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Gardening

Thinking of transforming my vegetable bed into a flower bed this year. I want to give the soil a break and add some diversity, plus I want to attract bees and other pollinators.
Going for a Midwest prairie/wildflower meadow.

Hoping to have enough plant diversity that I’ll have some sort of bloom throughout the entire summer.

I’m in Chicago with a 5b/6a zone.

Any suggestions/tips?

yamar68 ?
 

Stakem

Tômester
This isnt exactly garden talk, but its closely relevant to our interests...

Im already well aware that deer are gonna be a problem at our new home and im planning on fencing our future gardens in as well as investing in a green house.

What I might have drastically underestimated is just how difficult it is going to be to keep chickens alive. Anyone know of any fort knox style coops?

The list of predators I need to deter is rather large...

Feral cats
Bob cats
Foxes
Coyotes
Fishers
Weasels
Racoons
Bear
Eagles/Falcons/misc birds of prey
Owls
Snakes
 
This isnt exactly garden talk, but its closely relevant to our interests...

Im already well aware that deer are gonna be a problem at our new home and im planning on fencing our future gardens in as well as investing in a green house.

What I might have drastically underestimated is just how difficult it is going to be to keep chickens alive. Anyone know of any fort knox style coops?

The list of predators I need to deter is rather large...

Feral cats
Bob cats
Foxes
Coyotes
Fishers
Weasels
Racoons
Bear
Eagles/Falcons/misc birds of prey
Owls
Snakes
Lots and lots of hardware cloth.
 
What I might have drastically underestimated is just how difficult it is going to be to keep chickens alive. Anyone know of any fort knox style coops?

The list of predators I need to deter is rather large...

Feral cats
Bob cats
Foxes
Coyotes
Fishers
Weasels
Racoons
Bear
Eagles/Falcons/misc birds of prey
Owls
Snakes
From my short experience with chickens this is not an easy problem to tackle. I was amazed at the tiny spaces that raccoons and possums could get through to steal eggs. Fortunately, they were small enough that they weren't killing the chickens YET. A neighbor told me he's had raccoons break in and rip the chickens heads off... WTF.

The hardware cloth mentioned above sounds like a good plan, but you're probably going to have some trial and error that isn't fun. Our issue the last month is hawks all over central Texas. They've realized we have chickens (as well as two others on our street), and they've basically set up shop. We have to stay outside with the hens when we let them roam. We've joked about getting those inflatable car dealership things to sway around and scare the hawks... that hasn't materialized yet.

I've also heard getting roosters helps protect the hens from small predators, but then you have roosters and they're loud af.
 

Stakem

Tômester
From my short experience with chickens this is not an easy problem to tackle. I was amazed at the tiny spaces that raccoons and possums could get through to steal eggs. Fortunately, they were small enough that they weren't killing the chickens YET. A neighbor told me he's had raccoons break in and rip the chickens heads off... WTF.

The hardware cloth mentioned above sounds like a good plan, but you're probably going to have some trial and error that isn't fun. Our issue the last month is hawks all over central Texas. They've realized we have chickens (as well as two others on our street), and they've basically set up shop. We have to stay outside with the hens when we let them roam. We've joked about getting those inflatable car dealership things to sway around and scare the hawks... that hasn't materialized yet.

I've also heard getting roosters helps protect the hens from small predators, but then you have roosters and they're loud af.
I got into a discussion with my future neighbor about the chickens and she said they tried for years to have them but the predators always prevailed so they quit trying.

Im planning on having more than one rooster so long as the flock size will allow it and the dominant one doesnt kill off the others.

Not that I want the chickens to be close to the road or our house but im thinking placement near one or the other might be better than on the edge of the woods.
 
I got into a discussion with my future neighbor about the chickens and she said they tried for years to have them but the predators always prevailed so they quit trying.

Im planning on having more than one rooster so long as the flock size will allow it and the dominant one doesnt kill off the others.

Not that I want the chickens to be close to the road or our house but im thinking placement near one or the other might be better than on the edge of the woods.
They weren't trying hard enough. Dig a hole a foot deep and a foot wider than you want your coop to be. Build some 4x4 uprights and 2x8 bottom brackets halfway below ground. Fill it with concrete (a bit below ground level in the middle so you can put dirt/wood chips/whatever). Erect the rest of the structure in wood, cover it with the hardware cloth multiple times, secured with the longest staples you can put in. Whatever you use for entries (for egg collection, doors for you to get in, doors for them to get into a run) make them as flush as you can on all 4 sides, with beefy hinges and a latch that a racoon can't open (either because it has a literal lock or because it's made for it, the fuckers are smart).

