Advice for the bottom of a coop run?

soniasilbert

In the Brooder
Feb 26, 2021
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26
Hi there,

I've been reading various threads on this but can't quite figure it out. We're predator-proofing our run and trying to figure out what to do with the floor. It seems like there are number of options - could you tell me what you think the pros/cons of each are? I already bought a bunch of hardware cloth. Here's what I can see as our options:
  1. Have the HC as the floor of the coop and have it run about a foot around the perimeter as an apron - keep it down with those hard steeple/staple things.
  2. Have the HC as the floor of the coop and have the edges curl up and attach to the walls, making a "bathtub" type thing.
  3. Dig the HC down around the perimeter a foot.
  4. Don't have HC on the run of the coop but do an apron or digging.
I'm inclined to do #1 or #2 because digging is difficult, but I don't feel like I have a good enough sense of what will really help reduce the threat from predators.

Thank you for any advice!

Sonia
 

aart

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3KillerBs

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#3 or #4 -- install your anti-dig protection on the outside of the run and let the chickens have access to the natural ground (topped with a suitable litter as necessary after they destroy the vegetation). Chickens are like mini-backhoes -- they LOVE to dig.

Digging is a natural behavior for them and I don't like to frustrate my animals' natural behaviors because I believe that leads to behavior problems cropping up (look up "Displacement behavior"), because their instincts are telling them to do what has been rendered impossible. :)
 

gtaus

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Mar 29, 2019
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We're predator-proofing our run and trying to figure out what to do with the floor.

Depends on what kinds of predators you have. Could you update your bio and add your location? That might help people fine tune their advice.

I went through the same concerns you are considering. In the end, I estimated the only daytime predators I had to worry about were neighborhood dogs, and hawks and bald eagles from above. So I built my chicken run with 2X4 welded wire, no predator apron, no hardware cloth, but I did add bird netting on top of the run to protect my chickens from hawks and eagles. I built a Fort Knox chicken coop and lock my chickens up in that every night. Other than a bear, I don't think anything could get in there.

Of your 4 options, I would eliminate options 1, 2, and 3. I would consider option 4 but with a 2 foot predator apron, not just 1 foot. This is only based on YouTube videos I have seen by the guys from Carolina Coops. That is what they put down on their custom built coops to protect against predators. But, like I said, in the end I did not even feel that I needed a predator apron around my chicken run.

And to be clear, I have seen some neighborhood dogs come sniffing around the chicken run during the daytime. When a dog comes into the yard, the chickens all run into the chicken coop, the dog loses interest and goes away, and then the chickens come back outside.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
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Aug 7, 2020
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What are the walls of the run going to be? HC is probably the most effective deterrent to predators. Chicken wire will keep chickens in, but many predators (like raccoons) can get through it, or even reach through and grab a chicken.

I have an apron around the run. It's HC on the ground, held down by some bricks, pavers, and rocks. I string trim around the run when the grass grows through.
 

gtaus

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I have an apron around the run. It's HC on the ground, held down by some bricks, pavers, and rocks. I string trim around the run when the grass grows through.

IIRC, the guys from Carolina Coops lay down a 2 foot predator apron, then lock it into place using some kind of U-shaped lawn staples, then they give it a light coat of dirt which allows the grass to grow through and self buries the predator apron at the same time. That way you can mow your lawn up to the chicken run fence. If you have a grass lawn to start with, I think that approach would be easiest. But, yeah, if you had wire exposed, I would not run it over with my mower and in that case the string trimmer is the better option.
 

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