I’ve posted some video of the fox getting interested in the chickens, but I’ve not really shown the enclosure.
It was made by Force 5 Engineering Ltd in Faversham, www.force5ltd.co.uk. It’s made from tubular steel with infill weldmesh panels and has a galvanised finish. The thing is a bit over-engineered and was referred to as the gorilla enclosure by the guys that made it. If you were locked in, you probably wouldn’t be able to get out of it.
Initially it didn’t have a roof, but I decided one was required as I had seen foxes in the garden regularly and didn’t want any nasty surprises. About ten years ago, I kept chickens at a different address and the fox found his way in and destroyed four chickens and two ducks…. it was heartbreaking. The roof is made of the same weldmesh material and is supported midway with a piece of steel angle section.
Here’s a couple of pictures of it :
The tube is 42mm diameter, the weldmesh is 2″ x 2″ 10g, and the finish is hot dipped galvanised.
As mentioned on an earlier post, the hen house was gifted to me by Steve and Sam, it was in pretty good condition and just needed a few extra screws and a coating of creocote and it looked as good as new.
I’ve pimped it up a little, the black chest to the front of it houses a couple of sacks of layers pellets and mixed corn. There’s a bag of shavings and straw for the bedding.
As the enclosure is at the bottom of my garden, a fair way from the house, I didn’t want the grief of running cables, so all of the solutions are solar and wireless.
There is a solar PIR floodlight which I picked up for £30 in a sale at B&Q, I think it was an end of line, I’ve just cable tied it into place pointing towards the bottom of the garden where the fox appears from. It’s pretty bright and has the usual array of adjustments on it such as sensitivity, duration and light level for trigger. There’s plenty of similar out there.
I’ve added a solar powered PIR ultrasound critter scary thing which I saw in Lidl for £12. It has a setting for sensitivity and you can select the type of critter you want to deter; birds, rodents, cats and dogs, and of course, foxes. The idea is that then the PIR is triggered, it emits a high frequency sound that is normally inaudible to humans and is supposed to deter critters. It seemed to work on the fox for the first couple of days and then it didn’t. Oh well, only £12…
And finally, the gadget that I really like is the Reolink Argus 2E. I wanted to keep an eye on the chooks when I am away and make sure all is well. I work fairly close to home, so it is pretty easy to get back in a hurry if needed.
This CCTV camera is wireless, solar powered, records in 1080p, takes an SD card, has an infra red light so it can record in the dark. It has a microphone and a speaker, so if you were minded to, you could have a chat with the chickens (I have a relative that I have given access to the camera and they regularly drop in to view the chooks and she quite often chats to them!). I have it set to record any movement between 10pm and 5am to the SD card so I can review if required. All of the footage posted on here is from this camera. I think it’s absolutely brilliant, I don’t know how it will fare in the middle of winter when there is very little sunlight, but currently it reports that it has 100% power throughout the day, and by the time I get up in the morning, between 4 and 5am, it’s reporting around 95%. This is even on busy nights where I’ve left the chickens out and they are roosting on the house roof and are restless. As soon as it gets light, it’s back up to 100% in no time.
Everything is controlled by an app on the phone and it is surprisingly slick, I’ve not found it limiting at all, which is unusual. I think that they’ve pretty much nailed it. It was on offer on Amazon and cost just short of £70.
As I mentioned before, the roof is the same material, galvanised weldmesh, and shortly after installation I had some pretty heavy rain. The house and some of the bedding got a bit wet and the enclosure got really yucky. A friend of mine was disposing of a childs trampoline, so I repurposed this and used it to hold a folded tarpaulin into place and cable tied it to secure it.