New run and security

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chickenfan
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New run and security

Post by chickenfan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:49 pm

I've just built a new 60 m run for my birds on my allotment. It is 6ft high 2" weldmesh. I'm wondering whether an anti-dig skirt will be safe enough, or whether two rows of electric wire along the bottom would be much safer? The plot backs onto woodland and is within a couple of meters of a stream on Dartmoor. I perhaps need to worry about stoats/mink/polecats as well as foxes?
3441sussex
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Re: New run and security

Post by 3441sussex » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:50 pm

chickenfan wrote:I've just built a new 60 m run for my birds on my allotment. It is 6ft high 2" weldmesh.
I would have thought it would have been more effective to have used 1 inch or less weldmesh as I think 2 inch will only keep the larger of your local predators out ie foxes. If it was my run I would have built a 1 inch weldmesh cage so nothing could climb up the sides and over the top and use 2 strands of electric wire around the perimeter. As it is I am not sure how you are going to keep the smaller predators from either climbing or squeezing through the mesh. Perhaps an electric poultry fence instead of 2 strands of wire around the perimeter would work. I use electric poultry fences and have never lost any chicken to predators.
chickenfan
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Re: New run and security

Post by chickenfan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:54 pm

How much do you worry about other predators Sussex? Would they not just run up and down the mesh anyway, whatever size the hole? (half inch seems to be the smallest available - I could put this along the bottom). Thanks - interesting your electric fencing has proved trustworthy.
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Marigold
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Re: New run and security

Post by Marigold » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:54 pm

Your new run sounds wonderful - how many are you planning to keep in it? I agree that a smaller mesh size would exclude, not only smaller predators such as rats and mice and stoats, but also wild birds which could get through 2" mesh, pollute the water, steal the food and introduce red mite from their feathers. Might it be possible to cover at least the bottom of the sides with cheaper, thinner, small-sized chicken wire, relying on the weldmesh for strength but preventing small animals and birds from walking in?
I would be more concerned about the top of the run, as foxes can climb a 6ft side and get in from above, wherever you do at the base, if it's left uncovered. Also of course any kind of bird can get in at the top, though with a lovely big run like you have built I don't know if covering it would be practical. When you say 60 metres, do you mean 60 sq. metres, or is that the length?
Are you going to divide it so the hens use one part at a time? Any chance of making it Fort Knox at one end, for when you shut them up last thing at night and early in the morning? Maybe you could roof part of it to provide extra shelter and a dry area for them?
Are there likely to be any problems with your neighbours on the plots if you do instal effective electric fencing as a backup? It would be good against two-legged predators as well as foxes, though, wouldn't it?
3441sussex
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Re: New run and security

Post by 3441sussex » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:19 pm

chickenfan wrote:How much do you worry about other predators Sussex? Would they not just run up and down the mesh anyway, whatever size the hole? (half inch seems to be the smallest available - I could put this along the bottom). Thanks - interesting your electric fencing has proved trustworthy.
If I was building a weldmesh run I would not build it without a roof or an electric fence to stop predators burrowing under it. The electrified poultry netting works well as a deterrent as long as it is kept taut and the battery is changed as soon as the red light flashes. I have never shut my chicken in at night and have never lost any to predators. We know we have foxes and mink along the river bank in the field beside the run.
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chrismahon
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Re: New run and security

Post by chrismahon » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:32 am

The thing about the other predators is they only kill one chicken at a time Chickenfan. A UK fox will kill them all and eat one. Over here the foxes hunt in packs just like wolves- we hear them calling to each other. When they attack chickens they take them all, leaving just a few feathers as evidence. Flocks of up to 20 have just disappeared overnight (and here you can rule out theft as a possibility). There is no such thing as an urban fox here so any kind of man-made structure the foxes avoid. Poultry keepers generally have a good dog and multi-strand electric fencing just 2 feet high is sufficient. The big danger here is wild boar which can grow up to 400Kg -they will pass through chicken wire without noticing.

I would add finer mesh at the bottom as a precaution but most important is the electric lines top and bottom and use the mesh as the ground circuit. 2" weld mesh is easily climbed. Our temporary enclosure is 25mm chicken mesh hung loosely from tensioned wires. Nothing can climb a wobbly mesh fence although the neighbours cat has tried and fallen off many times! We have a poultry net outside that, simply to keep the neighbours cockerel and Mycoplasma infected flock away.
chickenfan
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Re: New run and security

Post by chickenfan » Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:16 pm

Thank you so much for your really helpful feedback everyone. The plot is a 60 m length of strong galvanised mesh (sorry not the rigid weldmesh) that goes around my whole allotment. I am allowed 6 hens. They will have the whole plot in the winter, and half of it in the summer so I can grow things. I will attach small-holed chcken mesh around the bottom as you suggest, if the potential stoats, mink etc can't run up that. Would it be strong enough as an anti-dig skirt?

I'm a bit nervous about getting an electric fence to work. I guess I need 2-3 strands along the bottom to prevent climbing. If its strong enough for a fox, it might unfortunately damage a mink (the stream is on the outside of the run). Does anyone know the height the first strand should go? Does it definitely need one at the top as well?

I guess if I was able to build a roof on such a large area, this could be cheap chcken wire?

Many thanks again for the suggestions. It sounds almost as wild as Africa where you are Chris!
3441sussex
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Re: New run and security

Post by 3441sussex » Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:49 pm

chickenfan wrote:
I'm a bit nervous about getting an electric fence to work. I guess I need 2-3 strands along the bottom to prevent climbing. If its strong enough for a fox, it might unfortunately damage a mink (the stream is on the outside of the run).
The electric fence will not damage a mink. I have had neighbours' dogs (including a border terrier puppy) touch my fence, once they have experienced the shock they don't go near it again! You will need to keep the vegetation clear of the wires. I think the first wire should be about 5 or 6 inches above the ground.
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Marigold
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Re: New run and security

Post by Marigold » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:29 pm

Why would it be unfortunate to damage a mink? I thought they were an introduced pest species, and certainly would have no compunction about killing your chickens!
What length sides have you made from your 60m. roll of mesh? Total floor area in m.sq. will depend on how it's arranged, though it will be generous for 6 hens anyway. How is it fixed into the ground, and what sort of posts have you used? Will there be a dry sheltered area at all?
I would think security is even more important on an allotment, where you are presumably not able to oversee things as often as on your own property. You might consider getting 12 sq. metres covered and secure, for the winter, then gradually add more area as and when you feel it's safe and appropriate?
3441sussex
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Re: New run and security

Post by 3441sussex » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:57 pm

I am confused. Do you mean that your allotment is 60 metres long or have you made a run out of a 60 metre roll of mesh? In any case I agree with Marigold and think it would be advisable to secure a smaller area of the run in the first instance. Do other people keep chicken on the allotment? If so, perhaps you could ask them about their experiences on security (of equipment and livestock) and predators?
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