town_553THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

Let’s get the ugly truth out of the way immediately: there is no such thing as a perfect system for protecting your yard or urban farm from critters.  Raccoons, possums, weasels, rats, hawks, owls, deer, coyotes, they are all out there looking for a hole in your perimeter defenses, and given enough time they will find it.

That’s the bad news!

Depending on where you live, there may not be any good news.

Sorry about that!

Oh, sure, you could spend thousands of dollars surrounding your property with electric fence, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that within days one of the aforementioned invaders will find a way through your fencing.  There are times I believe that’s the only reason they exist.

So, the best we can do is the best we can do according to our budgets and vigilance.

Let me tell you a few things we’ve done.  None of it is perfect but it is what it is….a deterrent.

FIRST, WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Chicken fencing is adequate if all you want to stop are birds of prey and deer.  Other than that you are taking your chances and hoping your luck holds out.  A determined raccoon can tear apart chicken wire.  A weasel can go through it.

Poultry netting….don’t bother.  It will keep chickens in and nothing out.

We haven't lost a chicken yet
We haven’t lost a chicken yet

WHAT WORKS WITH DEGREES OF SUCCESS

First up is hardware cloth. I’ve spoken about this before.  Three-foot wide, ½ inch hardware cloth costs about a buck a foot. Four-foot wide cloth costs about $1.50 per foot.  It’s worth the cost.  Raccoons cannot get through it. Weasels can’t get through it.  Possums can’t get through it.  Dogs can’t get through it.  The only way it won’t work is if you don’t secure it to your wooden posts.  Loose staples can be pulled out, and it takes a hole about two inches in diameter for a weasel to get through, so make sure you’ve done your job well if using hardware cloth.

Electric fencing works well for larger animals.  It won’t stop weasels, and if you do a poor job of setting up your fence, it won’t stop anything.  Overhanging branches are an invitation to raccoons to drop into your yard and bypass the electric fence.  Strands of fencing too high off the ground, or spaced too far apart, are also easy to breech.  The other problem with electric fencing is the expense of buying it and constantly running the electricity through it.  We have electric fencing but we don’t use it because of the expense.

Cages are adequate but we don’t believe in them. We like our animals to have as much free-range as possible…which means we run the risk of losing some of them.

THE WORD OF EXPERIENCE

We’ve lost our share of quail to critters.  It was our fault that it happened.  We underestimated the determination of a hungry predator. We don’t do that again.  We have never lost a chicken.  Early on we listened to advice and got it right.  My word of advice: spend the extra money when you first set up your urban farm.  It will pay dividends in the long run.

Any questions? You know how to find me.

Bill

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Critter-Proofing Your Yard or Urban Farm

  1. Love your stories. Oh yes critters are very determined cratures. Well you got to realize they have to eat too and they have younguns…thing is they have pelenty without the help from our guarded creatures. Deer, I have found some detterant with those children’s pinwheals. You got to move them once a month and they only last two years then the dee gaet to know what they are. Raccoon in my neck of the woods and so as the possums, will climb anything they can. They aren’t afraid to fall either. Haha I end up feeding them and those squirrels too when the cats don’t finish all the food that I feed them on my decks.
    The biggest problem that I have here are the creepy crawling critters and creatures. I just gett o having none and the next week Wham, they are back in full force. I can’t keep up with the bugs, slugs and beetles around here. It’s kind of hard to do when you live in the woods like I do.
    Fight the good fight with your garden there Bill!

    Like

  2. Thanks Debra! In western Washington it’s a losing battle fighting slugs. We just live with them and worry about other things. 🙂 Thanks for following along and have a great Thursday evening.

    Like

    1. Cheap beer in a pie pan will get your slugs. We have them here and they are orange and someone told me that they glow at night. I don’t know. I don’t go out looking for glowing slugs. hehe
      I picked one off my raised garden of beans and squash this morning. I threw it in the woods.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The one thing that frightens me the most is the fact that when we start growing food for ourselves on our property, it will be an invitation for the wild animals to come feast. One of my neighbors said that a deer can walk right up to an eight foot fence and jump right over it. He said he’s seen them do it. Our property is located just down the mountain from bob cats, and every time I visit the property I see the fresh marks of coyote piss. It kind of scares me, so I’m always interested in ways to protect myself, my food, and any animals I plan to have on the property. I’m definitely going to be looking into hardware cloth.

    Like

  4. The big animals, Marlene, like coyotes, deer and bobcats, will back away from an electric fence, but it’s definitely pricey. That’s really the only way to protect a garden from the bigger animals…..good luck my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s