Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: First chickens- free range or not?  (Read 9225 times)

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2015, 11:27:49 am »
Oh dear, you are now hooked ;D :roflanim: .   
Electric netting is great if you can mow/strim a line for it to go over. 
Most of mine free range but foxes will take them at any time of the day, even 1000 at the back door.  First week of June is when they start visiting here >:( - just a trail of feathers on the lawn :'( .
The hens in the penned area were repeatedly attacked by something - stoat or mink? - which dug under the fence panels and got in from the fields. Only one hen at a time was attacked and the throat bitten.
Keeping them safe is the biggest worry but they are worth it.

Jon Feather

  • Joined Jun 2015
  • South West Cumbria
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2015, 11:56:17 am »
Re electric fences and grass: we only bought ours to be used a few days at a time while we are away.  When we come back it gets packed away again.  If I were keeping it up for longer periods I would weed kill a 6" strip where the fence is going.  I don't like weed killers but I like my birds more.

lowlander

  • Joined Sep 2014
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2015, 01:56:36 pm »
Thanks - will try the electric fence. Strim down to earth, put down the DPC, then put the fence on top - hopefully it will keep the weeds back for a while!

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2015, 02:09:48 pm »
I have had my chickens for about 8 years and there free range. I have found they are just as likely to be taken during the day or night by foxes and badgers. At first they were in an outside run with housing but changed this to one of the stables in the barn which was safer at night. Being over run by badgers were my main problem. I also have a big male cockerel who helps to keep them safe. My birds are used to going to bed at night. As well as there normal food they get a little treat at bedtime so are always around when its time to be shut in.

Jon Feather

  • Joined Jun 2015
  • South West Cumbria
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2015, 02:17:40 pm »
Oh dear, you are now hooked ;D :roflanim: .   
Electric netting is great if you can mow/strim a line for it to go over. 
Most of mine free range but foxes will take them at any time of the day, even 1000 at the back door.  First week of June is when they start visiting here >:( - just a trail of feathers on the lawn :'( .
The hens in the penned area were repeatedly attacked by something - stoat or mink? - which dug under the fence panels and got in from the fields. Only one hen at a time was attacked and the throat bitten.
Keeping them safe is the biggest worry but they are worth it.
A bite to the throat sounds like classic stoat, mink, ferret etc.  We had a ferret get into one of our laying flocks of 120 hybrids.  It killed 25 within a few minutes before flattened it with a spade.  All the dead birds had a bite to the side of the neck just below the head.  We also had a stoat attack our bantams.  It came a couple of times and took the heads off.  I presume it had killed with a bite to the neck and eaten the heads because it couldn't drag the body away.  We keep the bantams in small houses with a wired in run attached.  I drop the pop holes on them at night now.

Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2015, 02:59:49 pm »
Lowlander, what is your wire skirt made of? You need 14g mesh for it to be fox proof.
Just asking as some people use chicken wire, which is unfortunately as useless as air. It holds chickens in but nothing out.


Stoats and foxes in the middle of the day here, and we're practically suburbia  :(  Not a single fox ever got into my runs, though, they're built like Alcatraz. :D


lowlander

  • Joined Sep 2014
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2015, 06:51:58 pm »
It is sheep netting - heavy gauge - only issue would be size of squares but would need to be a precise and small fox to dig within one of them. That said they are still locked up at night and the plan is to put the electric fence round tomorrow for the days.

Kimbo

  • Joined Feb 2015
  • Anglezarke, Lancashire
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2015, 07:37:11 pm »
sheep netting? My hybrids can squeeze thru sheep netting. A stoat or mink would easily get thru


UPDAT: sorry I misunderstood you.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 09:10:07 am by Kimbo »
Is it time to retire yet?

lowlander

  • Joined Sep 2014
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2015, 07:51:57 pm »
It is pegged out on the ground as a skirt - 3 ft around the coop. The coop itself is chicken netting. Do stoat or mink dig/tunnel?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 07:55:54 pm by lowlander »

Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: First chickens- free range or not?
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2015, 11:32:04 pm »
Stoats gets through gaps of less than 5cm! The rats will dig the tunnels for them...
After a stoat got into our fox proof run a few years ago I bought a load of mesh off ebay and double lined the whole run. Not cheap but so worth it. :)


Chicken wire will only keep the birds locked in a convenient space with no escape for the passing predators to take at their leisure. I wish it wasn't called chicken wire, pea netting would be a better name for it.


Your thoughts on battery operated energisers, please, people, as I'm not impressed by the Gardman we used for the pigs, the cables come off too easily when curious rabbits take a nighttime nibble. I'm going to try the method of penning landscape fabric under it to avoid earthing. Whilst on the subject: which brand of netting do you (now / no longer) use, please?


 

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