Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

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Stercutus
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Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:49 pm

.... shit just got real.

I live in one of those areas that city and town folk like to think of as "the country". They drop their problems like foxes, skunks, stray dogs and cats, deserted family pets on my road and head on out. I kill their problems that they can't settle due to cowardice and lack of moral fiber when they become my problem.

You see animals still need to eat. Some are predators and some are prey. Chicken are mostly prey to just about anything. People love keeping predators as pets. Until they don't anymore.

For a while I ran a converted barn stall as a chicken house. It was not too bad. Every once in a while something would make its way in there and I would either kill it or it would kill a chicken or two. The more I increased the security of the stall the harder things would try to get in. So far I have killed three house cats, 1 (maybe two) foxes, two possum and one dog. I have lost 11 chickens and 18 chicks. They were literally prying nailed boards out of the wall and digging over eight inches down in a tunnel to get at them.

They were winning. The chickens were that close to going out forever.

Then I made a decision to commit more resources to the fight. I had seen chicken tractors but did not trust the design. I needed a way to keep them from tunneling in and needed materiel that is impervious to prying. I looked at a picture, guestimated all the sizes, went to lows, bought some stuff and built this:

Image

Note that the chickens are all in the witness protection program and refuse to be identified.

I made a couple of important improvements that have been life saving. I covered the entire bottom with pig wire making it impossible to get in. It has not stopped them from trying:

Image

Note the tunnel and unsuccessfully pried wire.

I also made the roof out of galvanized tight wire mesh. They keep prying but they can't get in:

Image


The girls are safe.... for now.
Last edited by Stercutus on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Rev » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:56 pm

Your pictures do not work for me. :(
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:04 pm

Rev wrote:Your pictures do not work for me. :(
How about now?
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by spanningtree » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:06 pm

I'm seeing nothing.

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:11 pm

Not sure why they don't work.


http://www.thehulltruth.com/members/ala ... 00x600.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Maybe that's a hyperlink and not a direct image......thingy, the Hell I don't know about computers.

That link is to a blank page. Is your album password protected?
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:20 pm

Now?
These days of dust
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But I'll kneel down wait for now
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by spanningtree » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:21 pm

Lookin good!

Edit: You've got some tenacious critters a knocking.

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Ryder358 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:19 am

Nice chicken tractor, hope it works for you. :clap:
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Tater Raider » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:37 am

Ooo... *furiously makes notes*

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Gingerbread Man » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:47 am

Did you redact the chickens faces? :rofl:
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:16 am

Regular Guy wrote:Did you redact the chickens faces? :rofl:
You gotta protect your sources. We are thinking about getting an "operator" in there to help tend the flock and get them organized.

My son who feeds and waters them is tracking a racoon as the current culprit. He won't go to the house unarmed anymore since the last encounter.
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Benny » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:59 am

This is exactly why I put up an electric fence around our garden, and I will put one up around the chicken run as well.

Too many critters, too little time to watch over the girls, and ammo is pricey and scarce. Not to mention, I sprained my wrist pretty bad bludgeoning a possum to death a few years ago, so I don't relish the thought of getting medevial on them, either (well, OK, I DO, but I don't want to hurt my wrist again).

I will be putting up 1/4" hardware cloth over, under, and around the entire run. I'll use a combination of wood screws with fender washers and heavy-duty fencing staples to secure it, and will sandwich it between lumber where I can. I might add some of the pig fencing you show underneath, just for extra strength. And then around the entire run, I'm planning on using standoff insulators to mount electric fencing about 4" off of the run and around the coop. Extra deterrent and all.
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:19 am

I placed the access door too low for an electric fence but that is a sound concept. Just don't forget where it is.
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Wed May 07, 2014 8:22 pm

After a nearly a year on the job the house is holding up like a champ. No losses.
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by procyon » Wed May 14, 2014 5:03 am

Nice coop/tractor.
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Anomic1 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:45 am

I used a tractor last year
Image

I had to make it 3' becuase i had turkeys so the access doors had to go on the side. I think it would be far more usefull as a 2' with doors on the top so you can reach in without going in!!!

I used an apron shown here Image i have raccon, possum, hawk, owl, dog, coyote, and bear all sigted here and this held up like a champ.

I had some guineas i let free range that roosted on the outside barn rafters and lost 11 of them over the last year... Not sure what took them but we found them 200-300 yards into the woods hidden under logs and rocks. Just one left and he is very crafty!

Im going in the opposite direction of you. I found the tractor too labor intensive and am looking to move to a barn stall 9x8. I want the litter for compost and the tractor makes it impossibke to collect


Im pkaning on netting over the top using a ridge pole to keep them in, nest boxes built into the walls to keep all the floor space. Then a ramp to use the window to access an outdoor run Image


How did you find the stall worked? Im assuming everything in the barn will end up "coated".

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:41 am

How did you find the stall worked? Im assuming everything in the barn will end up "coated".
Impossible to secure against predation. Every time we would plug a hole a predator would find or make a new one. The barn itself was nearly brand new and made out of metal too.
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Will blow away with this new Son

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by manowar1313 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:19 pm

Can you or have you put thought about putting traps or poison around the run? I had a similar problem with raccoons around my dumpster, so I put up a live trap and poison.
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Fu Shen » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:18 pm

I sympathize with animal troubles.

Always interesting to read posts like this. Thanks.


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Last edited by Fu Shen on Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Wolfram » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:01 pm

So why are they called "tractors"?
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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Stercutus » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:51 pm

Fu Shen wrote:I'm a lifelong suburbanite. No concrete jungle, no county, but comfortable with my nice yard. Five years into gardening and looking at a more rural lifestyle and I've really come to appreciate what it means to actually be in nature, a part of the ecosystem. I'm not much for killing animals. All respect to hunters, anglers, and outdoorsmen, but it's not my thing. Vegetarian and all. I even escort spiders out the door when I find them in my house (earwigs and centipedes get no such treatment, though, and we're in open war with the ants). That said, having the local bunnies wipe out my blueberries while the squirrels dig up my seeds and seedlings has made me seriously consider getting an air rifle. () Starting to sound good to me.

Always interesting to read posts like this. Thanks.

Cool
Last edited by Stercutus on Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new Son

But I'll kneel down wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Fu Shen » Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:04 pm

Stercutus wrote:Yeah how about we don't discuss illegal activities here at the old ZS forum?
Fixed.

Anyway, good luck with all that.

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Re: Meanwhile, back at the Blacksmith Chicken House...

Post by Ad'lan » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:42 pm

Wolfram wrote:So why are they called "tractors"?
You can commonly see them with wheels at one or both ends.

Edit: Oh, and they'l tear up the ground, particularly if they aren't caged at the bottom. In the UK though, I always called them a coop.
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