Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fox proofing our chook house

After having trouble with those dreaded foxes stealing our chooks for a feast, we decided to take effective measures to ensure it does not happen again.


This is hubby digging a trench all the way around the chookpen. He dug about 2.5 ft down and then placed corrugated iron in the hole and up the sides and filled the hole in. This way if the foxes tried to dig in, they couldn't. He is getting plenty of help from our girls.

This is the chook pen now which has been fully enclosed. There is shade cloth on the roof to keep the pen a bit cooler on hot days. The tin around the bottom is sunken in the ground. Even in front of the door, pavers have been laid so no digging in there either.


The guillotine style trap door rigged up to the front post with plastic coated cord for opening and closing. This was made to keep pigeons and spoggies (sparrows) out from eating the grain. Doesn't work, they still manage to get in, but at least there aren't as many.



A sideways view of the tin around the bottom of pen. This is dug into the ground.



What are you doing they ask, where's our scraps?



Side view.



Since taking these drastic measures we have not lost any chooks.




There is nothing more heartbreaking than going out in the morning and finding your friends eaten or mauled. One fox, I think may have been a mother and her cubs, went on a killing spree and we had dead chooks lying everywhere.
Keeping the chooks cool is done by a sprinkler set up under the shady trees in their yard. They tend to dig in the dirt there the most when it is really hot. We just turn the sprinkler on for a few minutes in the middle of the day. No chooks have died of the hot weather yet.



We are lucky enough at the moment to get our grain for free from my dad. He plants crops with the old equipment from the Yesteryear club and keeps the screenings for the chooks. I do find it hard to find enough green for them though. They live on silverbeet that we grow, some lettuce leaves that we collect from the supermarket and food scraps.





Until next time,



x Tania

13 comments:

  1. It gives me lots to think about if I am to use my bird cage as a chook pen. I hadn't thought about the digging, must ask dh what it is like at the bottom.

    I thought to grow comfrey near the cage as I read it in one of those magazines. It nearly looks after itself and some leaves grow into the pen and they eat them off.

    My husband is digging a trench today along the side of our new house for drainage. We had soaked a tree and the water got in under the house, he was to be working under there today.

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  2. Yes the foxes can be sneeky and sly.
    We have bee lucky but we have a fox that regulars our yard.
    The older farmers around here say when they bury the wire into the grond to bend it outward and sink it??/
    Whatever or however our s is is successfulthus far.
    I too want to grow some silverbeet they apparently love it and it makes for really yellow yolks.
    The things we do for our lovely feathered friends

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  3. I don't have chooks (yet) but we do have budgies. They are in a large cage until their aviary is built. On our really hot days, I soak a towel in cold water, wring it out and drape it over the cage. And make sure its in the shade, of course. Sometimes we will spray the birds lightly from a water bottle. One isn't too keen; the other quite likes this.
    We have to look after our feathered friends!
    Your chook pens look great.

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  4. Hello Tania
    I couldn't think of anything more demoralising than to get up one morning and find that nasty scene in your backyard.

    I'm sure all that hard work will be fruitful so you don't have ot witness that again

    Take care
    Cathy

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  5. Great idea, I think when we get chickens we will try that idea to keep predators out.

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  6. Hi Tania, I really have no fox experiances here. We live in town and have no chickens or foxes as far as I know. We do have a racoon,who would come into the garage thru the cat door and eat the cat food.But Hubbie fixed that. Arn't Hubbies the handiest things to have aroung. :) So sorry about your Chooks. Great to hear from you tho. TTFN

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  7. We have had experience with foxes, too, but ours was with turkey hens. We let our hens free-range during the day time, and everyone thought that everyone else had shut the turkeys in, but when we went out there, it was the most gruesome scene that I have ever witnessed.

    A fox also killed my cat about four years ago. He was such a sound sleeper and looked like a lamb, so we think that the fox mistook him for a lamb and broke his neck.

    Foxes are awful - mean killing machines.

