Hi all, we are working on our run and are going to enclose a tree for the chickens to have some shade and also to roost and play on. We have racoons and are trying to figure out the best way to roof the run around the limbs. There will be 6 limbs we need to cut around. Since we get some high winds that can move those limbs quite a bit, we thought we could cut the space around the limb, and then cut a "plate" size of wire that attaches directly to the limb that would cover and overlap the opening in the other wire. Does that make sense? I'm attaching a front and side view of the run and am open to any suggestions if there might be a better or easier way.
need advice on enclosing tree with wire roof
Well, I'll take a shot at it. Not sure if I can be of much help - but I'll tell you of my experiences. My chickens are in a run, covered with three layers of netting - we just kept adding b/c I said "Wild birds can get in" so I think the last layer is bird netting! Anyway, we built it between a row of existing italian cypress and an orange tree, but no trees in the actual run (about 12' wide). Some of the orange tree branches do overhang the run and there is so much shade in there I am thinking of cutting some back. Plus - it gives wild birds a place to sit in the branches (and poop) and right now I'm wondering how the heck I got a case of canker we're fighting. Lesson learned.
Or, on the other hand, the canker could have come from the place I picked one bird up at, two years ago. They had a tree in the run and had chain link fencing covering it. It was not totally secure to the trunk of the tree, so wild birds could get in and through, and did, sharing their food. So if that is a problem for you, you really need to consider that. You could make the attachment to the limbs flexible by using a little excess barrier (bird netting/chicken wire) that would flex in a wind and maybe secure it with a band or wire..
You have two choices really. One is to build it so it goes over it, like the zoos do for walk in aviaries (which I love the way they do that) - but, seems expensive and an engineering nightmare, or you could attach the wire to the tree with a lower roof. In that case, I'd minimize the # of branches going through the roof to make maintenance easier - just choose two or three. But then, what if the time comes you need to trim the tree? Again, we have had several cypress-type trees overgrow near the run and it is a problem to trim them without damage to the structure.
I don't know what all you are considering, but I think with a tree in the middle you need to look at every possibility - it really complicates things as you probably discovered. I think you are doing a good job of thinking through the problems tho. Good luck - I'd love to see pics of what you finally decide to do.
I do think we will probably cut a few more branches out to make it less of a headache.
The only way to get electric out to it would be dragging a long extension cord across the driveway. I guess I could take a look at solar possibilities.
I appreciate the replies. We have a couple more days before we need to decide.
Here's a pic of what we ended up doing. We did the fencing on top, cutting the hole for the limb to go through, and then attached hardward cloth over that. the clips were kind of pain to attach only because it was awkward to get to them, but I think it worked out pretty good. Debating on whether to do another piece of hardware cloth to the underside for double protection. Around the hole for the limb in the hardward cloth we pulled up the edges so there would be sharp points all around to help discourage any prying paws.
Edited by Chook-A-Holic - 5/2/12 at 4:00pm