I have 5 laying hens in a covered run (1/2 inch welded hardware cloth all around, including underneath the bottom, under the sand) and coop (Wichita Cabin Coop inspired design). The overall footprint is 6x9 feet and the raised coop provides another 3x6 feet of living space, with two roosts and two nesting boxes. Technically, it's enough square footage for 5 hens, but of course I know they would be overjoyed to have more room.
I bought a used dog kennel (7x13 feet) and put it in the woods near the coop. However, to carry each hen back and forth each morning and evening before and after work is time we don't always have in the morning and so they don't make it out there very often. (We have bears in our vicinity, as well as large neighbourhood dogs, so free ranging is not an option.) I have this amazing idea to connect the two via a chicken tunnel, with a pop door at the more secure coop/run end that I would close in the evening once they have come in to roost, keeping them as secure from nighttime predators as they are now.
For daytime security, in the secondary play-yard, I want to cover the top with animal mesh (to keep out hawks and other birds of prey) and I want to reinforce the bottom few feet of the chain link dog kennel (as well as skirt it out along the outside of the ground) with either hardware cloth (like the permanent run) or chicken wire. Obviously the latter is much less expensive. So my question is this:
For a secondary, day-time only run, do you think chain link fencing with chicken wire overlapped (and skirted with paving stones overtop) would be enough to keep out the majority of the day-time predators? Obviously nothing is completely fool-proof, but I'm also loathe to quadruple the cost to get hardware cloth if the chicken wire will provide a reasonably adequate margin of security.
This picture is from just before the coop was finished. This is a stock photo of the type of kennel
The nesting boxes, staining, windows and trim over I bought for the secondary run.
hardware cloth edges were all added afterward.
Edited by MamaHen56 - 3/29/16 at 8:32pm