Andrea Alexander

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since Dec 23, 2016
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chicken dog fiber arts
Just moved from northern California, setting up a backyard garden. Have studied herbal uses and herbal medicines. Looking to learn and share what I've learned so far.
near Chattanooga TN (Rossville GA)
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Recent posts by Andrea Alexander

Alright, I'll add to this topic. A few years ago we had a small chicken coop with 8 chickens - 7 silkie hens and one rooster. They weren't great egg layers and the eggs were small, but they were cute and friendly and went broody a lot. I planned to get good laying eggs the following Spring to slip under a broody hen, and thought of these silkies as a combination of pets and "learning" chickens. Kind of like having goldfish before you spend a lot for more exotic fish. Not that they were that cheap.

A neighbor's dog got out, broke into our yard, and tried to put his head into the coop. The dog found a weak spot in the 1-inch poultry wire fencing, and made an oval opening about 3-5 inches around. This was not in a place the chickens were likely to notice and our dogs kept most of the local wildlife away (though a fence separated them from the chickens) so I thought it could wait a few days.  I should have fixed it the minute I saw it.

[edit: I did temp fix with wire sewn through, but obviously not done well enough.]

Three days later, our own dogs got out and used that hole to wriggle into the coop. They slaughtered every one of those birds and it was completely my fault. Blood and feathers everywhere. The dogs looked as happy and pleased as I've ever seen them.

Takeaway message: If something needs fixing, fix it. Now. No excuses.
2 months ago

Alicia Metz wrote: The reason I'm going with raised beds is to protect against gophers.

We recently moved from northern California and gophers are not my favorite animals. I tried cinder-block raised beds stacked two high - so that was 16 inches in height I think. They got in by digging under the blocks.
The next season we dug up the bed and laid 1/2 x 1 inch hardware cloth down, then put the bed back in.
It worked for a year, but then they were back. Later on, we re-dug that bed again and found a slight separation between two layers of hardware cloth that didn't overlap enough and had been enlarged (with teeth) to become a two inch hole the gophers could use as a doorway. And they did.

I gave up on that area and went largely to container gardening even though we lived on a full acre. Cinder blocks worked great otherwise -- though I've read the newer ones are from China and may include some toxic materials that aren't allowed in the USA sourced blocks. Can't say for sure. Might be worth checking around for used cinderblocks that are a few years old though, just in case. If you want to minimize cost, try a U-shaped raised garden bed. You can harvest more easily too.

Just re-read your more recent post. Strongly recommend against poultry wire. Even with the 1x1 tighter type, the gophers will get through. 1/2 x 1 inch hardware cloth (galvanized!) would be the minimum - otherwise that's a lot of work to re-do.

Good luck with everything.