    We have fox proofed our chicken coops by digging a trench around them and concreting it.

    We still see evidence of foxes (scats) around, but fortunately, we keep all of our chooks and turkeys safe now.

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  8. I'm totally gutted. I awoke to the 'chook massacre' yesterday morning. All my chooks were killed; the white bantam roster I'd had for 5 years was eaten and the little chook I called "no 2" also. The other four were killed - with bite marks in their necks.
    Why do foxes kill for reasons other than to eat - it makes little sense to me. My young rooster flew the coup and escaped but is now very lonely.
    I really thought my pen was fox proof. And from 'forensic examination' of the carnage I found no tracks - which isn't surprising considering there was new hay everywhere and long grass all along the outside of the pen.
    I could not find any holes in or under the wire. The wire was placed on the ground initially and then LOTS of rocks used to hold it down. Also the fences were rickety as I was told this makes it impossible for them to climb. And there was clangy gadgets on the gates as I was told this also deters them.
    There were no feathers outside the coup - except for a few that would have been wind blown. Also I found no bones or pools of blood.
    The woman from next door who came to help me being that I was so very distraught thought that perhaps the fox jumped from a nearby grain bin over the gate. If this was so then it would have been far more difficult to make an exit.
    Really - how far can foxes jump? Other people have said that perhaps the fox escaped when I went into the coups through the opened gate.
    I'm now trying to look up the capabilities of foxes. Anyone in here have anything to add? Could it be that the carnage was down to something other than a fox?
    Thanks for listening.
    Jaahda Jinnah :-(

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm totally gutted. I awoke to the 'chook massacre' yesterday morning. All my chooks were killed; the white bantam roster I'd had for 5 years was eaten and the little chook I called "no 2" also. The other four were killed - with bite marks in their necks.
    Why do foxes kill for reasons other than to eat - it makes little sense to me. My young rooster flew the coup and escaped but is now very lonely.
    I really thought my pen was fox proof. And from 'forensic examination' of the carnage I found no tracks - which isn't surprising considering there was new hay everywhere and long grass all along the outside of the pen.
    I could not find any holes in or under the wire. The wire was placed on the ground initially and then LOTS of rocks used to hold it down. Also the fences were rickety as I was told this makes it impossible for them to climb. And there was clangy gadgets on the gates as I was told this also deters them.
    There were no feathers outside the coup - except for a few that would have been wind blown. Also I found no bones or pools of blood.
    The woman from next door who came to help me being that I was so very distraught thought that perhaps the fox jumped from a nearby grain bin over the gate. If this was so then it would have been far more difficult to make an exit.
    Really - how far can foxes jump? Other people have said that perhaps the fox escaped when I went into the coups through the opened gate.
    I'm now trying to look up the capabilities of foxes. Anyone in here have anything to add? Could it be that the carnage was down to something other than a fox?
    Thanks for listening.
    Jaahda Jinnah :-(

    ReplyDelete
  10. Suburban cook run in the corner of the yard with 2 sides palilng fence 2 sides chook wire. I've had
    2 raids in the last 6 months, heartbreaking. No sign of dig ins can only assume the little buggers are jumping the fence. Does anyone know if they can run along a fence rail. I have tree ferns in the run so its really difficult to fully enclose. Greg.

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  11. Hi Greg,

    I would presume that a fox could run along fence rails...they are very sly remember.

    They can also climb high netting fences to get in. Probably need to enclose the roof if you haven't done so already.

    We have had no trouble since our fully enclosed chook pen was built.

    Good luck,

    Tania

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  12. Thanks for posting this info, Tania. I had my own "chicken massacre" last week, and am now trying to figure out what to do to beef up the security. I had come up with a plan that's very similar to what you describe here, so I'm heartened to hear that it's working for you!

    Catch you later.

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  13. So much covered here - foxes are a genuine source of anxiety for us too and there is simply not enough we can do to prevent them dropping by.
    Great resource here, is so valuable to see all the creative solutions!

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