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Predator Proofing run and coop

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hope it is okay to post in this section, my main concern is predators. I live in Upstate SC surrounded by woods upon woods. Predators I know reside are a large number of coyotes (can hear them some nights going absolutely bonkers), raccoons (have only seen tracks), opossums (one lives under the house and the other I saw was HUGE). I'm sure there are foxes and loose cats, neighbors told me about the occasional loose dog. I want to predator proof to the max without the use of an electric fence if at all possible.

Our run is going to built from a 10x10 dog kennel with the addition of the side of the coop. The wiring is pretty beat up, it was previously used to contain a couple pyranees boys with separation anxiety.

My current plan is to use 1/4" hardware cloth up to a certain point along the chain link. I want to add a 2 foot apron along the bottom of the chain as well. I am wondering how tall the cloth needs to be up on the chain? 24"? 36"? 48"? Also wondering what kind if wire is goof for the apron. Does it need to be 1/4" or is larger, cheaper wire okay? Going to attach the wire on the chain with zip ties, is that good enough? Should it go inside or outside? How should I attach the apron to the chain link? I want to pit cinderblocks on top of that with the holes up and put some plants in there. Saw that idea on someone's coop here.

After this is figured out I will have questions about roofing.
post #2 of 6

Welcome to BYC. You are headed down the right path to protect your coop / run. You can use 1/4" hardware wire, or if it is cheaper, you can use 1/2" hardware wire. If you have it 24" high, that will prevent a large predator from reaching in and grabbing a chicken who is near the fence. But chain link fence is not a great fencing option. The openings are large enough to let predators through. My dogs cornered an opossum in their run, which is chain link, and it started to escape through the chain link fence. I called off the dogs and thought I was going to have to go rescue the critter because there was no way he was going to fit through. Low and behold, he made it through. I would have bet $100 he was going to get stuck! So while hardware wire around the bottom will provide protection, the chain link above will be a weak spot for things like opossums, weasels etc. If you can, use hardware wire all the way from top to bottom. It will cost more yes, but will provide much better protection. You can use zip ties to attach the hardware wire. Put it on the inside of the chain link fence. A predator will pull on the wire, so if the hardware wire is on the inside, the chain link will keep it in place. If it is on the outside, it can separate from the chain link.

 

On my run, I have a double layer of fencing. The framework is 4x4 posts, and I have 2"x4" field fence on the outside, and 1/2" hardware wire on the inside. The two fences are separated by 3 inches, and I have never had any losses when the chickens and ducks are inside the pen. I have had a bobcat climbing on the outer fence, and it was able to bend it up a bit, but it could not touch the inner fence. The birds were safely locked up in the coop for the night, so even if it got into the pen, it would then have to break into the coop.

 

Here's a picture of my coop. The run has the double fencing.

 

post #3 of 6

24 inches up is ok for most predators so long as you are closing the girls up inside the secure coop at night. Make sure your pop door has latches that coons cannot open. The reason you see the 24 inches suggested a lot is that there are critters that will reach in through the chain link and grab a chicken dusting or sleeping by the fence. It is a very grisly scene to be greeted with when parts of a chicken have been pulled off through a fence. Go higher if you can or double layer the fence with a 2x4 welded wire since your fencing has been compromised already from the dogs.

 

You can use hog rings for the fencing attachment. More long lasting than zip ties and easy enough with the right pliers. They come in an assortment of gauges as well.

This is what they look like.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Prime-Line-1-Small-Size-Hog-Ring-Fasteners-100-Count-HR-14001/100174826

 

You can also use the 1/2inch hardware cloth if you prefer. It is a bit more expensive but is also a heavier gauge so stronger than the 1/4 inch.

 

On my old run I had 2x4 welded wire with a chicken wire layered on top. It kept coons and a fox out. Not sure that it would keep out coyotes though.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have no idea opossums could do that! I was going to just do the bottom but now that I research, I think weasels are a concern. I think for now I will secure the run as best I can afford and I will lock them in the coop at night. As I can afford it, I will add to the run until it's completely secure. I want them to be able to let them have access to the run and coop all the time eventually but that will have to wait until I can afford it. Are weasels typically out during the day?

 I found 1/4" hardware cloth 48"x 50' for $60 on Amazon. I think I will start by putting it 2.5' high on the fencing and 1.5" for the apron. Can I wrap the hardware cloth from the inside of the fencing under the frame for the chain link and out to make the apron or do I need to make the apron separate?

 

I plan to fence in underneath the shed that will be the coop as well. I think I will use the double fencing method with 4x4s that you mentioned there, thomasboyle.

 

For the door of the run I'm going to use wood attached to the chain link to block the gaps. They are pretty big. Should the wood be on the inside or the outside and how do I attach it?

 

And now that I've figured out how to add pictures! 

 

post #5 of 6

Weasels will hunt during the day.  If hungry enough, any predator will hunt during the day.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #6 of 6

Our coop and run was built as a single unit with a metal roof - the run is about 8 x 4, plus another 4x4 for the coop. The bottom of the coop is covered with a 4 inch square fencing wire, and then we put the whole thing over cheap concrete pavers all the way out past the sidewalls, so it's elevated a bit to accommodate the pavers in the middle. We filled the inside with about 2 cubic yards of arena sand and put some loose bedding over that. The sand helps with drainage when it gets particularly wet and gives the girls a place to dust bathe when we have to keep them in for some reason. They free range most of the day otherwise.

 

So any predator would have to dig up through the concrete pavers and the wire to get to the girls - when they're put in for the night, I have absolutely no worries that something will get to them. It was expensive, but it was completely worth it for the peace of mind. Since our coop and run are also wood framed, it keeps the bottom out of contact with the wet ground, which I hope will mean it will last longer.

Brand new chick mama to 2 Silver Cuckoo Marans, 2 Speckled Sussex, 2 Buff Brahmas, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Wellsummers, and 2 Easter Eggers.
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Brand new chick mama to 2 Silver Cuckoo Marans, 2 Speckled Sussex, 2 Buff Brahmas, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Wellsummers, and 2 Easter Eggers.
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