New to forum -- posted in the intro section a few minutes ago. Located in Louisiana and getting started with a few chicks.
Building a coop for a planned max of 5 hens, and am using an existing unused playhouse as the skeleton to do so. I had planned on just using the bottom area and keeping the top bird-free to save it in the case that i ever wanted to use it as a playhouse and build a separate coop.. but I figure as my wife and I don't have any human children yet.. I'll just build another playhouse later and use the top too to give a bigger space for the hens. I have not begun work on the top portion yet.
The bottom of the playhouse was just bare 4x4 stilts and I am currently closing it in. Looking for some advice with my flooring.. since it is ground-level. The plan is to cover the ground with hardware cloth on the entire bottom (ground) of the coop leaving some overlap to connect a lip to the 2x6's running the perimeter of the bottom. On top of the hardware cloth, I plan to use 2x4's screwed to the 2x6's as floor joists to give the floor a small elevation. Then cover the 2x4 joists with plywood. Is this enough to deter predators? I see the suggestions of burying the hardware cloth a foot into the ground.. but I'm connecting the hardware cloth to wood and covering with solid floorboards.. so I didn't know if that was solid enough. Be a determined predator to get through all that! Not saying I put it past one though... Located in a decently-spaced residential area (1/2 acre backyard), mainly we just have raccoons and birds of prey.
The coop as a whole will have a rustic appeal.. going with a shiplap look for the sides (which will be backed by hardware cloth) with an old window frame up front (that will have hardware cloth connected to the 2x4s backing it as well). I will have an enter/exit gate on the front of the left side that is already there in the pics but just a frame, already built an elevated nesting box with hinged top (made of 2x6s for weight and then latched) off the back of the coop (will have tin covering for water barrier), and will build a roost section with a hinged wall area for easy clean out off the right side. We plan to let them out into the yard daily as well once they're grown, but I'm going to open an area to a small run too.. just haven't gotten to that part yet.
Here as some current pics: the larger gaps at the bottom, etc will all be closed.. I'm just doing the rough-work first.
Thanks in advance for all advice