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You have your flock of chickens ready and rearing to go when you finally move them into their own enclosed area. However, after a few days, you return to get some eggs and notice that holes are suddenly dug throughout the enclosure, some even near the edge of the fence.
In general, chickens will not dig their way under a fence to escape; instead, they dig holes to naturally give themselves dust baths. However, these holes can be quite deep and randomly located around the fenced-in area, potentially creating weak spots on the fence.
We recommend that you ensure that our chickens are always safe and ready to help them experience everything they need for the best possible life. There are several dangers to chickens that you cannot always avoid, and each of these can be overcome with proper planning.
How Do You Keep Chickens From Digging Under The Fence?
The simplest way of keeping your chickens from digging under the fence is to bury the fence a few feet under the ground. The chickens will never dig deep enough to reach the bottom of the fence, which can then be used by predators to get into the enclosed area of the fence.
We always recommend people to also have two lines of fencing, one normal chicken wire and another one that is about one or two feet from the chicken wire that is normal fencing. This will keep predators from easily reaching your chickens and potentially harming them through the fence.
Usually, if you see a hole that has been dug under the fence of your chicken enclosure, it is because a predator has come looking for a way to come in. Most of these land-based predators will easily dig one or two feet into the earth to try and get to the chickens.
What Would Dig Under A Chicken Coop?
Predators will always dig underneath the chicken coop before trying anything else, which is why you need to ensure there is a way to handle them. If the chickens have been digging near the fence for their dust baths, it will be obvious weak spots for the predators to focus on.
If you notice that there are holes that seemingly go from both sides of the chicken coop, a predator is trying its very best to come in. You should first close up any holes you see, then start working on ways to either capture or chase away the predator.
Further, it is never recommended that you ignore the holes forever; it can weaken the integrity of your entire chicken coop. Instead, move through the coop once a month and fill in any of the holes the chickens have made, ensuring that none of the holes they dig can be too deep.
Why Do Chickens Dig?
Chickens dig for the same reason that other birds and wild animals will roll in mud and play in the sand to help with pests. Giving themselves dust baths and soaking up as much sand as possible will always be a good way for the birds to reduce ticks, fleas, and mites that may bother them.
This is why it is actually not a great idea to have the chickens washed regularly if they are going to be living outside. Instead, focusing on the grass around the coop to ensure that there is no chance for the pests to actually enter the chicken coop.
We recommend having some loose sand for the chickens to do these dust baths in, or else they will peck through the grass and turn most of your coop area into arid land. There is always a reason that your animals will exhibit certain behavior, and for chickens, things are usually straightforward.
Can Chickens Clear A Six-Foot Fence?
Yes, if a chicken is motivated enough and given enough space, it will easily jump over any object that is six feet high. Despite chickens not being able to achieve normal flight, they still have the muscles and bone structure to achieve significant lift-off when properly motivated.
To prevent this, a good fence height is usually around 10 to 12 feet in height, allowing the chickens to also be safer from any birds of prey. However, we would recommend that you have your pen fully enclosed, as hawks and owls can still fly in and out of a fenced-in area if they are really hungry.
As for the chickens, once the fence becomes too high, they will not attempt to fly out as they prefer to walk or run away from their problems anyway. It is always healthy to have your chickens in a coop with fences that go deep enough to not be dug under and are high enough to not be jumped over.
What Would Dig Under A Chicken Fence?
Generally speaking, there are only two animals on farms that would dig under the fence of your chicken fence, foxes and coyotes. Both of these animals are natural diggers and will easily dig several feet straight down to try and get to your precious egg-laying chickens.
Further, your chicken fence is only meant to keep your chickens safe on the inside, making it useless to keep predators outside. You must have a proper fence around the perimeter of the chicken fence that is stronger and deeper than the chicken fence to ensure predators cannot get close.
We would recommend getting the fence that you would use on the borders of your own yard for this, with many people even building low walls with fencing on top. This prevents anything from digging beneath the fence as well as preventing anything from simply breaking it.
How To Keep Chickens Safe?
If you need to keep your chickens safe, there are several things that we recommend adding to your coop setup. First is a rooster, as they naturally fight anything that may be a threat and will keep the ladies safe inside the actual coop where things cannot simply catch them.
Further, automatic lights chase away most predators as they are frightened, while a good electric fence as a perimeter will stop animals from even trying to dig. As an added extra, installing locks on the gates and the doors that lead into the chicken coop will ensure no human interference.
The last thing that we recommend doing is to ensure that everything is closed and that the chickens are all where they are meant to be. Ensuring that there is no way that any of the birds can accidentally be bothered or hurt by something that sneaks through a small gap in the door.
Your chickens will not specifically try to dig under your chicken wire; instead, they will merely try to get the best possible dust bath they can find. However, we do recommend burying the fence as predators will use the holes made by the chickens to sneak in and have a feast on your precious birds.
Whatever you do, please never underestimate the tenacity of a rooster and a farm dog working together to stop a predator!