Lost two chooks

Discussion in 'Poultry, Domestic Livestock, Pets, & Bees' started by Steve, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Sadly i lost two chickens on Monday. One was my little bantam silkie and the other a leghorn x.

    I believe it was a wedge-tailed eagle as my wife did see one rather low during the day. She was so in awe of how big and majestic it looked that she forgot all about our free-ranging chooks. She feels so bad she didn't put two and two together.
    There was no sign of the silkie so i did have some hope she just simply got out of the yard and will show up sometime but 4 days later the window has now closed. The black leghorn was a different story. There was a massive pile of feathers in the far corner of the free range area and only the head left behind. I guess she met her fate there. Poor little souls.

    So I need to figure out a solution and I think getting some overhead netting up might be the solution.
    If anyone has any other ideas I'd be happy to hear them.

    Also, If I was to put overhead netting up, what's some good material to use for the corner posts? I need something fairly high to go right over their house. I don't want to do the sides as i think that will be an over-kill.

    Happy to hear peoples thoughts on this.

    I really didn't know what predators were in my area. A neighbour said their chooks got taken by a fox at night as they forgot to shut them up for the night. It seems there are more threats than I first imagined. I feel I've let them down and my wife hasn't slept well since. Maybe it's my military background that allows me to deal with it a bit better but it's still a real bummer losing those in your care.

    Cheers,
    Steve
     
  2. letsgo

    letsgo Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Steve, so sorry for the loss of your chooks, I do appreciate what that is like. Tell your wife this story and hopefully it will make her feel better.

    When we got our chooks we built them a big enclosed dog/fox proof fence. There was an old garden bed in there that we just took the concrete border off and left the rest for the chooks to forage through. We were walking all over it building the pen.

    Day after it was done we went out there and found 2 of our chooks dead. These were specail purebred heritage chooks for my birthday. With the other chooks cowering in the corner of the pen. One of the dead chooks was in the coup the other was in the belly of a python snake.

    We had inadvertently fence the snake in. Under the old garden bed we were walking all over was a python nest with mumma and a couple of babies. We felt so bad really bad. It was accident but we felt terrible. Like you we felt we had let them down. We built this pen to keep them safe but trapped the danger in.

    We got rid of the snake and then built a snake proof fence roof and all to keep the chooks safe.

    Unfortunately what happened was just nature at work same as with the wedged tail eagle taking your chooks. It’s not not nice, nature sucks sometimes.

    When we first bought our place we came across 6 snakes in 6 months. Previous owners were slack at maintenance and there was a lot of leaf litter around the place. We had to do a big clean up. When I first got my dog as a pup I never let her outside for fear of a snake getting her.

    We are aware of snakes here and now I’m sure when you see a wedged tail eagle you will be on alert as well. It can be nice to have chooks free range but sometimes fencing then in an area is to keep them safe as well as our veggies and fruit trees.
     
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  3. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Gee Steve, how awful & sad for all concerned. Poor chooks do cop a rough deal from nature.:(
    I'll bet that eagle flew over at 500ft every day watching you build that hen house & just waiting to see if you would put a roof on the pen.

    What to use as a suitable roof..... well....oh & by the way, you will have to close in the walls/fence too cos that itty bitty bird can swoop under as well!!

    ok, I would use 1cm extruded black plastic bird mesh. Cheap as chips on ebay from an aussie store in Brisbane, postage free & will arrive in a few days or you can pick up.

    Shaun's Store in Kenmore:-
    http://stores.ebay.com.au/STORE-TO-YOUR-DOOR-AUSTRALIA?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

    the extruded black mesh:-
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Anti-Bi...-Fruit-Plant-Tree-pond-extruded-/111460061396

    the knitted white mesh:-
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Knitted-...cial-Pest-Net-Plant-Aviary-Tree-/111168033821

    several versions to look at on this page.

    You can buy it by the 5m wide 20-50m long roll.
    Very light to put up but will catch on everything while you are working with it.
    As for posts, 8ft steel posts (also known as star pickets) from the rural store are simplest & easiest. They can be attached to existing fence posts with wire, they don't have to be driven into the ground, just sitting on the ground or on an old roof tile or similar so they don't sink into the ground, pointy end down. That will give you the head height.
    What height is the roof of your hen house?

    I would string 10 or 12 gauge plain wire from the tops of steel posts to the corners of the roof to support the bird mesh or some sort of cord. Be sure to put diagonal stays on each steel post so they don't cant over once the wire is attached to them. Stays can be 5'6" steelies.

    Depending on the span of the whole meshed roof, you might have to join the 5m wide mesh so it is put up first then laced together with something like thin hutchie cord. Of course actual hutchie cord is gross overkill because the bird mesh will disintegrate in around 4yrs but you can reuse the cord with the next batch of bird mesh. Its also handy for patching holes torn by possums, etc.
    That's the down side of that extruded bird mesh, it does tear easily.
    Every animal in the district will want to come to your place to have a party & play trampolines on your new mesh roof!

    The knitted bird mesh is more expensive, a bit heavier to put up but will stand up to some possum play although they do chew through just to get in if they can smell chook food.
    As I mentioned earlier you will need to drop the mesh down to the ground but since it is so cheap & so wide, it should be easy enough to do. Peg it down with tent pegs.
    If you weren't on tuther side of Bris I'd be happy to go help since its a job I've done several times previously. But I'm sure you'll knock it over in an arvo with a few mates.
    All that sort of mesh is best handled by 2 or more people cos it will catch on everything & test your patience to the limit!
    Another tip....clothes pegs make excellent temporary/permanent closures for tears & doors in bird mesh.

    :twothumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
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  4. Skippyherron

    Skippyherron Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    How sad Steve! I don't have any solutions but ClissAT has written an awesome response already!
     
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  5. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I've got some netting on the way and I'll use star pickets attached to my corner wooden posts to give some height.
    I'll run some wire around the perimeter and through the centre to attach the netting to.

    I do have a 1.5m fence so there is a small gap (< 1m) where a precision dive bomb might get through. If I have enough netting, which I should, I'll run some around to make it more secure.

    I've since bought 2 more australorps and a little grey silkie. We are back up to 6 chooks with all but the silkie laying.
     
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