the west, north and east sides, is passive solar-heated, and not only is it pest-proof, it maintains a comfortable temperature year-round and is also tornado-resistant.--Jeff Droz

Multiple Techniques: We buried wire deep, covered the floor with linoleum (easy to clean), and made the run covered and raised. So far nothing has gotten in!--Bonnie Shingleton

Secure Poultry Kennel: Use a dog kennel for your run and bury reinforcing wire along the outside perimeter. You can use straw bales to build a coop inside to protect birds or for when it gets cold. If you want to let your birds range, put a portable electric fence around the kennel.--Jim Timmons

Less Work With a Secure Run: If you use a dog kennel or similar setup to create a very secure run, you can avoid having to release and lock up birds in their coop every day.--Cheryl Long

Guineas Get the Snakes: Our major problem was snakes taking the eggs, but then we acquired guinea fowl and are keeping the area around the coops mowed so they can see the snakes. The guineas love to eat any snakes they can catch.--Gloria McKay

Solar Fencing Solution: Might sound shocking, but a perimeter solar electric fence will do the trick.--Jeff Ledson

Small-Holed Fencing: I used vinyl-coated, 1-inch-square wire, the kind used to make crab traps. I also flared it at the bottom 90 degrees and buried it so that I had about 12 inches or so of buried fencing along the entire perimeter. The 1-inch wire keeps out weasels, opossums and raccoons. The buried flared fencing keeps out dogs and foxes. They're not smart enough to back up to dig under it!--Crissi Rocca-Shenal

Coop on Stilts: Our coop is 4 1/2 feet off the ground and has stairs to go up into it. It has a "covered" porch with a full-sized door that we close up every night. We keep the grass trimmed low all around it and keep a radio playing also. We have never had a problem with predators.--Ahola Acres

Source Citation (MLA 7th Edition)
"Secure poultry coops." Mother Earth News Oct.-Nov. 2012: 87. Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture. Web. 5 Nov. 2012.
Document URL
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA303071951&v=2.1&u=22054_acld&it=r&p=PPGL&sw=w

Gale Document Number: GALE|A303071951

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