Rural Design Solutions: An Inexpensive DIY Anti-Roosting Feature

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The Situation

I now live on my girlfriend’s rural farm populated by over 150 birds. Chickens, ducks, geese, fowl, turkeys.

The Antagonists

This is one of my dogs, Kit. He is a Shiba Inu. Cute, sure, but he’s still a dog, and dogs are natural-born killers.

This is a Guinea Fowl. There are several dozen of them on the property. Guinea Fowl are foolishly brave, ornery, and prone to short, height-limited bouts of flight, though they spend most of their time on the ground.

The Built Environment

To prevent Kit and his sister Betsy from attacking the birds on the farm, I had 300 feet of fence laid to create a massive enclosed dog run, attached to the house I’m situated in.

The fencing is welded wire. I opted for five-foot-tall, which is impossible for a Shiba Inu to jump over. The posts are pressure-treated 4x4s dug below the frost line and anchored with concrete. They are spaced 10 feet apart and the wire has been stretched, making the fence plenty sturdy. The dogs cannot get through this fence.

The wire is too narrow for a bird to roost on. The tops of the 4x4s have been cut at a 45-degree angle to prevent standing water from sitting atop them after a storm. Conveniently, the angle also makes it unappealing for birds seeking to roost.

The Problem

Shortly after the fence was constructed, Kit returned to the house with a freshly killed Guinea Fowl in his mouth. It was a grisly scene, as he had begun eating the poor bird. The photo below is a considerably more sanitary version of what I saw.

I could not figure out how the Fowl had gotten into the enclosure; though they roost in trees at night, I’d never seen one fly up and over the fence to land on the other side. They simply don’t do it, and there is no place for them to roost on the fence itself.

Several days later, another Fowl was found inside the enclosure. I managed to distract my dogs and get them inside the house before the bird was killed, then investigated. The Fowl was desperately trying to get out by running around the perimeter, but was not inclined to take flight. I reasoned it must have been roosting somewhere along the fence and fallen into the enclosure.

On a subsequent morning I solved the mystery. By the time I grabbed my phone to take a picture it was too late, but I spotted several Guinea Fowl roosting on top of the gate, which is flat. Previously the two Fowl must’ve fallen into the enclosure and were stymied as to how to escape it.

The Solution

I needed to add an anti-roosting feature to the gate. Commercial solutions exist and they mostly involve spiky wires. But most folks around here, including my girlfriend, prefer to build their own solutions to local problems, using whatever’s at hand. I decided to take a page out of her book and not spend any money.

I located a scrap of pressure-treated 2×6 in an empty stall up at the stables. Actually I had to get through a wasp nest to retrieve it but that’s another story. I used my favorite saw, this 15-inch Shark…

…to cut the 2×6 to length. I then sawed a bunch of V’s into it.

My idea was to find and cut a second 2×6 to do the same thing, but then I realized I could use the waste from the first board to create a second spiky board. 

So I stuck the scraps back into the first board, then clamped it to a 2×4 that I cut to length. This spaced the scrap triangles out perfectly…

…then I just screwed them in from the bottom.

Then it was just a matter of screwing these to the tops of the two gate doors. (If you’re wondering why the gate is so wide, it’s because I need to be able to get the riding mower through it, which has a 54-inch deck.)

All of the screws involved are GRK fasteners meant for outdoor use, so I don’t expect them to rust.

The wood, pressure-treated though it is, may eventually need to be replaced after a number of years. But this was quick to create, and I didn’t spend a dime (I already had the fasteners).

So far no Guineas have attempted to roost on the gate. With any luck this problem has been solved.

Source: core77

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