Poultry Pages Newsletter March 2012
Hi Chicken Arks
Spring has Sprung, the birds are mating and here they are also getting used to their new confinement in permanent runs to stop them getting to the newly laid lawn! After 4 years of them having pretty much the entire garden (and having demolished it in the process) I have had to reclaim a large chunk for the baby and us to relax in and this is much to the annoyance of the OAPs in particular! You can see more on my blog http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=5e.7g&m=3ZUphHcOlnn2EST&b=vHUO3BioEr5NKopJ7Pme2g
This is the perfect time of year to make a chicken or duck run or to check over and reinforce any existing runs you have in place. Mr & Mrs Fox are always hungry in Spring and keeping your girls safe, whether that be in a fox proof run or keeping strict lock up times, is as important as helping those Spring Chicks out of their shells in the coming weeks.
The new chicken run here is designed to keep the chickens out of the garden and not to prevent the fox getting into them and this makes a big difference on how it was built. Since I work from home and the girls are let out after 9am and always locked up before dusk I take a risk with foxes that although they may come during the day, the only attacks I have had was when I was late putting them to bed and dusk had fallen, it is far less likely to happen when people are around and dawn and dusk risk times are avoided. The ducks have a stronger run and this is due to them not being able to fly during the day if attacked – the chickens can all get into branches of trees and higher positions is panicked – and they are more vulnerable to fox attacks as a result.
It has meant that we were able to use up all the various rolls of weld mesh and chicken wire that were lying around the shed and although a little higgledy-piggledy in its construction it is doing the job. The ex-barns girls have of course been scaling the perimeter fences like the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park looking for weaknesses, but as of yet they have not ascertained their escape route!
Fox & Predator Proof Runs
If you want to keep the fox or other predators out you need to make sure a run is made with a stronger gauge weld mesh. It is considered that 16 gauge is fox proof, although ideally 14 or 12 gauge should be used as a fox will not be able to chew through this and the thickness of the mesh will give the run extra structural support. It is advisable to cover the top of the run with mesh as well. This is to keep predators out as foxes, mink and other predators can easily climb and get into an uncovered run.
Mesh comes in various lengths of roll and hole size. If you want to keep vermin out of the run you will need 1inch square or smaller holes. If vermin is not a concern you could use up to 2 inch square hole size – greater than 2.5 inch square and a predator may be able to gain access to the run. Roll lengths vary, although most rolls are either 25m or 30m long. Check the length of the roll when buying. It’s a good idea to double run the mesh on the bottom of a run to make sure it is fully predator proof.
Make sure any panels are bolted together securely and dig the mesh down into the ground at least 18 inches in an “L” shape to prevent to predator digging under into the run. Hopefully with strong mesh dug down deep and a covered run your birds will be safe and sound. For more on Fox proofing your garden and housing we have many articles on the main Poultry Site http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=5e.7g&m=3ZUphHcOlnn2EST&b=zXcVnLGADbIBqJpOWoBWag that will help.
I’ve really enjoyed writing my Newsletter the past two years, but as I am now very close to popping with the little chick in my belly I am handing the reigns over to resident Poultry Expert Joy (Joyfull) from our forums http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=5e.7g&m=3ZUphHcOlnn2EST&b=HE3QtLkpHOBddFG6CKF_2A who as of next month will be keeping you entertained in her new Newsletter.
Good luck to all of those who are hatching this spring and to those who are just starting in their adventures of keeping poultry in the back garden.
Thanks for reading,
The Poultry Pages, Fron Dirion, Clogwyn Melyn, Penygroes, Gwynedd, LL54 6PT, UK
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