Anyone heard of predators coming in through the roof?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by AfroChickens, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. AfroChickens

    AfroChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had put up the hardware cloth through half of my run's roof but wasn't going to do the rest because I'm putting a roof on the whole run anyway. (The clear/tinted roof material so light can get in but rain will stay out). I'm using multiple patio/deck screws to put it in to make it secure. I haven't seen a raccoon since moving in but I'm really worried about them. I know they will grab through the cage if the opening is big enough but I was wondering do they (or can they) tear through a roof? Would any predators tear through the roof

    I will throw barbed wire up there if I have to do it. Someone stop me. Please. I'm already over budget haha.

    Also looking for other tips. Motion lights too? Nite guard? I'm lining the bottom with hardware cloth. Doing a sand floor on top. May put a few of the extra huge rock/slabs I have left over from the previous owner in the bottom too.

    I'm used to seeing more wildlife in my old neighborhood where I grew up (just moved into my first house!) but that may also be because we had less dogs around. The dogs we did have were small, indoors and quiet. Excluding my big dogs of course. In my new neighborhood, it seems that everyone has dogs that are outside or inside so that may be why I haven't seen any night critters yet. I've only seen tom cats.

    I'm of course lining the sides of run with hardware cloth but I'm lining that bottom two feet with an additional hardware cloth that is smaller so raccoons can't pull them through. I've read buff orps are not flighty and are heavier so they should feel comfortable with a lower roost so I figure doing a bottom layer of smaller gap wire would keep them from getting killed/harmed through the wire.

    1) Can coons or another predator get in through the roof?
    2) Would motion lights or Nite Guard would be a good measure to take as well?

    Btw our yard is completely fenced in but I'm being extra cautious for my new chickens. Also, nervous new chicken mom.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like you are building an aviary. That's a good idea in the south.

    Predators will enter your run by any means possible. Some tunnel, some climb, some use brute force and others are small enough to crawl right through. Will a predator enter by the roof? Of course! The better question is CAN a predator that's in your area enter your roof? I can't say. Do you have weasels? If yes then I'm sure you have entrances large enough for them to crawl into so an aviary may not be the best choice. If you have racoons then they can chew through any wire thinner than 19 ga. and obviously climb and are cunning enough to open latches. Neighbors dogs are really your worst nightmare in suburbia. Not long ago a person posted photos of 19 ga. 1/2 inch hardware cloth torn asunder by dog to kill the birds. What type of welded wire or weave you require is dependant on what predators you're facing. If you have a coop and lock birds in everynight then 2x4 welded wire of 14 gauge is all you need. Racoons pulling birds through fences is if they are roosting within reach. Not something that's going to happen in daylight unless multiple coons using a coordinated attack.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Every single potential opening should be reinforced with hardware cloth. Dogs and fences are no deterrent when it comes to coons. Keep in mind, if you can fit a few fingers through a gap, a coon can get a whole arm in.
     
  4. AfroChickens

    AfroChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's the idea I had with my inspiration. Also very easy for someone who only knows how to build things (from engineering classes) but never have built anything outside of engineering software programs.

    I also was worried about the terrible heat here. I knew with all of the "openness" that I needed to make sure my wire was in place. I think I can confidently say they should not be hot at all!
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I loved engineering classes. Good for you, applied physics is fun.

    I wrote more above and the intent wasn't to instill fear rather to point out that your specific area and prevalent predators may require more or less protection to keep them safe. Attempting to safeguard from every single thing will be a very expensive endeavor indeed. It sounds like you're almost done but for future builds or expansions think about integrating electric. A fencer with poly wire will go a long way in keeping climbing predators down and large dogs backed off.

    Case in point is not a month ago I had to take out a mink as it was trying to eat my flock (can't say enough about a high powered break barrel air gun in .22 cal). In the summer we use electric poultry netting but in that the mink would have likely made it through too. It's not a perfect world and you need to balance your level of protection (costs) with what losses are acceptable to you.

    Mink are not a major concern nor are hawks here until Northern Harrier moved in and we lost a cockerel last summer to one of those. We like our birds to have a lot of range, near free range so the losses to air predators are acceptable to us. Our defences are mostly to keep back raccoon, coyote and fisher cats. My coops are weasel proof.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  6. AfroChickens

    AfroChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, that's why I'm doing the bottom half in an additional coating of tiny hardware cloth. I'm using hardware cloth to cover the entire thing but I was trying to save money by not doing the other side of the roof. The size of hardware cloth I'm using for the entire run (excluding the roof), a coon can fit two arms...well maybe not at the same time but they could get an arm through. I can't get a full finger in that tiny cut of wire. (I'm also very small and have incredibly tiny hands lol. That's why I like it. I used it for the half of roof that I did line with hardware cloth already. I figured if I line the bottom part enough to cover the height of my chickens plus some, to include the reach of a coon, then that will protect them from getting killed through the wire.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Be sure to keep the roosts out of reach as well.
     
  8. AfroChickens

    AfroChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I honestly didn't think of weasels because I've never seen them in the area. I know they are in GA but I didn't know how much of an issue they are in our area. *sigh* And here I was only thinking about every single other predator OTHER predator. I took precautions against dogs, hawks, cats and coons but I was exploring BYC today and seen many talk about weasels.
     
  9. AfroChickens

    AfroChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Def moved my roosts spot when I read on here that they can still kill through a net. I think I'm just going to go ahead and take this bigger opening wire back and replaced with even more small wire. That way I can do the whole thing small wire because I forgot about those weasels. Even if I do a bottom part, I'm sure a weasel could easily climb up and get through the hardware mesh parts that had a bigger opening.
     
  10. Flock In Texas

    Flock In Texas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I covered all openings in 1/2" hardware cloth and covered that with 2x3 welded wire to stop the bigger animals.
     
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