Keeping chickens can be a very rewarding hobby. You have a small chicken coop on your property where the birds can roost at night, and a little yard where they can roam, cluck, and peck to their hearts' content. Meanwhile, you have a source of fresh eggs daily, and if you ever need to, you can eat your chickens. The problem lies in the fact that there are many animals that can get at your chickens. To protect them, you need to enclose a little yard and do so in a way that the fence is reinforced. Here is how that can be done the right way.
Mark off the Area Around the Coop
Each chicken should get about three square feet of space to keep all chickens happy. If you keep four chickens, for example, you will need twelve square feet of space around the coop. This prevents squabbling and fighting among the hens and allows any roosters you keep to have their own little territory. Make the area square or rectangular because the next step will require it.
Use Chain Link Fencing to Create the Fence
Most people use chicken wire to create a fence. Sure, it works, but it does not prevent predators from pushing through or biting through the fence to get at the chickens. Use chain link fencing instead. It is much stronger, higher, and made of steel. The chickens cannot fly over a five- or six-foot chain link fence, and predators on the ground cannot get through. You can still see your chickens and watch out for them without completely blocking view or fencing them in with a wooden fence. (In fact, wooden fencing is a really bad idea for chickens because they will peck at the wood and possibly ingest toxic paint chips.)
Do Not Forget the Gate
Make part of the new fence a gate that latches. You will need this to enter the chickens' area and feed them every day. It also makes it easier to get the eggs while the chickens are eating and regularly clean the pen so you do not have mounds of chicken feces piling up everywhere. If you want, you can make it a locking gate, which prevents small children from getting into the pen and chasing, frightening or hurting the chickens. The gate should be installed on the fence wall opposite of the coop.
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