A good night’s sleep and clearer minds prevailed this morning. A run to Home Depot for a 100′ roll of 15′ wide bird net, 3 long poles, and a roll of velcro plant tie up tape, total expenditure only $40 and my birds should be safe. The hawk, if it dives into that net will require me to call my neighbor’s son, a licensed raptor handler.
My solution involved attaching a length of polycord to the top of the coop, half hitching it around the top of two of the tall poles, then anchoring it to a T post deeper in the run. A length of 6′ tall plastic deer fencing that I already had was used to shorten the length of the run to just beyond the gate that the chickens use to get into the garden when they are allowed. A thin flexible fiberglass pole that I also already had on hand was arched between the two sides of the run just above the new back fence line. Using the polycord like a clothes line, I worked the bird netting over the top, draping it over the side fencing and anchoring it in place with strips of the velcro tape. At the coop end, the netting was carried over the roof. The only open space left was above the gate and that was closed in by draping another piece of netting to the top net and dangling it down a few inches lower than the top of the gate. That piece not being anchored at the sides or bottom can be pushed out of our way when we open the gate and the net cage is about 7+ feet high down the center, so as long as I don’t have my hair up with clips or sticks to catch in the net, I can move about within the run.
I effectively created a cage that has wire sides and a net top that is tall enough to walk in. Hopefully, it will protect the chickens if they ever get brave enough to go out again. I removed their food and water from inside the coop and ran them out. Each explored a bit, then went right back inside the coop instead of under it like they usually do during the day. I guess when they get hungry or thirsty, they will venture out and eventually learn that they can again be outside.
After that run was finished, I began on a shorter version for the cull birds, however, it started raining a little, then a lot, so I quit for the time.
I did get the first harvest of tomatillos brought in and see many pounds of tomatoes that must be picked and processed pronto. I will venture back out in a little while now that the afternoon storm seems to be passing and pick a bucket full. There are many split ones, lots of overgrown, over ripe cucumbers to toss to the chickens, maybe that will entice them out.
A follow up on the old Opossum that visited while at my son’s house.
He came back last Thursday, the day I left, cuddled up against their lawnmower under the porch and died. Wildlife experts say they only live about 2 years in the wild, but he looked like a little shriveled old man. Daughter in law took him away from the house and buried him.