Chickens are one of the most basic livestock you can keep. They provide a constant
source of food, and are not difficult to maintain. If you want to raise chickens, you
are going to need a coop for them to nest, and a run for them to forage. Many wild Saint Louis animals
love chickens and eggs almost as much as we do! Keeping your coop critter proof is important
to ensure the safety of your Missouri birds and success of your flock. Either raise your coop off the
ground, bury the wire sides about 10 inches down in the ground, or install a wire floor to keep
digging animals like skunks, and raccoons from getting in.
If you raise the coop up, use pressure treated lumber for your floor. A rotting floor creates holes that rats weasel, and other small Saint Louis animals can access. If your coop has windows, cover them with hardware cloth to let air in and keep invaders out. Plastic hardware cloth lasts best. Put a wire roof on your coop and their run too! Use the plastic coated hardware cloth for your roof as well. Creatures like weasels can squeeze through the 1” holes in chicken wire, and a Missouri raccoon can tear tight through it. Many animals that want your chickens can climb or fly. Protecting them from above is just as important as the walls and floor.
Put latches on all of the doors and gates. Many predators are able to work an unlocked door open, and some like Saint Louis raccoons are dexterous enough to easily operate a door. If you live in an area that has bears or big cats, you should consider running a low voltage electrical “hot” wire. This will frighten the animal off without causing serious damage. If you are raising chickens, it is likely that you have a dog, ducks, or geese. These animals when kept in close proximity to your Missouri chickens are a great alarm system and often raise such ruckus that the would be thief is scared away. Keep your feed trough inside the coop/run area. Leaving your feed trough out can encourage Missouri animals to come snoop around. Store your feed in a metal can to keep rats, mice, and other critters out of it as well.
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