The Whatever Happened To Rocky Raccoon VI? mystery is no longer a mystery.
It was two weeks ago that we realized our efforts to keep a chicken-killer out of the chicken yard had failed because the killer was a raccoon living somewhere in the coop. Rather than try to hunt down a raccoon in tight quarters, we constructed a new coop in one day and moved the chickens.
I set a trap for the raccoon inside the chicken yard, but he just knocked it over without going inside. So a couple of days later, I set two arm traps, the kind that snag a paw when the critter reaches in for food. Nearly two weeks went by with no sign of Rocky. There were also no signs that he burrowed his way out of what is now the Fort Knox of chicken coops. I began wondering if we’d been dealing with a ninja raccoon all along.
Nope. We went out yesterday to begin working on a new chicken yard, and there was Rocky VI, arm snagged in a trap. He was also quite dead, so I’m guessing he finally went for the bait out of desperation and died soon after being caught. I would have preferred to catch him in the big trap right away and dispatch him quickly with a shot to the head, but so it goes. At least we know he won’t be coming back and attempting to break into the new coop.
The new coop is fine, but those chickens need a secure yard where they can run around, so we started that project yesterday. The plan was to build the yard between the garden and the chicken yard where Rocky lived.
Any project that Chareva plans, you know there will be cattle panels involved. The only two panels we hadn’t already used were inside the pen where the hogs once lived. It’s reverted to a jungle, so I had to use the brush attachment on my weed whacker and hack a path to the panels.
As I’ve mentioned before, the previous owner left a lot of stuff behind, including some big ol’ dog pens. We decided to use the last two sections of a dog pen for the fencing closest to the garden.
You can be sure I was quite careful when working with t-posts and the t-post hammer for this project. One near-death experience while building chicken yards is quite enough.
Now that we’ve done this a few times, we have a better idea of what we want when building a chicken yard. High on my list is keeping the net far above my head.
When building the other yards, I sunk poles into buckets of concrete and buried the buckets. Later, doing that thing wives do where they come up with the easy solution after you’ve nearly killed yourself with effort, Chareva suggested we could just strap the poles to t-posts.
Son of a ….
Anyway, now that putting tall poles around the yard doesn’t involve concrete and lots of work with a shovel, we decided we’d strap one fence on top of another to create plenty of head room. That way the net won’t have to drop to 48 inches above the ground.
Another lesson we learned from our previous efforts was to dig a trench. That way we’re not trying to bend a fence over mounds and dips in the ground.
With the poles attached to t-posts and the trench dug, we strapped on two levels of fencing.
Like I said, it just wouldn’t be a Chareva construction project without a cattle-panel arch somewhere. The door to the chicken yard (also made from a cattle panel) will close against the arch. We’ll have to surround the fences and the doorway with heavy-duty chicken wire pegged into the ground to keep critters from trying to dig under.
When everything else was in place, we started stringing Paracord from pole to pole.
We still have to do some crisscrossing with more cord, but when we’re done, the 50 ft. x 50 ft. net should fit over the entire yard … although I have a feeling raising the net over the 10-foot poles and draping it over those cords will make for an interesting weekend experience.