Apron fence for safety. Advice needed, please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Laurel Meadows, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Laurel Meadows

    Laurel Meadows Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone! Getting ready to build our 16x16 run and are considering making an apron to deter predators. Our run sits near a shallow creek and we have coons, skunks, opossum, fox, coyotes, snakes and hawks that could potentially be a threat. We also have thick heavy clay soil so digging a trench to bury the fence is a big job. Wondering if an apron around the outer perimeter is a viable option for us? How do we anchor it until the grass takes hold, and how far out from the frame should we go? 12" was our thought on that??Hens will be locked in the coop at night, fence height will be 8' and top covered with deer netting. Your advice and feedback is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    The only information I can give that will help is that most of those predators are great climbers and those that aren't are great jumpers.
    Running the fencing on the ground away from the pen is a good deterrent because diggers will dig at the fence.
    In a nutshell, fences are no deterrent to predators unless they're electrified. Foxes can jump an 8' fence. Coons and possums can climb that. Snakes aren't that big of a threat.
    Hawks, for a flock without a rooster can be a problem.
     
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    If you have "known" predators around, and it sounds like you sure do, I would highly recommend using only 1/2" hardware cloth ... everywhere! My entire run is built with it from top to bottom, and aproned down-and-out 12-16" something like this:



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    Or you will inevitably end up with this:

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  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    I'm in GA and we have hard clay soil..impossible to dig. We attached 1/2 " hardware cloth outside our structure dug down where possible, laid it on top of clay/tree roots where we could not. added tamped dirt on top, and heavy 25-30 # stones on top of that. Most sources recommend a minimum of 18 inch apron, but I think 2 feet is better so that's what we did.

    I think diggers usually dig next to structure or fence not out several feet especially in hard clay -they are not likely to tunnel…heavy stones on top should prevent success if they try.

    RE: fence, 8 feet is quite high IMO, but there are anti climb roll bars that can be attached on the top.

    Also, i would run 2 feet of hardware cloth around the bottom of the fence to avoid the reach thru that raccoons are noted for.

    I have read posts where netting on top can drop in - those folks usually place some support over the fence or a center post to help keep it in place?
     
  5. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd really like to see some pics of your setup, coop and run .... that way we could better advise you to the best of our ability.
     
  6. Laurel Meadows

    Laurel Meadows Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry for the delay in my response, my posts would not upload on my phone so I had to fire up the big computer. Basically, we have chosen an area on the property that is enclosed with railroad ties and about 16 x 16 in size. Currently our 6 chicks are still in the brooder and in the meantime we have converted my inlaws' homemade 4 x 8 teardrop camper trailer into their coop. My husband has built a platform inside the pen area where the camper top will anchor to, as we are taking it off the trailer. (This will be a temporary coop until spring when we will build a larger stick built coop.) Because of the curvature of the camper, we think that putting it inside the run makes sense, hence the tall fence height is needed to accommodate the height of the camper which is about 6'. I would like the fence about 6.5 - 7' at most- of course my husband liked 8' due to less cutting involved on the frame, but I've convinced him to go lower. As far as the coop goes, there are 2 locking doors on each side that both have plexiglass and screen, and pop out style windows. (The lower part of the window opens) and we have made it so we can have adjustable openings for varying ventilation needs. Each window setting locks in place with a pin from the inside. The rear has a locking flip up door that we will use for nest box access if the hens are laying before we have the big coop built. We plan to lock it up at night, but we want to have a safe enclosure that allows some peace of mind during the day and in case we can't race to the coop at dusk to lock up. Again, we appreciate the ideas and feedback on our project. We are open to change and making improvements. Pictures are included of the run area and camper.[​IMG]

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  7. Laurel Meadows

    Laurel Meadows Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It may also be helpful to include that the camper coop is actually made of wood with fiberglass overlay. After some discussion we also think keeping one of our rooster chicks is a good plan. Because I am home during the day, I have a clear view to the run and between my lab and a rooster I should be alerted to any unwanted daytime visitors. Both my neighbors have large flocks including roosters and are only in 4' tall fences with no top. They have lost birds to hawks and coons on occasion. Apparently that is a risk they are willing to take- we are not. Even though my chicks were free, their lives are still valuable to us!
     
  8. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    You've got a really good start there for sure. I think that you should wait to lay the railroad timbers in until you have put up your 1/2" hardware cloth (don't use anything less with the predators you have!) that way you can then push the railroad ties on top of the aproning in the hole....excellent! The pic of the camper itself didn't come through but I'm sure after some tweaking it will be great.

    Since you will have 6 ladies in that 4' x 8' (32 sq.ft.) coop, you should consider that your "limit" on birds in a coop that size. By the time you tear out the insides of the trailer and install roost bar(s), nesting boxes (2 should be fine for 6 ladies), water and feeders you'll be at your limit for sure. Be sure to post pics of that camp trailer as you start fixing up the insides, I'd love to see your progress!

    Here's one idea for your roost bar/poop tray setup. This is what I did and it is da bomb! Mine is filled with Sweet PDZ granular in the tray, daily poop patrol takes me all of 3-4 minutes..DONE! You can just see the kitty littler scoop up there on the left...so easy and my coop smells so fresh! Just an idea for you...
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    Mine accommodates my 4 big Black Australorp ladies comfortably. Remember when you build yours, no matter which way, you need to allow at LEAST 1 foot per bird. Wishing you all the best!
     
  9. Laurel Meadows

    Laurel Meadows Chillin' With My Peeps

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    iwiw60- That is an awesome roost and poop board set up! Love the removable roost for cleaning. How tall is your roost? I also have a couple big gals to accommodate (2 jersey giants) and as I have read here within the coop section, the bigger the hens the lower the roost needs to be. Apparently they can injure legs coming down?? One of my pullets has 2 crooked toes on one foot and 1 crooked toe on the other so she needs a low-impact landing for sure.
    I've been pro-poop board from day 1- just getting it to work with the curved ceiling in the camper is tough while allowing plenty of head room for all 6. I think we've settled on a rectangular frame made with 2x4's: 4'L x 2'H floor standing type with 2 roosts parallel to each other 2' apart. Counting the cross supports, that gives us 10' of total roost space in a small footprint. I can fill the bottom frame with pdz to catch some of the droppings. I'm thinking that still allows a nice amount of floor space. The nest boxes will be 3 across at floor level tucked into the back section as its just over a foot high ceiling and will make a cozy area for the boxes away from the roosts and food.
    More pics of the camper will be coming soon. It didn't have much to take out of it so its empty and awaiting the roost, bedding and chicks when they are feathered enough to move in! The giant pullets are the only 2 fully feathered at 4 weeks.
     
  10. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    The poop tray itself is about 36" tall and the roost bar about 18" up from that. My girls are big breeds, too, but after some training/teaching they can just 'walk' up the ladder to get up. I'm pretty dang proud of what I built (all by myself, age 70 I might add!) and it works like a charm...wishing you all the best, and don't forget...we want pics!! [​IMG]
     

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