I live in los angeles, only 15 minutes from the downtown area. I want to create the best living environment possible, if i do decide on adding chickens to my family. From most of the information I've acquired on this website I have come to an idea of how I want to set up their coop. I was thinking a moveable coop on wheels with just as moveable fencing. Every week or so I could load them in the coop, rearrange the fence in a different part of the yard and release them from the coop. This seemed like a great plan until I educated myself on the predators. I'm a complete newbie at this so I didn't realize almost every other animal in the area will be trying to get at my chickens or their eggs. Then I started thinking about completely enclosed pen. One idea I liked from another person was to take a trampoline frame and put chicken wire all over it. I like this idea a lot because it seems easy to move around the yard. With so many ideas I came to the conclusion that I need some real life experience with chickens on a farm before I take on the venture myself in the back yard.
I would love to hear some beginning urban farmers experiences/ideas/suggestions...
hi, i wanted to remark on the previous post.
Do not over think it. in the country on a farm they have way more predators than in the city; and chickens run free. they are intelligent. they have their own language that tells the others whether the threat is from above, on the ground or snake. I thought that was interesting. i know one person who kept extra rosters to help send off the alarm. it is important to become accepting of loss where animals are concerned. we learn that death is part of life. you could think of having a dog they keep predators at bay. but of course they have to be out at night when they are needed.
if you get your chickens used to roasting in your coop you close the door at night and open it in the morning; that protects them from predators. some times when you forget to close the door is when you lose a few. they naturally want to be high that is their predator solution. and in a tree some times they are not seen by hawks but owes see them very well. some have their entrance door high off the ground with a ramp so the door of their coop is higher to help with predators and snakes. on most farms that is the job of the dog to keep predators at bay and then the farmer gets up when they hear something and take care of the problem. but that takes learning to live in the quiet so you can hear. my ducks always slept under my bed room window. they knew where i was some how and picked a place i could hear and protect them. i had to teach my dogs to leave them alone. the dogs took care of the skunks.
chickens can be trained as well and some people have theirs trained very well. we just let ours do what they wanted and they multiplied living in the trees or where ever they thought was save. that will not work well in the city. chickens free have a chance to can get away. those in a coop can not get away. they are a sitting duck. so make sure your coop is predator tight. chickens will let you know when something is bothering them and you can go out and protect them.
keep things they can get under to protect from hawks and a basic fence defers coyotes. i just had a corner woven wire fence 2 sides the rest open on the side of the woods and that kept the coyotes away from my animals. when i moved the fence out straight they just went around it and got them. predators naturally fear Territory of a home. so all though they will come close passing through they will not come right up in the yard. of course we had a few dogs which were lose to do their job.
when you need to move them they are already in the coop. we had chickens who roasted in trees when they had a large chicken house with nest boxes. they preferred the trees. if you have a top on your moveable grazing cage they will want to roast in the coop to get high.
most of the time the problems we think of are just not there or are not so insurmountable. do not let this scare you from your dream. when you are raised on a farm you just do not take things so seriously. farming is intuitive rather than following a schedule or regiment. i do not know how to explain it but there is just a different perspective and attitude about things and it makes it so much easier. do not sweat the small stuff and it is all small stuff. nature does not follow the text book and it is very forgiving. no need to fix it if it is not broke. and because a predator got this batch does not mean they will get the others or that it is not possible to do, try again, do something different. i feel bad when i loss an animal. and sometimes i can trace it back to me. i learn and do better.
right on I appreciate your help. you basically instilled the confidence within me to get a couple chickens, go for it and learn from my errors. there is just one more thing i am caught up on and that is a sufficient pen. I know chickens can scale pretty high fences, but now that I am thinking about it I could scrap a pen and let them free range around the yard with clipped wings. Do chickens tend to stay near food and home, or do they naturally venture off? again many thanks for your advice
I've come out in the morning to bloody, mangled messes of dead and dying chickens by the score, on more than one occasion.
Ways I've lost more chickens than I can count...
Hawks - lose a couple of chickens a day that way if a pair decides some woods near your place looks like home. (I've got a cure for this one, though. LOL)
Weasels - you'll know weasels have been in your coop because there is blood everywhere. No chickens, just lots of blood.
Racoons - When you visit your chickens in the morning and find one hanging from the fence, headless. Like it got it's head pulled through, then chopped clean off. Which it likely did.
Neighbors - the puppy drowning kind. Yeah, I've lost lots of birds that way. His birds on my property were fine, mine on his - he shot and threw over the fence into my driveway.
Dogs - people move out from the city and think Fido finally gets to experience life as nature intended. Fido does. He wanders off his own place, goes to yours, and 90% of your chickens are dead - and Fido is bouncing around like drug-fueled lunatic, high on a happy killing spree.
Coyote - Same as dogs, but not as mean. They only hunt to eat. But they come back every time they are hungry.
Bobcat, Bear, Fox, and Mountain Lion - I've been spared these guys so far. They are pretty shy and prefer to keep their distance when possible. I've seen them around, but they've not bothered me.
I've been in places where the losses are not too high. Generally that is the result of the farmer having his own dogs who scare off the predators. Also keeping a wide area around the coop clear of brush and growth. I'd recommend 50 feet, at least, but the more the better. Enough so the dogs can easily see all around from where ever they are.
Towns can have a lot of these same predators. You just have to know what's in your area.
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