Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Not Finished Yet !!

Whoa .... stop panicking folks.
Yesterdays post was all about how we are improving Chicken World and never have I been so inundated with emails telling me my fence is not high enough or people panicking that I am not protecting my chickens enough.
We are improving Chicken World using our experience over the last six years.  We have had chickens taken by foxes and know that whatever we do will quite possibly not be enough but we are doing what we can, and things ARE NOT finished yet!
We are disregarding the local talk that would lead any newcomer to believe that 'foxes are not a problem here'.  Well perhaps not in the past but until now there have been no chickens on this particular part of the hillside.  Once the word gets round in 'Foxville' there very well might be a few chancers and all we can do is make their 'supermarket shopping trip' as unpleasant and as difficult as possible.
From the comments yesterday 'Surely a fox can jump over those fences? They jump over 6ft fences into our garden! Hope your chooks will be safe.'
Yes a fox could jump over this fence as it is at the moment very easily but it's not finished!! 
Next to be put into position after the wire, the stock fencing and the chicken wire skirt are the electric tapes. Two lengths of electric tape will be positioned around the perimeter of the 1.2 metre fence, one on the top of the fence which will make it taller and the other on the outside edge sticking a few inches out from the edge of the wood which will make it wider.  This will mean that there is a double chance of an electric shock for any predator checking the height of the fence before leaping over.

Also from yesterday's comments -
 'extremely interested in your fences. could you tell me what the fencing code is and what made you choose that type... Also about the positioning of your chicken house. was it a design choice that it is on a slope, drainage, run off... etc. If you could do a post on how you have decided where everything is to go,

I am currently on a small holding course and finding it all a little scary. as I am very aware of the high standards of care needed for all animals.
We have used full fence posts at the corners and where the gate will be and half posts in between to make things easier and cheaper. There are two strands of heavy duty wire to strengthen and tension these and then a roll of bog standard stock fencing.  Ours is green as it is coated to weatherproof it a bit more but in the past we have just used the galvanised stuff, sorry I have no idea what 'the fencing code' is.  We chose that type because it is what we and most farmers use and as we will have lots over it will be used to fence the pig areas in the future.

We positioned the henhouse where we did because that was where we wanted it. 
We live on a hill so everything goes down to the road and looks as though it is sloping, and as seen from this photo anything we want to sit on the horizontal has to have a bit of earth dug out so it can sit straight.  The henhouse is also sat on the flat after we dug out the ground so it could be, nothing slopes inside it.  There should be no 'run off' from a henhouse.
If you are on a course take on board what is said, learn the basics and apply it how you can to where you live, and to what you want to do there.  Do not be scared, you will make mistakes, you will learn lots over time and you will not realise until you look back after a few years just how much you have learnt.  Before starting out with chickens we did two courses, one aimed at back garden chicken keepers and one with a more medical slant.  They were both useful but not essential. 
What we know now we had no idea of just six short years ago.  It is all a learning curve and all you can do is to do your best.  Animals in your care do need high standards of care but if you treat them all as what they are living, breathing members of your farm family you will do great.  If you have any specific questions raised by your course that you are unsure of please feel free to email me privately and I will see if I can help. 
Today we are still working on Chicken World and the girls are still roaming free and enjoying every moment of their freedom.  We have seen no foxes since we moved here, not even dead ones by the side of the road, but we are doing everything we possibly can to protect our girls from any predator that might appear.
And we always have someone on the look out for danger  :-)
Sue xx


  1. Love the photo of your lookout :D

  2. Chicken world looks great. We have foxes and dingos where we are in Australia and we have an electric fence all the way around our house yard and chicken pen. We have never had any issues to date and hope it stays this way.

  3. I think it looks great, I'm sure you will get it finished in no time,

  4. Francine Raymond has just lost her hens to a fox in broad daylight - where we live it's fox central so our coop and run is like Colditz but most of the day when I'm here the chickens roam our small garden...but we are currently having a large covered area you say keeping chickens is a steep learning curve...
    Your girls looks like they will be well protected once everything is up.

  5. Having lived in the local area all my years, within twenty miles of approximately where you are situated and now for the moment closer in Coedpoeth, I can definitely confirm you'll have visitors of the wild canine disposition. I've seen them or sign of them all over from the middle of Buckley to sunning themselves on the flanks of the Clwydian range. You've probably had these visitors checking out your chickens already so I think your efforts are justified.

  6. I do so agree. As with parenting and housewifery, so it is with stock keeping. Do your best and try to be "good enough". otherwise you beat yourself up and don't enjoy your animals, nor they you.

  7. I think like you have stated, that experience counts for a lot. We have a saying in our house, "there is no such thing as mistakes, only experience". I think that applies to most things in life. I'm sure your chickens will be fine, but like you say, in a new environment, only time will tell.

  8. You can only do your best when you have animals on a smallholding, and at first everything is a steep learning curve, which at times can be overwhelming. Sometimes we flat line with it all, because we have a house which we are renovating at the same time as building the infrastructure of the smallholding. But never do we every consider giving up, because the life becomes so addictive! I am sure you will do with your hens. You have the right way of thinking and care about their welfare.

  9. Thanks for this. When I said run off I meant from rain from the hill behind. we have a terrible fox problem here. they are fat FAT dogs, I have found what looks like lamb or beef bones in my garden where someone is feeding them.

    the fencing codes I was referring to, when you order it or ask for it we learnt about sheep the other day and the stock fence for this is C8/80/22 (I think) cant remember what the c stands for but it is something like 80cm high, 8 poles 22 something or other.

    we are doing the course to see if we really think we can do it. I am someone who has to read the instructions for an ikea book case about 6 times and lay all the screw and dowels out before I can start. I worry about doing things incorrectly. thanks so much for replying.

    aren't chickens cool

  10. They're are going to have such a fantastic area to roam in, I'm so impressed with all of your hard work. Looks like there is good weather ahead as well, so we will all be able to get on with the outside jobs.

  11. That's funny that your post caused such a lot of conversations....all with good intentions as I'm sure you realize. The girls look pretty happy anyway and I'm sure it will be great when it's finished too. We have an empty little chicken coop at the moment as I need to fix the wire up which I have done nothing about yet but I certainly have missed not having chickens in the past 6 weeks since both of ours died within about 2 weeks of one another. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  12. It will be like a little chicken holiday camp when finished - no wonder the foxes will be enticed over there! I love your lookout post. Happy fencing!

  13. It never ceases to amaze me the comments that people will make. Especially behind the veil of a keyboard. I love how you addressed the comments but stood up for yourself, and your chickens. Keep up the great work and posts...I really enjoy your blog...thank you.


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