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Author Topic: talk to me about chickens  (Read 4641 times)


  • Joined Jan 2013
talk to me about chickens
« on: September 12, 2013, 10:46:07 am »
Hi looking for some advice on chickens. Im planning on getting some rescue hens in the next few weeks. my plan is to build a coop out of some pallets i have lying around and to use some poultry netting that I acquired a year or so ago. I plan on putting wooden fence posts on the corners to hold it tight and then the plastic posts for the rest of it. It would be run on battery along with the rest of my electric fencing (i have horses) as the chickens will be kept at the field that i rent a mile or so out of town.

just have a few of questions!
Will electric poultry netting be sufficient to keep out foxes, stoats ect?
Would i be better building a coop and run and surrounding that with the electric fencing? Is that a bit OTT?
How much of a threat are aerial predators?  there are quite a few birds of prey (not very good on types) round my way some of which are huge but would they take a chicken?
Any other advice would be wonderful.

Victorian Farmer

  • Guest
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 11:12:29 am »
all things are possible but they need a dry house from the wether


  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Derby
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 02:21:13 pm »
Aerial predetors can be a problem with younger birds, however chickens can hop/jump fly pretty high and needing about 1m to 1.5 m in my expierence will not keep them in for long, I let my free range, so I tend to put them in an open top pen to learn where the coop is then let them range, yes I have lost a few to foxes, but for me that's the price of letting them range. Get some, then you'll want more!

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 02:25:01 pm »
Are you around to lock them into the coop every evening at dusk?

Castle Farm

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Hereford/Powys Border. near Hay-on-Wye
    • castlefarmeggs
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 03:57:47 pm »
The question you need to ask yourself is.

If I was a chicken would I feel safe and happy in a pen like you have in mind?
Traditional Utility Breed Hatching Eggs sent next day delivery. Pure bred Llyen Sheep.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 04:16:16 pm »
As Gary says they need a shelter from wet and cold.  An electric fence won't keep a fox out if the fence is six feet or lower. Some will jump higher than that if they can see the way out as well as the way in. They jump in, create havoc, jump out either with or without bounty, and keep coming back to see if you've replenished their larder. And they can dig under too.  Stoats get in to the smallest places.
I don't worry about BoPs they prefer smaller things really.

Depends on your outlook what you do - if you are prepared to come to teh filed and find loads of feathers and dead bodies then do as you suggest.  If you can't handle that then build a proper shed/coop and closed in run for them for night time and when you can't get up to check them (winter snow, or late night party for instance).  Let them free range in day time with a fence that is sunk a foot below the ground or heavy enough ground that can't be dug out, and either strong unclimeable (Heras) fencing or electrified.
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


  • Joined May 2013
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 04:22:53 pm »
i presume the electric fence wont be touching the wooden fence posts? you will need plastic to insulate them.

people make amazing things out of pallets -there are books devoted to it  :excited:
but it does have to be fox proof, windproof and dry.
we lost a hen when the door slipped down 6 inches and the fox pulled her out of the gap.

john and helen

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Devon
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Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2013, 10:36:22 pm »
Badgers will also have a go.... best bet maybe to raise the chicken coop off the ground


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 01:04:54 pm »
we never lost an adult bird to a predator in a few years and the hens are free range with Mr Fox living across the road on the hill. It depends on the density of foxes around you and how much other food they can find and also how much humans are around on your property.
Some folks report that buzzards go for chickens but never happened here. I'm more concerned about released eagles in the area. Sparrowhawks stole some ducklings and I have netted all youngsters in a run since until they reach a decent size (larger than a pigeon).
I would only have rat proof housing lifted off the ground.
Hope this helps.  :&>


  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 02:36:56 pm »
Thanks for the replies

I'm on the edge o Dartmoor and there seems to be quite a few foxes round here. Have seen several whilst out riding recently.
The field is just out of town down a quiet lane and no one other than myself go down there regularly so there won't be anyone around whilst I am at work. I am thinking I will have to build a coop with some form of run to keep them safe. I'm thinking if I build a coop and run within the electric poultry netting they should be safe?


  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 04:08:51 pm »
There are people near us that run electric sheep wire around their chooks and they have a house on wheels to go in during the night. This way they can keep moving pen and wire to fresh ground. They have never had a fox attack! don't ask me how, because the sheep wire isn't that high. I think its because the coop is in an open field and the fox just doesn't have any cover to sneak up on the birds???
Maybe, but anyway i wouldn't feel happy with my birds like that, so ours have a large wired pen with tin around the bottom this goes down a few inches into the ground to stop foxy digging at the wire and making it sag.
Birds are locked away at night and the whole thing has fruit net over the top to stop crows etc.
chooks get let out a couple of times a week at different times of the day to have a mooch about.


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: talk to me about chickens
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 10:01:17 pm »
My set up is similar to feldar - I have a pen (20mx10m) that's dug down to 18 inches, and is seven foot high with an overhang at the top. It means I can leave them all inside the run when I'm not around and then they can free range when I am. I was getting quite relaxed about the free ranging and leaving them out while I popped out for a while but we've now seen so many foxes by day and our neighbours have lost two lots of chickens to foxy, I'm now being really careful. Inside the run we have the houses so they're all locked up at night.

I'm getting a new run done and because it's so big (70m by 45m), I looked at electric fencing. The most reliable is to combine a tall fence with several strands of wire a foot or two out from it - one just above the ground to stop digging (then you don't need to dig the fence down as far but you do have to keep the grass down so it doesn't ground the wire), one at nose level and one higher up to stop them climbing over. I think if you've just got the poultry netting, a hungry fox would eventually work out it could dig under or jump over.

You don't mention whether you'll be able to shut the chucks in at night? That's when they're most vulnerable. It's really just a question of balance. My neighbour goes to market, buys cheap, hybrid chickens and is not too upset if the fox grabs a few. I've got rare breed poultry - chickens, ducks and geese - which have taken some efforts to assemble (including a ten hour drive coming up tomorrow) and there are some in there that I would be devastated to lose. If you make a purely cost effective decision and just want eggs, buy cheap hybrid hens and see how you go with the poultry netting. You'll soon know whether you have a serious fox problem or not...



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