Living Center Oregon

Sustainable Living Center Oregon

Protect Your Flock

protect-chickens-from-predators

When we keep chickens, we are providing an all-you-can-eat buffet for a predator.  Life is tough. Predators got to find a food source and then use all their tools to catch that food  Hunger is never far away and your chickens are their grocery store.

There are at least two ways to protect your flock.

  1. The Hobbit Dome is the easiest and least expensive way to protect your flock

    1_domeThe Hobbit Dome is the chicken’s day time play pen.  It is 10 feet wide and 5 feet high. The Hobbit Dome is light and can be lifted comfortably by one person.  It is made from twenty (22) ½“electric PVC pipes and covered with 1” chicken wire on the bottom.  That stops your neighbor’s dogs.  Deer netting on the top will stop birds of prey.   It is composed of long, curving struts which crisscross and are anchored to a base.  This means all the joins are around the circular base at equidistant points, which again distributes the stress and makes for a very strong yet flexible light structure.

    The Hobbit Dome is not designed for night time protection.  Night time protection of our chickens is provided with oura Chicken Cube, which is a different subject.  The grass pasture available within the Hobbit Dome is 71 sq ft has the effect of letting the chickens free range during the day with protection.  That is enough space in the Hobbit Dome for the chickens to find what they required to produce orange yolk eggs.

    How the Hobbit Dome is used

    0_new_chickens_350You continue to use your regular chicken coop for night time protection.   Before the chickens are let out of the coop in the morning, one moves the Hobbit Dome to new grass pasture, if needed.

    The Hobbit Dome comes with a no waste chicken feeder and a no poop chicken water.

    When they are let out, they would immediately go to the Hobbit Dome to get feed and water and the Hobbit door is secure after they are in the Hobbit house.  Therefore, they are protection all day with a fresh supply of grass pasture.

    No Waste Chicken Feeder

    1_RodentIn side the Hobbit Dome is the No Waste Chicken Feeder.  This Feeder completely eliminates feed mess and waste and also keeps food dry in the rain. A 4-gallon model, (with with a lid or without a lid) takes up as much space as a large chicken.

    First thing you need is a 4-gallon bucket. Next you need 3″ PVC elbow and a 3-1/2″ hole saw. Cut the end of the elbow and then figure out where the hole in the bucket should be so that when you stick the cut end into the bucket it’s about 3/4″ off the bottom. Silicone around inside and out, put the top on the bucket and you’re set!

    You see the chicken’s head, inside is an 90 degree elbow bending downward, like an L that tipped forward. It is up off the bottom and the food runs around this and it keeps the food back from the hole. The chicken then sticks it’s head in to reach to the back and get the food.

    The Feeder eliminates the cleaning of feeder, no more “poop in the feed.” It is ideal sized and it keeps feed available at all times even when raining. Holds approximately 10 -15 lbs. of feed.

    No Poop Waterers

    water_2-_300Horizontal watering nipples are designed for birds eight days old and up.   What sets them apart: they don’t drip, and, because no water is stored in the nipple unit even when your bucket or drinker is full of water, they won’t freeze during the winter.

    You may place your chosen waterer on the ground, rather than hang it the coops or runs that can’t accommodate the weight of hanging systems.

    The high-density plastic and won’t break on installation, It is recommended to screw the nipples in 80%, they do not need to have the flange secured flush with the bucket.
    To get chickens started using the nipples we suggest tapping on each nipple so that water fills the reservoir which chicken’s will see and they will drink.  They will then peck at the stainless steel pin which will release more water.  If chickens have a difficult time figuring it out we suggest putting any kind of sweet jam, jelly or a dried cranberry onto the nipples.

Besides providing basic care for your flock, protecting chickens from predators tops the must-DO list for a chicken keeper.

That’s also the crucial point to remember when protecting chickens from predators. Yes, you’ve put out the all-you-can-eat buffet, but you don’t have to make it easy to belly up to that buffet. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you keep your flock safe.

A Permanent Chicken Run

pro_chick wire _welded wireUse 1/2-inch hardware cloth to secure openings in your coop. Hardware cloth is welded wire. It’s sturdy and not easily ripped open, unlike chicken wire which is not predator-proof. Make sure even the smallest of holes are secured.

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If you find weasels killing chickens, check for mouse and rodent tunnels. groundWeasels like to use those tunnels to gain entry to the chicken run. Be sure to bury your hardware cloth at least six inches down into the ground and a foot out horizontally from the coop. This will stop digging predators. Even if you have windows with screens in your coop, make sure to add the welded wire too. Screens help keep the bugs out. Hardware cloth keeps the predators out.

Know your predators

DO know what predators are in your area? If you’re new to the area, you may want to check with your neighbors or the local extension agency to find a list of local culprits. Many predators, such as raccoons and foxes, can be found nationwide, but others are more local and may require some extra protection to keep them at bay.

DO change up your protection techniques on a regular basis. Predators are smart and they get used to routines and things that stay in place for a long time. For example, if you’ve got a scarecrow in the yard, move it to a different place every few days.

prodetor_300DO try to identify a culprit if you lose a chicken. “What killed my chicken?” is a common question when someone suffers a loss. It may not seem immediately important since the deed has already been done, but it can be one of the most important questions asked. Protection techniques can vary from predator to predator. So, if you know what caused your loss, you can better protect the remaining flock members.

DO know your local and national laws. When you’re protecting your chickens from predators, you don’t want to run into legal troubles. While there are no-kill traps at your local farm store, many localities do not allow folks to trap and release. Directly killing a predator may or may not be allowed in your area and may vary from species to species. Plus, birds of prey are a protected species. It is illegal to harm them in any way. When figuring out how to protect chickens from hawks, methods must be proactive and not lethal.

DO embrace technology. Yes, we chicken keepers are a hardy sort, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use some extra help. Things like automatic chicken coop doors with built-in predator motion detection that can send you email alerts, night guard solar lights, and wildlife cameras can make all the difference.

 

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2017 by .