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October 5, 2010
She seems to eat, and I don't see any pushing around. I am going to pick up a bigger feeder tomorrow, for them and also I am going away for a while and that way hubby doesn't have to worry about that so much. I am wondering if they also goofed up and sent me a banty. Chicks have been outside since Friday during the day while I am home. Hubby needs to finish the last little bit of fencing that we are putting smaller gauge fencing along the bottom an it goes out a bout 16" and putting heavy rocks so it would be hard for a animal to dig under. Too many stumps to bury the fencing into the ground. Some day I will post the project from start to finish. I need hubby's help with that.
November 9, 2010
We made our fencing just out of some reclaimed (FREE) chain link fencing, it has been great!!! The only thing is that when we put all of the "babies" in I didnt think they were so little that they could slip through…OH they can! But it has been nice becuase when the older ones were messing with the younger they would escape through the chain and the others were stuck…hehe it was kind of funny watching it because some of the olders were so set on "getting" the younger that they would hit the fence…many moments of laughter there!
October 5, 2010
Funny!!!!!!!! yes the small dominque could fit through the fence when I scared at first before hubby put the other fencing around the bottom. She was not happy being away from the others. I had another my silver spangle hamburg fit through when I tried to get them in when it was pouring out on Saturday, They wouldn't go back inside they just all huddled together, So I was trying to get them in. I mean it was really pouring, I was not happy when she got out. I chase her all over the out side fence area. Finally open the main door to the coop and she heard the others and jump in. I was so mad and so very wet. Hubby enjoyed watching that… Hubby says they would be fine, I am like read a book it says they can't get soak or they could get sick. I turned the heat lamp on them to dry them off. It is going to be interesting when I am away. I am going to worry about them the whole time. I know hubby will take care of them but I know not like I do. I am taking my dad to Alaska next Monday night and will be back on the 26, I am going to miss them terribly. I know some of you are like they are only chickens, but that's me I get attach to all my animals. I joke around that I would have to bring Penny with me. I don't know if my brother and his wife would like that too much…
November 9, 2010
OK I have a question for all…I have 20 chickens, I know for sure that 2 are roos, the others are up in the air. I know that one of the babies is a roo also, just by its attitude. What is a good average for hens to roos? I know that I dont Need a rooster but I do hatch out my own chicks and I like the thought of having the extra security for the girls.
February 10, 2009
One rooster for twenty hens would probably be enough to have most of your eggs be fertile. That's the standard general number… One to Twenty. Two would be fine if they get along well, they can work this out as long as neither is overly aggressive, or probably more importantly, one knows when to back down. I've never had a real problem with roos not being able to work things out and I'd probably go with two. Three might be, -probably is- too many, but it's not impossible for it to work. It might be a bit hard on the hens though, that third one is going to be sneaking around trying to visit as many of the hens as he can when the alpha isn't paying attention. I've heard of it working fine though and at least you'll have a spare then because if you have predators, the rooster is usually the one to get picked off first.
Not sure this is enough help. A lot depends on if they'll be free ranging or not. Lots of room means they'll break out into little mini harems and spread out enough that there will be little or even no friction. If they're going to be in a small enclosure, or in fairly close quarters, you really probably want just one.
May 14, 2005
I'm not sure how many chickens I have right now, but probably 30ish? I have about half a dozen roosters in that number. They're all free-ranging. As Deb said, if the chickens have plenty of room, they do break out in groups. The more space you have, the better, with roosters. Plenty of hens to go around and plenty of space to not be in each other's beaks, so to speak, and they do fine with multiple roosters.
October 5, 2010
What kind of fencing do you all have around your chicken runs. Hubby is pretty sure he saw a fox on top of the chicken run. I read they can chew through wire. Does any one have electric fencing around theirs.. How am I to go away and not worry that a fox is going to get them. The fence in pretty heavy metal and we have smaller fencing going straight out about 12- 16 " and then have rocks on top of that. We do know that it is note small enough for a mink to get through. I don't know if we have them around here.
November 9, 2010
I have just the regular chain link like what you would see for someones back yard. We dont have the problems with fox and mink here…at least that I know of. I am honestly not sure what to recomend in that area…
February 10, 2009
Mine free range and I don't have a pen, BUT I can tell you that building a real fort knox pen is not easy. Chicken wire, (the traditional hex shaped wire) will ONLY keep chickens in, it will NOT keep many predators out. I have to say that my two top wanna-be predators are raccoons and neighbor dogs. MY dog keeps most neighborhood dogs away, and absolutely HATES raccoons, as do I, they're much too clever. He's treed numerous of them and killed a couple.
