Apron material

Appalachickens

Chirping
Dec 19, 2020
59
253
96
East Tennessee
Question for the run I'm planning to build:
Digging a trench isn't an option (too many tree roots), so I'm planning to have a 2' apron all the way around. Would it be better to use welded wire fencing for that or hardware cloth? Also, it's going to be a walk-in run, so 6' high, and I was planning to use hardware cloth for the whole run, but after reading here about dogs tearing into it, I was wondering if I should have the bottom portion of the run fencing be two layers (both HC and welded wire). Predators in my area include free-roaming dogs, raccoons, coyotes, and likely bobcats (and an adorable Maine Coon cat who is a fierce hunter). Thoughts?
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
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Southwest Virginia (mountains)
I used welded wire for my juveniles flight pen (run). It does fine deterring all the predators we have around in va (bears, coyotes, bobcats, etc) so long as they aren't determined. Havent lost a bird yet.

The welds at each wire crossing can definitely be broken. My garden is also fenced with welded wire fencing and each season I have to repair it. After the growing season, i open the gates so my free range flock can enter and inevitably so do the bears and deer. Unfortunately the bigger critters never seem to find their way back out the gate and bust through the fence or try climbing it only to fail miserably.
HC is probably a better bet.
 

Appalachickens

Chirping
Dec 19, 2020
59
253
96
East Tennessee
I used welded wire for my juveniles flight pen (run). It does fine deterring all the predators we have around in va (bears, coyotes, bobcats, etc) so long as they aren't determined. Havent lost a bird yet.

The welds at each wire crossing can definitely be broken. My garden is also fenced with welded wire fencing and each season I have to repair it. After the growing season, i open the gates so my free range flock can enter and inevitably so do the bears and deer. Unfortunately the bigger critters never seem to find their way back out the gate and bust through the fence or try climbing it only to fail miserably.
HC is probably a better bet.
HC for both the fencing and the apron then?
 

Appalachickens

Chirping
Dec 19, 2020
59
253
96
East Tennessee
Recommend HC as the apron material. You could use both welded wire and HC. Minks, weasels and snakes can get through welded wire fencing. I use HC as my apron. If you have a huge problem with dogs, an electric fence is your friend. One good dose and they stay away.

Thanks - I was thinking HC for the apron so that helps. I won't have electricity where the run will be, so I'm hoping the dogs won't be a problem!
 

3KillerBs

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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Thanks - I was thinking HC for the apron so that helps. I won't have electricity where the run will be, so I'm hoping the dogs won't be a problem!

There are solar chargers. I've got solar for my poultry netting (bought a kit from Premier1), and it works well -- though in these short days I have to bring it in overnight once a week or so to charge (they're locked in the coop at night).

There are also battery-powered units where you can have 2 batteries and just swap them out for charging.
 

Appalachickens

Chirping
Dec 19, 2020
59
253
96
East Tennessee
There are solar chargers. I've got solar for my poultry netting (bought a kit from Premier1), and it works well -- though in these short days I have to bring it in overnight once a week or so to charge (they're locked in the coop at night).

There are also battery-powered units where you can have 2 batteries and just swap them out for charging.
I will look into those options then.
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
997
1,707
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Southwest Virginia (mountains)
HC for both the fencing and the apron then?
HC is typically more expensive but excludes the most unwanted critters from entering your enclosure. So if your budget allows, its the safer bet.
I was not concerned enough for the added expense despite the regular presence of serious predators. The welded wire will stop the vast majority of small predators like fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, etc. Small skinny predators such as mink, weasels, and snakes will be able to enter. Larger or more determined predators like strong dogs, coyotes, bears, etc may find enough resistance to be deterred but are capable of getting in regardless of material used if they really wish.

So you'll have to decide what predators you have and what risks you are willing to take.
I call my run the "juvenile flight pen" because i only keep poults in there from 8wks to a max 6mos. They are then butchered or released to free range with my mature flock. Since the majority of predator attacks occur at night, and all my birds are in secure coops, even if something entered the wire fencing, my chickens are still safe in their coops so extra money spent on fencing primarily used to keep the birds in wasn't a priority for me.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
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It depends partially on what you're hoping to exclude. If rodents are a possible issue, apron with HC, otherwise WW is fine.

For the actual fence I would do both HC and WW if you have the budget for it. HC will help exclude smaller pests/predators (rodents, weasels, snakes) and WW should add extra strength to help deal with bigger things.
 

Appalachickens

Chirping
Dec 19, 2020
59
253
96
East Tennessee
HC is typically more expensive but excludes the most unwanted critters from entering your enclosure. So if your budget allows, its the safer bet.
I was not concerned enough for the added expense despite the regular presence of serious predators. The welded wire will stop the vast majority of small predators like fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, etc. Small skinny predators such as mink, weasels, and snakes will be able to enter. Larger or more determined predators like strong dogs, coyotes, bears, etc may find enough resistance to be deterred but are capable of getting in regardless of material used if they really wish.

So you'll have to decide what predators you have and what risks you are willing to take.
I call my run the "juvenile flight pen" because i only keep poults in there from 8wks to a max 6mos. They are then butchered or released to free range with my mature flock. Since the majority of predator attacks occur at night, and all my birds are in secure coops, even if something entered the wire fencing, my chickens are still safe in their coops so extra money spent on fencing primarily used to keep the birds in wasn't a priority for me.
That's helpful. I am thinking I will use HC except where I have metal panels covering the top. I suspect the set up will be an evolving thing as I see what works for me.
 

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