Monday, July 2, 2018

The Chicken Pasture

After losing four chickens to marauders last year I decided I needed to stop free-ranging and start pasturing my birds. In deciding how large an area to allow them I realized that the easiest thing was to simply enclose the fruit trees in a fence that would do double duty - protect the birds from snatch & grab foxes and the trees from deer. So we cut some pine trees to act as posts and planted them around the orchard.

Planting the posts
We didn't skimp on height figuring we could always chainsaw them shorter later on. I hadn't decided on what fencing I was going to use yet so didn't want to make the mistake of having the posts be too short.
I needn't have worried about height...
We scraped the ground in between the posts to make it easier to bury fencing later on and then did a bit of scorching on a couple posts to kill bugs and season it a bit. Just an experiment to see if it helps the poles last longer.
Adding flame
I ended up going with a poly fencing that's sold as deer protection. It's seven feet high and comes in 100 foot rolls for around $30. Nice price! And although it won't stop something chewing through it, it will stop something running through it (it's not deer netting which tears if you look at it funny, it's heavier than that). And remember - the chickens are safely in the coop at night; this is day-time protection from stuff that snatches them on the run (fox!). Anything that climbs can obviously get in, but that's not as likely when we, and Cooper, are running around outside.

I buried a foot of fencing and stapled the rest to the poles. I'll add cross braces soon.
Stomping down the buried fence
It took a lot of dirt to bury the fence
Cooper keeping cool
Here's a decent picture of the fencing. And the chickens hanging out with me inside the protected area. They love the space and the grass.
Heavy gauge poly fence
The first night the fence was in place something tried to dig under it and failed. Whatever it was did manage to chew a small hole that I fixed by weaving in wire. It didn't get in though, so that's good news.

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