How To Build Secure Fencing For Organic Chickens
Building Fencing For Organics Chickens - Keep Your Poultry Alive
The sustainable living movement is getting more and more popular around the country. One of the best and easiest ways to have a more sustainable lifestyle to raise your own chickens. That way you have fresh eggs and if you can do it, fresh chicken meat for your family.
Before you ever bring home your first chicken, you need to learn how to put up proper fencing for your chicken flock. Fencing is a necessity in most every case, even if you want to have free range organic chickens.
I found out the hard way that failing to fence your chicken yard and your chicken coop can result in the swift loss of a lot of your chickens! I wanted my chicken flock to free range and just assumed that they would take care of themselves.
Boy was I wrong! I allowed my girls to come and go as they pleased. They were allowed to get up when they wanted to and they put themselves to bed every night. I had never seen any racoons, foxes or any other predator so I didn't really think my chickens were in any danger. I lost quite a few chickens before I figured out what was going on and properly fenced my yard and the chicken house. While I still lose the occasional hen or rooster, it's not a regular occurrence anymore.
The other problem that I quickly learned about was how quickly my girls could decimate my garden! I learned that even if you want your them to only eat organic food, you have to keep in mind that if you have a garden or flower beds, they will be left in ruins very quickly if you don't protect them from your flock.
Chickens are pretty low maintenance birds that are a great way to provide your family with fresh eggs and poultry and they are safe to have around your kids. But they are not able to protect themselves from predators like raccoons, possums, dogs, cats, hawks, etc. If you want your flock to survive and thrive, you will have to install chicken fencing in order to protect them. It's not that hard to install fencing that will protect them even if you really have no handyman skills at all.
Simple and Affordable Chicken Run Designs
You can buy a simple and affordable chicken run to keep your chicken flock safe from predators. They are attractive and durable additions to your backyard.
This chick-n-pen is securely attached to the hutch for more living space as well as safe exercise area and free range environment. It is constructed of quality materials and superior craftsmanship. There is a full size front door as well as top panels the lift open to provide easy access to your flock anywhere. It has rustproof galvanized wire and top grade lumber. It is easy to access, clean and easy assembly with just a screwdriver Measures 62.75-inch width by 42.75-inch depth by 30-1/2-inch height.
Salmonella Sickens Children
Chicken Bourne Illnesses
I love my chickens and don't really think too much about the fact that they can make you sick. But, there has been a recent outbreak of Salmonella that has sickened kids and adults. They have traced the outbreak to newly bought chicks.
Remember, it may not be your chicks or chickens that are a problem. Ever been to a Tractor Supply and felt your heart melt when looking at all those fluffy baby chicks? Ever given in and held one or allowed your kids to hold one? They could be carrying Salmonella!
Remember, wash your hands and make sure your kids wash their hands. I always keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on me as well. It's better to be safe rather than sorry.
Free Video On Building A Chicken Coop
Watch this free video on how to build a chicken coop.
What Materials Do You Need To Fence Your Chicken Run
Before you start building a chicken coop for your ladies, you need a good, solid chicken coop design. You can easily go online and find an assortment of blueprints that range in size, shape, color and material. You can go online if you are stumped and find a design to make even the pickiest person happy.
The materials needed to build your fencing and supports can be found at any local hardware store. The types of materials you need will depend on the type of fencing you are building. I used 4x4 posts to attach the wiring to. I bought a few bags of concrete, sixteen 4x4 posts and the wiring to enclose my chicken run. I bought "U" clips or nails to secure the wiring to the posts.
If you decide to use chain link fencing, which I don't recommend, you will need to get the correct poles and clips to secure the wiring to the poles.
If you decide to do the job yourself, you will need a shovel or a post hole digger to dig a hole that is at least 12 inches deep in order to place your poles in. You will also need wire cutters and a hammer. I put a post every four feet but you can go six feet without to many problems. Once you set your posts, you will need to allow the concrete to cure properly so that you can stretch your wiring from post to post and have them stay in place.
