We've had chickens for 20 years, and until this year, had few problems with predators.
The husband would credit Llambert, the now deceased llama, for keeping them at bay.
I always thought that nothing would come near where the Border collies tread.
This summer, though, a red fox got into our chickens one night.
And, then she came back during daylight hours and snagged a hen. I know, because I saw her.
So, I locked up the pullets in the pullet house and the four remaining hens in the hen house, and pondered how to allow my chickens to roam outdoors while still protecting them from the fox.
While I was researching electric poultry net, a friend told me of another threat: she saw a red-tailed hawk swoop into the horse paddock and carry off a pigeon.
So, I pondered and researched and pondered some more.
In an ideal world, the hens would roam the pastures, ride the occasional sheep, and generally be everywhere. But leaving them roaming now means they'll be picked off by predators.
So, I spent the past weekend building the chicken fortress: an enclosed coop and yard, surrounded by electric poultry netting.
I'm almost certain I'll get shocked on a daily basis. Will it keep the fox out and the hawk at bay?
Time will tell.