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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > Jan/Feb 2020 > NET GAINS


Select better netting for your chicken run to protect your flock from predation from above.

Because we began raising chickens in 2010, my wife, Elaine (pictured), and I have understood the necessity of positioning netting over our two chicken runs. And the type of netting, it seems, that we — and many chickenkeepers — buy is the so-called “lightweight bird” variety. This kind is often placed over fruit trees ripe with berries in order to ward off avian visitors.

This is the netting our local feed-supply store carries, so that was the kind we stretched across our runs. Over the years, it performed reasonably well, keeping at bay the great-horned, barred and screech owls that are native to where we live in southwest Virginia, as well as the red-tailed, broadwinged, sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks.

In recent years, however, two wintertime events caused us to drastically rethink the kind of netting we employ. The first came when the weather forecast was for a heavy, wet snow of some 6 to 9 inches. To be clear, we’ve had numerous wet snowfalls over the past decade or so, and we’ve become used to patching up holes here and there in our netting. But the aforementioned weather event was one the prognosticators said would be much worse than previous wet snowfalls.

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