I wanted to interrupt our regularly schedule chicken learning adventure with the debut of our latest project. As I have mentioned, it has been WWIII between us, the chickens and the family of red-tail hawks that reside in our woods. I have been searching for a better (and inexpensive) solution and stumbled upon the answer a few days ago. I came across this brilliant idea from a fellow blogger’s tale of her chunnels (chicken + tunnel). Her blog can be found HERE. She had a wonderful idea that is becoming very popular among us chicken folk. This idea gave me the foundation I needed for Homestead Redhead style chunnels. Chunnel has become a regular word in our vocabulary this week.
I bought (well actually my sweet husband went out and bought-while I recovered from night shift) 100 ft of the 60 inch welded wire cattle fencing from the feed store.
He also bought a bag of 75 u-shaped ground stakes (what you use to stake bird netting into the ground) and a package of flexible smooth wire.
I spread out the welded wire fencing and cut 5 ft x 5 ft panels. This was really hard work as I don’t have the hand strength to cut with the tin snips very easily, but I did it! I ended up with about 20 panels. I then took a rake and raked all the straw, leaves and sticks out of the way where the chunnel was going to go. Next, I lined them all up extending from the coop to get a feel on how it would look and proper placement.
This all took a few hours so I decided to wait until the next full day I had to complete the project.
I then cut out a large chicken space in the chicken wire in the base of the coop that would be the beginning of the chunnel. I made sure to tuck in all the sharp edges so no one would get cut. I placed the first panel against the new hole and used the smooth wire to sew the chicken wire and chunnel panel together (this idea taken from original chunnel blog-see above). I then used a few of the u-stakes to stake the ends and middle into the grown.
I took the second panel and set it under the first by a few cm so they are overlapping. I then sewed those two together and staked the second panel into the ground. I used the welded wire to help secure any loose space between the panels. I continued this until I got to the last panel. Here I used some of the leftover welded wire panels and cut out a section that would cover the end of the chunnel, I secure it to the last panel with the smooth wire. My intention for the chunnel is to be permanent There are no access points throughout the chunnel, it is secure.
Princess was the first to try it out.
After looking at it, it seemed like it was missing a little something so I added a hint of camouflage:
I raked up the fallen pine-straw from the woods and spread it around the top and on the sides of the chunnel. Some areas are more heavily camouflaged than others, I still wanted to be able to see the girls in the chunnel. I like it camouflaged because it helps hide it from view not only from hawks, but people as well. From the road, it’s not the first thing to draw your attention about the homestead now that it blends in better.
I feel fairly confident that this will help with the hawk issues. The girls will be confined from now on, but at least they have much more space and are free from the sharp eyes (and talons) of the hawks.
All in all, this project took about two days (with the excellent help of my niece) and cost about $100 dollars in materials.
I definitely recommend the chunnel for your flock-it’s safe and fun.
Until next time…
*Update: Camouflage is not necessary when using the chunnel as it is fairly secure-the pine straw has since blown off and I have not replaced it and the chunnel still works like a charm!