Advice on Covering Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cyanne, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    I am converting the dog run on the side of my house into a chicken run, complete with 8ft by 8ft coop. Using advice from here I am working to make the coop itself solid and predator-proof.

    The run is about 12 ft wide and 30 ft long. One side is made up of the wall of my house, the other side and one end are a 6ft tall wood privacy fence. The front end/gate area is a short, 3 ft tall wood fence.

    The question I have is this, what is the best way to keep the chickens in the run?

    I was thinking of putting up some kind of netting over the top of the run. I'd love to hear what other members have used and what their experiences were. How expensive was it, how well did it stand up to being outside, any drawbacks, how did it look, etc?

    Also, any tips on places to purchase the netting at the best prices would be appreciated as well.

    Thanks!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I would argue that the bigger concern is probably keeping predators from getting in. For daytime TX predators that wouldn't be deterred by privacy fencing, I'm thinking hawks and raccoons. (Yes, raccoons do sometimes hunt during daylight). I'd worry about dogs or coyotes digging under the privacy fence, too, unless you've already protected against that.

    Netting like you describe will keep hawks out and chickens in, but will not impress raccoons. To keep raccoons out you need wire mesh; 2x4 is fine if the run is tall (like you can walk in it), but risky if it's just chicken-height as you don't want a raccoon raching thru and grabbing someone's head.

    GOod luck,

    Pat
     
  3. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    I am concerned a little about hawks, though the run would be tough for them to fly into with the location next to the house and the trees overhead. Hopefully the netting will solve that.

    Dogs are pretty much a non-issue. The neighbor on that side has no dogs to dig under the fence, and even if a dog tried to dig in, the fence is lined on my side with wire fencing that is buried underground (I used to use this as a run for my dogs and had to make sure they couldn't get out). The rest of my yard has been similarly dog-proofed over the years because of my own dogs and my neighbors' dogs attempts to 'integrate.' Two of my dogs are labs and two are papillons so I've had to fix my fence to be dig proof AND prevent the little ones from squeezing underneath.

    As for raccoons and other predators like that, I am building the coop to withstand them just in case, because I know they can show up even in the city, but I'm not too worried about them especially during the daytime because I live in a typical suburban neighborhood and my yard is boxed in on all sides by other yards (all but one of which are filled with big, mean dogs). I think that if a raccoon has the balls to climb across 3 yards full of pit bulls, boxers, and labradors, and THEN face down my 4 dogs just to make it to my chickens I might just let him have a free chicken dinner. [​IMG]

    Or maybe not. [​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:LOL

    Ok, as long as you know the risk you're taking. They DO forage in daytime, especially when populations are dense and food is tight (e.g. in urban or suburban areas), and especially this time of year when there are young'uns to feed. I could very much envision a raccoon walking along the tops of fences, neenering the dogs. But as you say, it is not like it is a guaranteed going-to-happen-all-the-time thing.

    Good luck,

    Pat, who sees raccoons in the daytime several times a year and it's not like I'm always staring out the window looking for them
     
  5. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    Oh yeah, I've definitely seen plenty of wildlife that has adapted to live around here, I've even seen deer, possums, and raccoons in the middle of Austin.

    The only reason I don't worry *too* much about them during the day is that we're smack in the middle of suburban h311, and during the day there is always activity all around that keeps the critters shy of coming near. I'm pretty well covered on all sides by the moat of dogs in other people's yards, and in the front there are scads of screaming children that probably make any sensible animal want to avoid the area like the plague (it definitely makes me feel that way).

    Now, night-time is a different story. Although pretty much everyone else leaves their dogs out at night [​IMG], a raccoon could easily walk right across my front yard and climb right over the fence into the run. So we're building the coop to be as predator-proof as possible and plan to lock them in at night.

    One thing that makes me feel a little less nervous is that I've been gardening in my back yard for the past few years and I've planted plenty of stuff that raccoons and whatnot love to steal (including watermelons and corn), but I've never had anything other than birds mess with any of it. Either they don't know it's there, or the smell of my dogs in the backyard makes them look elsewhere I guess. Hopefully that is a good sign for the chickens!
     
  6. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    Oh, and I'm still hoping to hear from anybody who can give me tips on the best types of netting to use and where to get it at reasonable prices.

    Would love to hear about your experiences with the different types and with the customer service and prices of anywhere you've purchased.

    thanks!
     

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