Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: To Pen, or not to Pen.  (Read 3018 times)

Badger

  • Joined May 2010
To Pen, or not to Pen.
« on: August 27, 2011, 04:38:43 pm »
Hi, we are looking for advice please. We have 9 chooks that free range over our half acre garden, then to coop overnight. We started to erect a compound of 4ft high weld mesh (30mt roll), with the idea of getting them into a penned area during the darker autumn/winter afternoons. Although as yet we have not had a fox problem. After erecting half the mesh it occurred to us that should a fox get inside the wire, the chooks would have nowhere to escape to. We are thinking now that they might have more chance just free ranging, we have plenty of trees and hedges they might escape to. We do not really want to go to electric fencing, and buried wire underground. What do you think !.

Badger

manian

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 04:49:08 pm »
our chickens fly over the 4ft fences we have when they want to :)
so i wouldn't worry, esp if you havehedgges and trees
Mx

Badger

  • Joined May 2010
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2011, 05:02:51 pm »
HI, do you mean you wouldn't bother with a pen, or if they were attacked they would fly out of the pen ?.

HappyHippy

  • Guest
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 05:05:24 pm »
I think that unless you're making the compound completely fox proof (roof, buried wire in the ground etc) it's probably better for them to free range. As you've said yourself, they'd have no (or less of a) chance of escape in the run.
I have the fox debate with myself on a regular basis  ::) Especially when it comes time to think about clipping wings. On the one hand you have hens who're more likely to stay put, but on the other there's no chance of evading foxy if they can't fly off  :-\
So either make the compound completely fox proof or save yourself the work  ;)

A thing I'm trying (with success so far) is a no-dig 'skirt' round the run I have my hubbards in, you could probably do it with the weld mesh. Lay 6-8 inches of it flat on the ground and hold it down with cheap tent pegs before taking it up onto the fence posts. Or put your wire as close to the ground as you can and get some more of it cut into strips and lay it down afterwards, tie wrap it to your fence at regular intervals and use a couple of tent pegs to hold it in place. I got the idea here http://www.flytesofancy.co.uk/chickenhouses/Extras_for_Henhouses_Runs.html near the bottom of the page  ;)
HTH
Karen  :wave:

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2011, 05:07:26 pm »
If they are attacked inside a pen they run as far as they can then crouch down and jump - that is when foxy would catch them.  Mine are in a pen but it's laplarch panels with a slab path next to it so can't be dug under.  It's only 4 feet high and the two LS jump it every day, but the ex batts don't try; I even have a foot of chicken wire on top, the LS just batter it down.  I prefer having mine able to be penned in - if I need to go away it's easier for anyone who doesn't know them to look after them.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2011, 06:19:15 pm »
Our fences are about 4ft high - some never go out, some are over and away first thing in the morning. We're putting in new fencing son so that we can control them and rotate the grazing. We're on a road and they're now out there, visiting the neighbours and so on.

One of the attributes of the Black Rock is "good forager" - not joking, they're everywhere.  ;D

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2011, 06:23:16 pm »
 I think that if a fox does come hunting you are going to lose some either way.  We built a run for our first chooks many years ago and they just flew straight out.  We clipped a wing each and they still just flew straight out.  Now we never clip wings or have them in a pen.  They free range over about 5 acres near the buildings and occasionally a fox does come - sometimes we have lost lots, sometimes it's a hen with newly hatched chicks in the undergrowth which we haven't managed to catch to put in a coop.
Things to do to reduce the likelihood of foxes getting them, apart from a totally fox-proof enclosure, is making sure they don't come out too early in the morning and that they are closed in before dusk.  We also try to make sure we are about approaching dusk, making a lot of noise, dogs barking etc just to let the foxes know we are there.
Our hens are very independant creatures and would hate to be curbed by being shut in, but there is plenty of cover for foxes so I know I will lose more  :(
Oh and the other day Yellow Leg who was the most wonderful and independant maiden Scots Grey hen (in that she kept herself well away from any cockerels for years) was flattened on the road by a callous, careless, speeding driver.  So if the foxes don't get them, the boy racers will.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2011, 07:15:35 pm »
How dreadful, poor Yellow Leg! Hope it was quick.  Do chooks go over rainbow bridge?  I'll bet she flew over!  Chasing all eh boy racers and foxy loxys ;D
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Dougal

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Port O' Menteith, Stirlingshire
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2011, 07:27:32 pm »
I run my hens in an area where I've put a 7 fooy fence in. I put a plain wire in place around the bottom and clipped the rabbit wire to that but left a skirt of the wire out into the grass. I then used rylock on the top half with a middle and top wire that is just plain. I've clipped the rabbit and rylock wire top and bottom so nothing can push through. It looks smart, it is as high as the birds can't get out over the top and is as tight at the bottom as the fox will have to be very very determined to get in. Mind if they are determined thare is nothing to keep old charlie out.
The fencing really wasn't all that expensive. Maybe 200. Sounds dear but when you see hens advertised at 25 each it makes you wonder.
It's always worse for someone else, so get your moaning done before they start using up all the available symathy!

Miss Piggy

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • Cardigan Bay, Ceredigion
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2011, 08:39:31 pm »
A four foot fence wont keep a fox out. I had a fox visit my hens twice over 10 years ago, I invested in 300 metres of electric netting and touch wood havnt lost a hen since. Its  been worth every penny. I know a couple of friends that swear by Radio 4. The theory being that the fox stays away hearing voices. It certainly seems to work as theirs free range with no problem except when they forgot to turn the radio on for a couple of days. :chook:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2011, 11:21:44 pm »
I think that if a fox does come hunting you are going to lose some either way.  

I agree.  And I have wondered whether if the hens are not penned and foxy is hunting, s/he'll just take what s/he needs.  But if the hens are penned, all the squawking and flapping make it more likely foxy will kill the lot.  So I echo the advice to either pen them completely foxproof or to let them free range with unclipped wings.

Oh and the other day Yellow Leg who was the most wonderful and independant maiden Scots Grey hen (in that she kept herself well away from any cockerels for years) was flattened on the road by a callous, careless, speeding driver.  So if the foxes don't get them, the boy racers will.

 :bouquet:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Juno

  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 09:20:23 am »
I do both, after loosing half my flock to foxy, they are penned (fox proof) while i am away at work, etc and set free to roam when i am at home, they are excellent birds and come to call when required

Is is a hard one x

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: To Pen, or not to Pen.
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 11:05:24 am »
Mine are free during the day and penned at night, I just have to hope foxy wont come early one day or i'm done for, though they do seem to stay close to the house in the afternoons i think it's because they hoping for some titbits!
Being ex-bats they love being out and kick up such a racket if i'm late to let them out or have to pen them back, it's a worse noise than any cockeral can make.

 

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