Our system

Discussion in 'Coops, Runs and Housing' started by ricepaddydaddy, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. ricepaddydaddy

    ricepaddydaddy Member

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    We do not have coops, at least in the normal meaning of the term.
    We live in a rural area with plenty of woods around. And plenty of woodland creatures.:eek: Until we went to our present system five years ago we lost a hen here, a hen there, to predation. Since then we have not lost a one.:)
    Our chicken area is approx 50 X 75 feet and enclosed by 6 foot chain link. Inside that we have DIY dog kennels (Home Depot, Lowes), also 6 foot chain link, one for each small flock. At one time we had over 50 hens, now we are down to a total of 14 birds, including roosters.
    These kennels have flat shadecloth tops for additional security, and peaked tarp roofs for weather protection.
    Inside the kennels are my homemade hootches which are about 2 feet deep, three feet wide and are three feet high at the front sloping down to the back. These are set on a base of regular concrete blocks. I use 3/8" CDX plywood for walls and roof, 2X2's for framing, and there is 1/2" mesh welded hardware cloth for the floor and on the door.
    Each day we let one flock out into the general area to roam about, rotating the flocks daily to avoid the roosters fighting.
    My wife lets them out of the hootches in the morning when she feeds and waters, and lets one group out to roam.
    At dusk each day they get closed up for the night in their hootches. I usually do this while she does horse chores. This puts them securely behind wood/wire and behind two layers of chainlink.
    I was born and raised a city boy, but I really enjoy the past 16 years of country life!:D
     
  2. ricepaddydaddy

    ricepaddydaddy Member

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    Not in the literal sense, no. But I did put one of our dogs into a kennel just outside the chicken run at night with the idea that she would bark and alert me if anything came creeping about.:eek:
    Darn dog barked at every falling leaf, every shadow.:rolleyes:
    She is now back inside with the other dogs, and I sleep better.:D
     

  3. kessy09

    kessy09 New Member

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    Sounds neat! Love to see pictures if you have sone!
     
  4. Bee

    Bee Active Member

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    Sounds complicated!
     
  5. ricepaddydaddy

    ricepaddydaddy Member

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    Our birds depend upon us for food, water, shelter and safety.
    As I mentioned, we live in a rural area that is full of wildlife. Predator wise there are Bobcat, 2 specie of fox, coyote, skunk, coon, possum. All of which would love to get a chicken dinner. All of this can be found right in our back yard. Literally.
    I got tired of loosing birds, and it bothered me that I was unable to keep them safe from harm.
    So I did what I did and have no regrets, nor have I lost a single bird to predation since I did this in 2007.
     
  6. Bee

    Bee Active Member

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    I live in the same kind of predator haven and free range without confinement and have only lost one bird to an owl(she wouldn't roost in the coop at night but high in the barn rafters) since 2007. I've free ranged DP birds and many, many CX~slow when older and not prone to survival skills.

    Just left the dogs out and confined via a wireless electric fence in the chicken's territory and that's it. No complicated fencing, no rotational foraging schedules, no fences within fences, nada.

    Each person seems to think they have more numerous and more ferocious predators at their place than do other people, for some reason, and that free ranging would be nigh impossible or very, very complicated but it's just not the case.

    I know your system works well for you and if you love it, that's lovely! But, when you put it out on a public forum you are bound to get opinions about it that you will not like, same as everyone else does.

    To me, it sounds overly complicated and fussy. The dog doesn't have to bark all the time...how do you keep him from barking in the house? Tell him to stop. Same with outside..you get to learn a real bark from an entertainment bark and you train him to shut it on the entertainment barking. And it helps if you have two dogs so they feel more secure against heavy predators...if they are insecure, they will bark less if they have a partner.
     
  7. ricepaddydaddy

    ricepaddydaddy Member

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    Actually we have 5 dogs at the moment. We have had as many as 7. All rescues, as are our horses. The last 2 dogs were on death row, to be put down the very day we got the call.
    And we are happy with our set up, and that's all that matters, right?
     
  8. Bee

    Bee Active Member

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    It IS all that matters, at the bottom of things! :)
     
  9. juiceasorus

    juiceasorus New Member

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    I have installed a security camera on the perimeter of the fenced area and love it! There was a fishercat catching my girls so we set out a trap and put a camera to see what was happening , caught ot the next day the little bugger! Let him go about 6 towns over so now all is good! the trap was reset every time we caught something this is what we caught in a week (none of them were killed)

    2 raccoons

    2possums

    2fishercats

    Can you believe that all in the ma area!
     
  10. TheLazyL

    TheLazyL Member

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    Thank you.

    I wondered where that fishercat came from that was killing my chickens..:confused: