By Erin Huffstetler | 09/10/2014 | 2 Comments
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Last week a dog tried to dig under our chicken run to get at our hens, but he didn’t succeed. Why? Because we built our coop to keep predators out, and so far it’s worked. Here’s a look at the measures we have in place:
- We elevated our coop, to discourage rats, snakes and other egg thieves from living underneath it. In fact, we actually enclosed the underside of their coop with hardware cloth to make it usable space (it ties in with their run)
- We wrapped their run in hardware cloth, instead of chicken wire. The smaller mesh prevents raccoons from reaching in to grab our hens, and offers a bit more protection against snakes
- The floor of their run is wrapped in hardware cloth, too. It’s a completely enclosed space, top to bottom (This is what kept the dog out, but it’s just as effective against coyotes, bobcats, owls and a host of other hungry sorts)
- We keep a padlock on their run and their nest boxes. Raccoons have super dexterity, and can open slide locks and turn knobs with no trouble. This keeps them out, and it also keeps the neighborhood kids out (you don’t actually have to lock the padlocks to keep the racoons out. The sequence of having to turn the lock, and lift it out is complicated enough)
- We have motion-activated lights on the back of our house. If something enters the backyard, the lights come on to scare them off
- We keep the area around their coop neat, so there aren’t places for predators to live or lurk
- We trained our hens to return to their coop every night. Once they’re in, we lock the door to their run
- We collect eggs every day to minimize temptation
- We keep their coop and run in good condition. Damaged hardware cloth, holes in the floor or roof – they could all be an entry point for a predator, so we stay on top of maintenance
Want to see what our coop looks like and how we built it? You’ll find all of that here.