Hi, and I'm new! Trying to predator proof my coop and run....I have chicken wire yet understand that is not enough. If I reinforce the chicken wire with hardware cloth, do I buy 1/2" holes or go with 1/4" holes....? Going to 'try' to make the roof out of the same and attach metal sheets for weather deterrent, yet doing this alone with my 14 year old and not going fast nor smooth! Also, is electric fencing good to have for the movable runs in your yard so they can 'free-range'? Living in northern IL in the woods, so many critters can come out during the night....:( Thank you for any advice!
Predator proofing the run.....
We are in the woods in Southern Illinois. To keep away the larger critters that will dig and tear trough things we have two donkeys that share a portion of the coop space. Their side is open to come and go at will with one large wall of chicken wire between them. The rest of the coop has solid walls with a sliding door for entry. We secure that space each night and it locks tight as well as placing cinder blocks at the base of the door at night to prevent go unders by raccoons.
Key to the issue is how you store other foods. Chicken feeders in the chicken yard entice others into the space. For that reason, being in the wild a bit, we only place food and feeders into the shelter. They free range in the pasture uncovered during the day but have scattered shelter they head to when a hawk comes overhead. I rarely end up loosing them. Since food is in shelter and they feel so safe they always come back to roost at night. They also go there to lay their eggs during the day. I don't have them all around the property.
Keep in mind,I can walk into the coop without stooping over and they have a large floor space where food and water are found.
I also keep a trap between the woods and the barn/coop to capture any wood be raccoons who wander our way. I put cat food in it and not chicken food or anything chicken related. If they have to work to hard at it or their buddies get captured they shy away quicker. I got a guinea as well to sqawk for me when trouble comes.
Sounds like you are work hard to protect them. Keep it clean, don't throw waste near your coop when you clean it either.