...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


more chicken security

Lately we've been seeing areas around the chicken run that concerned us...
We had seen some holes of burrowing creatures...
(probably chipmunks or voles, but who knows what else could burrow under...!)

We had seen areas that had been scratched at, 
and while the most likely culprits were the chickens themselves, 
just in case it was anything else
we wanted to feel confident about their safety when they're in their run.

Given our predator problems this year, we definitely didn't want to take any chances.

So this weekend, we got to work.
We've wanted to do this for quite some time, 
and thankfully we didn't wait for something awful to happen.

Having been on the other end of the predator cycle,
it feels infinitely better to be proactive
than to have to increase security after the fact!

There are predators that can dig and predators that can burrow,
so the latest project was covering the entire floor of their run 
in 1/2" welded wire mesh, aka "hardware cloth."

It was a big under-taking, but we managed to do it in a day!
Boo got out the shovel, and shoveled out the whole 9' x 16' run.
It was tricky because we had to work around several things, 
like the girls dirt bath "spa"
and several perching posts, a super heavy nesting box, etc.

We did everything in sections. 
When we finished an area, Boo would spread mulch back on it.
so the girls would have something to scratch at,
and mulch looks a whole lot better than a bunch of wire anyway.  

FYI:  this would have been way easier if we had done it when we had built the run!
This area, the dirt spa, was the trickiest, 
but we just wrapped wire around the lower logs and stapled it well,
same on the other side, as well.


It didn't take many tools to do this project.  

Some wire cutters.
A mallet.
A hammer.
A staple gun.
A whole bunch of staples.
And some 6" ground staples to overlap the wire rolls
 and to pin them down securely in the ground.

We were super cautious with the wire and the poky bits 
because we didn't want the girls to hurt their feet on the wire.
(They can get a nasty infection called bumblefoot if their feet get cut).


The girls and Emmaline loved having us in their area all day!
They kept us company and watched us with their typical chicken curiosity.

Emmaline 2.0 has turned out to be a great rooster so far,
and he's a beautiful guy.
We're really happy with him.
He doesn't bother the big girls (because they chase him off!)

And get this -- he doesn't even crow!  
He tried crowing a few mornings over a month ago, 
but I think the big girls didn't like it... and they shushed him right up.

Since then, no more crows.  Not even any attempts.
Knock on some wood, because right now we have a gentle, quiet rooster!
We hope it stays that way!


By the end of the day,
we put everything back together in the run,
and the girls were happy as could be.

And so are we! 

Now we have another layer of protection,
and another level of peace of mind.

The cooler months are going to be upon us before we know it, 
and predators will be more hungry.

The run looks the same as it did this morning on the outside,
but it's so much safer.

   In the winter, the girls will mostly stay in their coop and venture out into the run now and then,
so it's every bit as important to have the run be as safe as the outside perimeter fence.

Commie thanked us for the heightened security,
because she can't bear to lose any more of her babies.
She continues to be such a great Mamma...
She loves those wacky girls of hers!

left to right:  Xena, and Louise "Weezy" and Thelma.


We definitely have the highest security of any chicken keeper we know,
and while some people think it's over the top and crazy,
well, I guess we're just crazy over-the-top ladies.
And that's fine by me.

We have
- very serious double-fencing around the perimeter, 
overlapping the ground and anchored down securely
- aerial netting over the 90'x90' yard
- the now "should-be-dig-proof" fully caged run
- multiple safety latches on every access point of the yard, run, and coop...

All of this work (and expense!) 
for our 15 assorted size hens
and our one quiet little rooster...

That's right.

The only thing we haven't done yet 
is electrify the exterior perimeter to deter climbing and digging from the outside...
And yep, you guessed it... that's next on our dockett!

Not long after we installed the aerial netting,
we saw a fox get into the yard,
and found where it had climbed the fence 
and then ate or clawed through the edge of the aerial netting...
(Granted, this was before we patched some slightly iffy areas in our perimeter fence, too...)

(At any rate, that day the fox came, the girls were all secure inside their run 
because we're now in the habit of not letting them out until at least 9am).
We spotted the fox because the girls started to make a ruckus,
and the fox didn't have time to try to dig his/her way into the run).
By the time I got my .22, the fox was gone.

But that fox break-in certainly didn't make us feel very good,
So it's high time for us to get some serious voltage going around the perimeter
to let the fox family know we mean business.
Because we totally do. 

 Don't mess with these ladies, Foxy Loxy.
Don't even think about it!


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