Building A Frame For The Fencing
You need to build a sturdy frame to attach your wiring to. I personally sank 4x4 posts into the ground and it is very sturdy.
I attached the chicken wiring on the inside and the heavier small square wiring on the outside. That leaves a pretty decent gap between the two sets of fencing materials and better protects my chickens.
For anyone that prefers to be able to move their flock around, you can build a very sturdy frame to allow it to be moved. It is a pain but it can be done as I've found out!
Chicken Fencing For Your Chicken Run
It is pretty easy to find appropriate types of fencing that will safely contain your chickens at any local hardware store in your area. It is up to you as to what type of wiring you use to protect your chickens. There are several options available to you, depending on how much money you have to invest and how you want the finished product to look. I have seen a lot of different types of fencing used and most of them work just fine. Keep in mind that even the most well thought out chicken run may need some modifications after it is complete.
The most commonly used types of wiring are chicken or poultry wiring or the smaller mesh with the very small square openings. Either one should work just fine. I always strongly recommend putting up a double layer of wiring because I have had chickens pulled through just one layer of poultry wiring. It is a very gruesome site.
How To Properly Stretch & Install The Wire For Your Run
Stretch the wiring as tightly as possible between the posts. I would also recommend burying the fence at least a foot in the ground and some people recommend that you bury it at least two feet in the ground. Predators are very determined and will dig down and go under the wiring to get to your chickens.
Another solution to burying the fencing is to create an "apron" of sorts. You bend the fencing along the bottom so that it is an "L" shape. You can secure the apron portion to the ground using landscape anchors and also allow grass, plants and weeds to grow up through it. It will be very secure and you won't have to dig any trenches to bury your fence.
Other Types Of Fencing
Electrified mesh fencing is another popular option and is a very good way to help keep your chickens safe. It shouldn't bother the chickens unless they touch it with their feet or any other part of their body that is missing feathers. But it does keep them from perching on it and tearing it down. The electrified fencing will deliver a shock to any other animals that touch it and will help prevent them from taking your chickens.
I also know people that have used chain link fencing for their chicken runs. The biggest problem with this fencing is that the holes in the fencing are large and it is easy for any predator to reach through the holes and grab a chicken. If you use this fencing, I would strongly recommend a second layer of smaller mesh wiring for added protection.
Accessibility & Maintenance Tips
When you construct your chicken run be sure and plan chicken access areas. I put wire doors on my chicken openings so that I can lock them up at night. My chickens are large so it is still possible for other critters to gain access to the chicken run and chicken coop during the day, but I always do a final check before I lock up for the night just to make sure that I don't lock up a predator in with them.
My chicken run is totally enclosed, meaning the top is also covered with wiring. Make sure and do regular checks of the wring because it can be damaged. Check regularly for gaps in the wiring or the supports because they can pull apart and leave a large enough area for a predator to squeeze through. I recently lost a hen because of a very small gap that I would never have imagined a possum could shimmy through.
What Else Should You Consider When Installing Fencing For Chickens?
When you construct your chicken run be sure and plan chicken access areas. I put wire doors on my chicken openings for the hot summer months so that I can lock them up at night and they can still have air flow.
Even though my chicken run is totally enclosed, I still make sure and regularly inspect the fencing, especially where the fencing attaches to the wood. It is not difficult for a determined predator to pick an area of the fencing and gradually work a piece loose enough to gain access. They can get through some pretty small holes.
Once thing that I like to do is landscape the area around my chicken coop and chicken run. I placed evergreen trees and bushes strategically around the enclosures to make it look more appealing and also to provide protection for my chickens. They can dart under the trees and bushes all year round to hide from birds that might be hunting them.
FACT ==> DID YOU KNOW?
- The average egg you purchase from your local supermarket or convenience store, whether it be from a barn raised or free range chicken, is generally more than 45 days old before it ends up on your table? Try eating an egg that's less than 24 hours old and you'll soon taste the difference...
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