If you want to be self-sufficient in food production, you may raise your own chickens in your backyard. It is not really complicated to put up this home project. However you should you know how to safeguard the fowls from environmental elements such as changes in weather condition and predators. The number one problem of backyard fowl raisers is the attack of predators such as cats, dogs, snakes, skunks, foxes and hawks. Since you cannot watch your chickens 24/7, you need to come up with remedies to protect them from these predators. Here are tips for you to consider:
- Get ready with the materials to be used in building protective enclosure. These materials include: hammers, nails, lumber, cement blocks, wooden posts, chicken wire and chicken coops. These items are readily available in various construction supply centers in your area.
- Allot a space in your yard for the chickens. Do not let them stray around your lot for sanitary reasons. If they are allowed to just roam around, they will spread their droppings all over and cleaning the area will be a problem. A corner of your yard is an ideal place, so long as the space is enough to accommodate all the birds. The number of chickens you will raise should depend on the size of the area that you can provide. Overcrowding will be detrimental to the survival of the chickens and they might get sick or die with little space.
- Give the chickens their own shelter. To protect them from rain, heat and other harsh weather elements, the chickens should be housed in a structure, which is covered with a strong roof and walls that can protect them from extreme weather conditions as well as predators. The shelter must be sturdy enough with strong posts and sturdy walls.
- Dig four trenches on the ground. These trenches shall accommodate the posts for the chicken house. The trenches should be twelve inches deep and 12 inches wide. Erect the posts on the trenches. Next, put in hardware cloth in the trenches surrounding the posts and cover the holes with soil. The cloth shall prevent predators from excavating the soil. One trick that these predators do is to loosen the soil to bring down the chicken house in order to have access to the chickens. The house or roost itself must be at least five feet higher than the ground so cats and dogs will not be able to reach the birds.
- Surround the base of the wooden posts with cement blocks. For a more stable foundation, the posts should be supported by cement blocks. Foxes are strong and wily animals and know how to topple down a roost. Cement blocks are very useful in ensuring the safety of the chickens.
- Build the main house for the chickens. First, install the chicken wire and coops around the posts. Secure them with nails and wires. Next, build the flooring of the chicken house. Attach wooden slabs across the posts. Secure them with wires and nails. Install sheets of wood across the slabs to form the flooring. Nail each wood sheet neatly. Construct the door, still with the use of the chicken wire. For the full protection of the chickens, install a lock with key.
Protecting chickens from predators seems to be a simple task but it also entails some planning. With large poultry farms, monitors are installed in each coop to detect if there are predators ready to attack nearby. It may be quite expensive to use a monitor but if you are really serious with your chicken raising business, the price is immaterial.