OK, if I could build my dream pen, it would be as large as I could make it and still allow for fencing over the top. So possibly long and about 8 to maybe 10 feet wide. (this is assuming I somehow magically acquired flat land and a ton of money)
Best pen I ever saw was made out of heavy pipe, that black steel kind, that went up and over top to support heavy wire over top too.
I'd put smallish box welded wire fencing, probably the smallest you can find has about 2" by 4" openings over the whole thing, up and over top too. I'd make sure that the edges of the fence met at the pipes and they were fastened down tightly to the pipes ever few inches so the gaps would be nearly non-existent. This would mean planning for how wide the fencing you can get is… (keep in mind planning around here isn't always the best.)
The ends would be buried a few inches along the bottom and then come out flat around the enclosure in an apron, so anything trying to dig down under it would come to the wire flat out along the base.
Around the base I'd then put very small opening hardware cloth ( 1/2 inch max openings, the 1/2 by 1/4 inch is nicer. 1/4 by 1/4 is out there too though) over top of the welded wire at the base, (18 to 24 inches, or whatever height the hardware cloth comes in) so raccoons can't reach in and 'grab' parts of hens through the wire and rip legs, heads or wings off of them. (yes, they'll do this. Did I mention I HATE raccoons?)
All this would be very expensive and difficult. Since I can't do any of this, I live on very rocky hilly ground, what would be called a hollow in WV. (ok probably a holler, no offense intended, it's just a fact folks and I embrace my life in my holler, but it's tiring sometimes… I just got done carrying 100# of chicken feed and 50# of scratch down that switchback trail)
Anyway, since I can't really do any of this for many reasons, my chickens are locked up tight in their very secure coop every night, and run loose all day so they can escape most predators that might somehow get past my dog or the roosters.
If your COOP is very secure, ALL openings are covered with small mesh hardware cloth, and they are locked up safely at dusk every night your chickens will be ok.
If I had flatter land and was going for a happy medium of a pen, I'd still go for the smallish welded wire fencing, as high as is reasonable for you (72" is available and nice if you can). This is strong enough to keep neighborhood dogs from crashing the party. Dogs really are probably the biggest 'predator'. What starts out as curious, playful dogs who then get into a killing frenzy when they get into a weak pen. It's VERY ugly, they just start grabbing, shaking and grabbing more.
If you are afraid of hawks, then some netting over the top. Then lock them up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT AT DUSK, as soon as possible when they go in to roost. I've still caught raccoons IN the coop at dusk before I got my dog though.
October 5, 2010
Sounds like that is like we did that you would like to do someday. Here is the pics of the 2 fencing we used. We have metal fence post in the ground and then Hubby bought steel electrical pipes and had a guy at his work bend them down and they fit right over the top of the post. then we covered all sides and top with this bigger fencing shown here which is a 12 gauge wire , and then the bottom we laid the smaller 16 gauge fencing also shown here on the ground and come up the sides some. I do want to to cover the whole thing with the smaller fencing to make sure coons or mink can't get in. the fencing that lays on the ground we put big rocks on top of that. We also put hardware cloth over the window so if any thing tried to rip the screen they still can't get in cause of the hardware cloth over that. Yes this coop has cost a lot of money. I can't believe how much things keep costing me. I do have a dog but she is a inside dog at night. She can go in an out during the day but at night she needs to go out on her tie out. I am afraid of coyotes getting her. I had one dog killed by coyotes day before my wedding day. Nothing can get in the coop unless I forget to close them up at night. I will take pics of the coop an the run and have hubby help me post them.
October 31, 2010
I've had my 6, 17 week olds in a 20x20 run with attached hen house (10x12) for quite some time. This sits in a 2 acre lot that eventually I want them to be able to range. However, while they are still young, I want to protect them from hawks and neighborhood dogs etc.
So…I got some electronet and put it up about 1.5 weeks ago so they could at least have a larger area to run while I'm home.
First time out they all ran out hopping and skipping and jumping and one immediately flew over. Herd everyone back into the 20x20, let down a section of net and herd in the flier. Release them all again. I go into the house for about 1/2 hour, come back out and a different one is on the other side obviously in distress. They've all run into the 20x20 run again and the outsider is looking in…they're all making pitiful noises. Try to herd the outsider to the gate and she finally gives up and lets me pick her up and put her back in. Enough for day 1.
After that, they're all terrified to go out into the net. They all congregate in a corner as far away from the outside gate as possible. I finally started locking them out there (!) in the late day when there is shade, but they don't usually go on their own accord. I've given them the open gate opportunity for the last 1.5 week and still I have to "make" them go – or sit out there with them so they want to come to where I am – or they will stay in the 20x20.
