When building a coop it can be fun using scrap materials, brainstorming ways to be creative, and save money. But all to often where you scrimped ends up costing you more later. One decision you might make for example, is to choose chicken wire for your flock’s enclosure. It’s cheap and easy to handle, but I think in the long run you’ll find it wasn’t at all worth saving those few pennies.
First of all, chicken wire is NOT predator proof. There are countless animals who can chew right through the stuff. Secondly, if you’re penny wise, you certainly aren’t going to fancy wasting expensive chicken feed.
Wild birds are the biggest culprit in feed waste. One little sparrow might not eat much, but that tiny sparrow will soon bring 100’s of friends who will devour 3 pounds or more in just one afternoon! These little guys can fit through the holes in chicken wire, not only costing you money, but they’ll poop everywhere. I think we can both agree, we don’t need any more cleaning added to the chore list!
I’ve said this before, but it’s just plain smarter to build everything right the first time! Use hardware cloth on chicken coops, and enclosures. It’s stronger, and an extra perk is it’s tidy appearance. The ends can be finished nicely, it doesn’t bend making your coop look like a train wreck as time goes by.
The peace of mind knowing your chickens are safe is so worth it. You’ll pay a little more for hardware cloth, but by keeping wild birds out, you’ll save money on feed!
You’ll find hardware cloth at Home Depot or similar building supply stores. Check your local feed stores too, sometimes they’ll sell by the foot so you don’t have to buy more than you need.
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What’s New at TBN Ranch
Below is one of two coops that has been predator proofed, I’m confident there’s no chance of any predator ever getting inside. My once not so handy husband is turning into quite a hand! He’s not much into the chickens, but he was pretty upset about the coyote attack and this is what he did for our feathered family members. Coop is now raised 21″ high, and and has a solid wood floor. I dare even a tiny sparrow to find entry!
This coop is where chicks go after they leave the brooder, they’ll stay here until they’re ready to join the flock at about four months old.
Piper and Cookie, a Standard Cochin and Buff Silkie are the only youngsters who survived the predator ordeal three weeks ago. They are from my Fall 2015 chicks, and although integrated into the existing flock, still stick together as best pals. So happy they still have each other. They’re inseparable, they even lay their eggs together!
I’ve said in the past to keep flock members that are all about the same size to minimize bullying… but I’m kinda sorta changing my mind about that. Piper is close to seven pounds and Cookie is barely a pound, no problems with the other lightweights in the flock either. However, let’s just say it’s always a good idea to keep in mind that sometimes size does matter in the chicken world.
Although this magnificent owl is a predator and totally unwelcome in my chicken yard, I can’t help feeling honored by it’s stunning presence. We have two owls that are regular visitors at TBN Ranch. They are usually seen at dusk.
This rattlesnake is definitely a predator I could live without… unfortunately Arizona is home sweet home to them. With a little a lot of respect we manage to live together in peace. There have been probably 6 rattlesnakes found on the property over the last 10 years… not too bad. None of our chickens or chicks have ever been a victim.
Photos by friend Laura