Honestly, if anything can get into something like that, just tip your fucking hat.
 
This isnt exactly garden talk, but its closely relevant to our interests...

Im already well aware that deer are gonna be a problem at our new home and im planning on fencing our future gardens in as well as investing in a green house.

What I might have drastically underestimated is just how difficult it is going to be to keep chickens alive. Anyone know of any fort knox style coops?

The list of predators I need to deter is rather large...

Feral cats
Bob cats
Foxes
Coyotes
Fishers
Weasels
Racoons
Bear
Eagles/Falcons/misc birds of prey
Owls
Snakes
Sounds like you need a donkey and a few dogs.
 

Stakem

Tômester
They weren't trying hard enough.
Im left to believe they didnt try very hard or were quite lazy about it.

Kinda assuming they didnt even close the birds up at night in the coop.

They also asked me if I have a dog and to “be careful” with him. Apparently they rescued theirs from stalking/circling coyotes on a couple occasions. But these are the same folks who leave their dog out at night and whoopsie forget to leave it back in the house before going to bed. 🤦
 
We have chickens under the deck which is located on a canyon. Pests include rats, squirrels, coyotes, hawks, opossums, raccoons, and skunks. Haven't had an issue yet. There is a large run with a coop that has an automatic door that opens and closes.

I've only seen issues with rats, since they can get through some really tiny spaces. They will get in to eat some of the food at night. They can't get into the coop at night though since it's pretty much a shed with hardware cloth around the windows.
 
Im left to believe they didnt try very hard or were quite lazy about it.

Kinda assuming they didnt even close the birds up at night in the coop.

They also asked me if I have a dog and to “be careful” with him. Apparently they rescued theirs from stalking/circling coyotes on a couple occasions. But these are the same folks who leave their dog out at night and whoopsie forget to leave it back in the house before going to bed. 🤦
To be honest I mostly wanted to convince you to build a bomb-shelter chicken coop. I really love the idea of some random predator trying to dig its way in and hitting concrete over and over, for some reason that amuses me.
 
This isnt exactly garden talk, but its closely relevant to our interests...

Im already well aware that deer are gonna be a problem at our new home and im planning on fencing our future gardens in as well as investing in a green house.

What I might have drastically underestimated is just how difficult it is going to be to keep chickens alive. Anyone know of any fort knox style coops?

The list of predators I need to deter is rather large...

Feral cats
Bob cats
Foxes
Coyotes
Fishers
Weasels
Racoons
Bear
Eagles/Falcons/misc birds of prey
Owls
Snakes
My uncle built a bomb-proof coop. He basically build a shed (wood kit like you might find at Home Depot) then retrofitted it with a heavier door and made a cutout on the side to allow the chickens to “go outside”. The “outside coop” was approximately 4’ x 8’ with 4x4 posts every 4’, including a roof. Then covered it with heavy duty metal caging, similar to this. https://www.uline.com/Product/Detai...gyJ0SOiTtGGdg3l80GRoCCUUQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

it was expensive, and the coup has electricity, heat, etc. these chickens live betree than most humans. But they never lost one to a predator, and they have lots of coyotes, foxes, etc.
 
20200216_142557.jpg

This is the finished unfinished coop I built. I still need to install the automatic door opener/closer, paint and install the roofing material. Perhaps a better source of electricity for heaters and lights other than an extension cord running into the bottom
The door leads out to the chicken run that has electric wire running along the bottom and above the fencing.
We havent had any predator loss since doing the electric wire.
 

Stakem

Tômester
We havent had any predator loss since doing the electric wire.
I probably should put some more consideration into this approach.

My buddy wants to have bee hives but doesnt have space for it. I told him he can use my property as it would be mutually beneficial for us.

Because of the bears, we would need to have electric runs to them anyway.
 
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Had to work most the weekend so haven’t made a ton of progress on the beds. Basically leveled the area where the two beds will go. Decided on 2 long 12x3’ beds that come 2 feet off the ground. Will have a path in the middle(where the dirt is currently piled) that will make all the plants easy to access.795E523F-CADE-4B54-8517-27B9D5A2A7FA.jpeg
 
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