They stick their heads through and eat the nice grass on the other side…
So….do I just let them be dumb and hope they'll figure it out on their own? Do I keep locking them out?
I was hoping they'd learn some foraging skills and give the grass in the 20x20 a chance to rejuvenate…so much for pastured free-ranging!
February 10, 2009
Leave em alone and they'll figure it out. It sounds like they are happy to be outside so let em stay in the little section until they going into the coop on their own in the evening reliably. Once they are doing that, consistently, I'd probably just let em be loose without the outer net. That's just me though. They really may be kinda stupid, but the also really have some good instincts even if they don't reason worth a hoot.
October 5, 2010
My neighbor has this thing she made like a hoop house that is portable with bird netting around it. We made something simpler to protect our blue berries it is made out of plumbing pvc pipes and bird netting. She can move it around really easy for it is real light, but confined her chickens. She only does this when she is home and outside with them.
I let mine out last Sunday they are 8 weeks old. They stayed around the coop area. I was out or hubby was out during the day. After I wanted to be inside we herd them all back in. Will let them out hopefully this weekend again.
April 8, 2010
Hi-My son's mother in law lets her birds out while she works in the yard. They seems to know it is OK to be out when she is there. She does not have trouble getting them to go back in the pen when she needs to go inside. I guess they got trained that way.
We can let ours out and about. When it starts to get dark they hustle back into the coop. We have 1 inch square welded wire over the screens on our hen house so we can leave the windows open for ventilation.
If we want to let the birds out of the coop without running free, there is a chain link run with chain link panels on the top too. In hot weather we drape shade cloth over the run.
October 31, 2010
JL – My 20x20 is like you describe – chain link with wire top and shade cloth over part of it. That's the part that they have been in since they were 6 weeks old.
They know their place and go in at night…just too afraid to leave that 20x20 for the bigger area!
I want them to have the whole run of the 2 acres, but I am concerned about hawks since they're still young thus the overhead protection. I got the electro net as we occasionally have stray neighbor dogs that I'm sure would LOVE to "play" with the chickens. The dogs only get out on occasion but it would only take one occasion to wipe out my whole flock of 6!
How old do they need to be – in everyone's opinion – for the hawk issue to not be as big a concern?
February 10, 2009
I was really amazed at how quickly mine start to look up if a shadow passes over them, and how they run to hide under a bush or some other cover. I live in a woodsy area that hawks don't spend much time in… they like open spaces mostly, but I've had a few sitting in this one tree looking over the open part of the yard, considering how they're going to get a free lunch… luckily, my hens know how to run for cover, and no one taught them. I'm sorry but I really don't know how old they were, but it was surprisingly young.
If you have some bushes, picnic tables, shrubs, a piece of plywood leaning against a wheelbarrow (don't ask, I claim it's 'chicken cover' so I don't have to move it again… and it IS. It does need to get moved anyway) Your chickens will run under these things anytime they feel threatened.
I'd love a nice secure pen to keep them in for when I'm away for very long, but really, they do just fine without. It would matter a whole lot more if we had close neighbors or a lot of dogs around. I'm very thankful my dog learned quickly that I hate raccoons and opossums and that it's ok to chase and even kill them. I'm SUPER thankful that he also learned that cats and chickens are "ours" and shouldn't be chased or killed, he did run off on a little neighborhood jaunt the other day and the neighbor who was on her way back here with him on a leash said her cats all think he's pretty nice. This is a lesson that you really can't teach if they aren't willing to pay attention to how you treat the other animals. He also growls and semi-chases at all large birds, crows, ravens, buzzards etc, I need to teach him to identify hawks! I guess he knows I don't like hawks! A good dog is an amazing thing, dogs that aren't very chicken friendly just need to be managed more carefully and with some careful leash training may be able to become at least chicken tolerant.
October 31, 2010
When I got chicks this spring I wanted to start out small and learn with a few…then decide if I wanted more.
In retrospect, I wish I had started with more for several reasons. One is that if you have more chickens, a preditor hit isn't as devestating. Since I only have 6 I feel like I have to be more protective as they could all be wiped out in one hit!
I did get breeds that tend to be better at foraging, cold weather hardy, etc.
On the hawks – the "chicken children" are housed in an open pasture that has one of the large electric towers sitting in it. Hawks often sit on that tower (for many years now) to look over the pasture. I saw some earlier this spring, but haven't seen them lately and there are more "crows" or "blackbirds" (I think those are the same?) hanging out.
They do seem to be aware of what's overhead which is good. They're just young yet.
They definitely feel more secure in that chain link fence run but I still think that's because of their bad first experience out there and a couple getting stuck on the outside!
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