The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Predator problems with young chicks

predator proofing a chick housing area otherwise known as a coopWe've lost a few chicks this year to an unknown predator.

Last year we kept them inside till they got big enough to go out in the world. They didn't have any problems with predators, but their foraging skills seemed to be lacking enthusiasm.

This year we decided to get the chicks outside sooner. I'm not sure if it was the new breed, the mother hen, or getting on real ground sooner, but they're already better foragers than last year's flock.

I've considered building an automatic chicken coop door closer, but there are so many other things on the growing season to-do list that we've decided to absorb the loss as a price of doing business in a more natural fashion.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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So do you close the door at night, or do you leave it open?

We had great intentions of shutting it every night at dusk.. but lately our coop door is open til midnight, or sometimes even all night long. It opens to a caged run, and so far all of our chickens have been safe. (Knock on wood.)

Comment by Faith T Mon Jun 20 21:00:06 2011

I'm ashamed to say we don't close the door at all. We've never had any predator problems at all with the adult chickens because our dog patrols the outside of the pasture, but it seems like whatever's been eating our youngsters (a rat is my best guess) slips past Lucy's nose and teeth. The trouble is that we'd have to really tighten up the coop before it would be rat proof, even with the doors closed, and I'm also not positive the predators are even getting the chicks at night rather than in the day time.

Currently, my plan is to be raising chicks with a broody hen by next year, which I think will solve the problem organically. Our current batch has been wandering around out there for a week with no trouble due to the broody hen's vigilance.

Comment by anna Tue Jun 21 07:31:38 2011

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