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Help, I need advise for building a coop and run

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone.

     I have been reading a lot of posts on this site after I got the OK to raise our own chickens.  There is an amazing amount of information here, it is just great.

     So now that I will be starting my first coop and run, I would love some advise.  I have an area of 16' x 21' to work with.  I am only planning on 3-5 chicks at first.  I already have the brooder done (thanks to work for the wonderful wood crate/box).  I now need to work on the coop and run.  I would like to use pallet wood for siding.  I likely will purchase new 2x4's and 2x6's for the frame and then fill in with the pallet wood for a rustic look.  I live in inland southern California, so winters are mild, but the summers are hot.  I will have windows on all sides of the coop for light and ventilation.  I plan to have the nesting boxes inside the coop, but with a door/flap to the outside to check for eggs.

     My main question has to do with hardware wire.  I have seen some comments that the 2" x 4" spacing on the heavier duty wire is too large.  I need to use something for the run, but not sure what to use.  I would like to keep the cost down to a minimum, but want my babies to be safe.  I would also like it to be tall enough to walk under without stooping and my husband is 6'1", so would like it to be about 7' (I have seen some wire at the hardware store that is 7').  Any suggestions as to wire for the run?  Also, is it just as good to lay extra wire out to the sides of the run and put some dirt over it, or is it better to dig down and bury the wire straight down?  Then there is the problem with over the run.  I will have to put something on top of the run to keep cats (and whatever else might be around) out.

     I will have to cover the windows also.  Is the smaller 1/2" hardware cloth heavy duty enough for the windows?

     I will be trying the deep litter method for both the run and coop.  It seems that making the coop floor be the ground would make this work best, but what about security?  Is it better to have a solid floor and just put the deep litter on top of that, or a dirt/ground floor?

     Any and all suggestions would be great.


Thank you all,


Edited by Kim4810 - 3/17/16 at 9:24am
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
It's just me again with an adder to above. The man at the feed store suggested using stucco wire (without the paper) for the run. Has anyone used that, or know if it would work?
post #3 of 4

1/2" HW cloth is what most people use to cover windows and vents, it is thick enough to stop most predators short of maybe a bear!   It tends to be expensive so that why most folks don't just build the whole run out of HW cloth.


some questions that will help with answers to your questions:

will the birds be locked in their coop at night?

are you in a housing neighborhood or more rural wooded area?

what are your major predators?



The apron for my run is simply sections of chainlink fencing that I laid on the ground and wired to the run and to each other.  I then used some wire to stake down the fencing and within a year the apron fencing was gone from sight, the grass/topsoil just gobbled it up.  I can even walk on it bare feet and not feel a thing, we mow right over it.   that was so much easier than digging down for it.


i looked at stucco wire and it looks very similar to chicken wire, you will need to compare the wire gauge to see if it's stronger than chicken wire(which is mostly good for keep chickens in vs keeping predators out).  I'd be interested to compare the price differences to see if the stucco wire it cheaper then chicken wire.  I think one downside of this wire is it's just steel where chicken wire is galvanized I think.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello yyz0yyz0,


Thank you so much for the above.  I have been thinking about doing the skirt around the run and coop instead of digging down.  Glad to hear that it is working well for you.


I will be using the HW cloth on all coop openings.  That is what I was planning, so thank you for confirming that.  My babies will be inside the coop at night.  I plan on getting one of those automatic doors as soon as I can to get them used to it before we go on vacation late this year.  This way I can check on them every night and make sure it is working out well.


The main predators that I have seen, are stray cats and possums (I see these almost daily).  I have been living here for 20 years now and have seen bobcats, fox, coyote's, raccoons a couple of times.  I have heard that neighbors have even seen mountain lions, although I have never seen them, but they are very reliable neighbors.  So I will want to make the run as strong as I can.  I am now thinking about the 2" x 4" HW all around the run, with about a 3' high strip around the bottom edge of the smaller HW cloth (maybe the 1" x 1" stuff).  Does that sound about right. 


I am planning on using the deep litter method for both the coop and run, but still not decided on weather the coop should have a wood floor with that over it or just dirt with the wire skirt around it.  Any thoughts?


Thank you again for the help.


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