A bulletproof coop and run


In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 19, 2012
This is my first post.

I was told the way to start with chickens is to start the run and coop and THEN get the chickens. So that is what I am doing.....sort of.

We started with 8 copper moran chicks and a broody rhode Island red "mother" with a chickenwire coop with an "upstairs" roost and nesting boxes. Have had them for about a month, and every night there were new signs of skunk/foxes/raccoons digging. The night before last, something chewed through the wire and got in, but apparently was scared away cuz no chicks or chicken were gone. We just lucked out I guess.

So we put them in the new big secure coop, which is raised 2 feet off the ground with locking doors on either end. Reinforced the ground and sides of it with barbed wire and chicken wire. Last night, to my great satisfaction, nothing even TRIED to get in. No new footprints. Nothing.

We started the run last weekend, by cutting to the ground a giant hedge next to a massive 5 foot high chain link back fence, about 80 feet long. After removing the hedge material (someone gave me a 1964 Ford F-550 cabover that has already been a godsend! Ugly as hell, but as useful and practical and sturdy as a rake), we laid down a six foot wide piece of hardware cloth that had been sitting near our back fence for 8 years since we bought it, tightly attached it to the chain link fence with hundreds of metal zip ties, and now nothing is trying to dig under THAT fence from the outside. We are building a huge rectangular chicken run, completely enclosed as follows: 80 feet long, six feet wide, with one existing heavy duty 5 foot chainlink side (as the run's structural "spine") and one newly-built chicken wire side fastened to t-posts. With a plywood "roof" over the whole thing, which will be covered on the outside with tight rows of barbed wire about 1 inch apart stapled to the plywood. My theory is that people critisize barbed wire because they space it too far apart. What was the deadliest weapon in the Spanish American war and World War 1? Barbed wire.....but it has to be in very tight coils or rows in order to work. Traditional fencing where the wire is stretched between posts about a foot or two apart is of course worthless! The chickenwire side fence will have chicken wire facing the inside of the run, barbed wire facing the outside of the t-posts, which quite nicely hold the two layers of wire about two inches apart, keeping the chickens from getting injured by the barbed wire. On the outside of that side and the outside of the chainlink side, we are placing tightly strung rows of barbed wire in close rows about an inch apart.

We got 2 gigantic rolls of "4-barb" barbed wire and 8 partial rolls for $50 and 20 sheets of used plywood for 100 bucks. The entire run will be completely covered with this horrifying stuff attached in tightly-affixed 1-inch rows. The rolls of chickenwire was already on the place in rolls unused when we bought the place, along with most of the t-posts. The chainlink fence is our preexisting back boundary fence and very well made and very strong. We are digging 2 foot deep trenches around the outside perimeter of the run, attaching hardware cloth to the bottom of the fencing into an "L" shape, and on top of the hardware cloth filling the trenches with row after row of tangled barbed wire, then back filling with dirt.

Every neighbor in our neighborhood has horror stories about massive chicken kills. That will not happen to us. As a last line of defense, we are placing 12 2-inch diameter wooden posts across the run about 3.5 feet off the ground should some animal make it past the formidable fencing. We are not clipping our chicken's wings.

Next spring, I would like to get and raise 20 more chicks once we are confident this run and coop are absolutely secure. I think it is. Wish me luck.
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and good luck with the predator wars.
Wow, you have been very busy! Best of luck with keeping those awful predators away. You can also go with the Night Guard system. It works well for most predators with the exception of coons who are color blind.
There is a pretty big space between the chicken wire and the barbed wire, but thanks for thinking about it. Probably will use some spacers to keep the two layers of fence apart.

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