Back to the Planning for Our Coop & Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bobcatridge, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. bobcatridge

    bobcatridge In the Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Central California Coast
    I have two week old baby chicks in the shower stall. We have been working on plans for the coop & run for about two months. My husband is a computer wizard. Set him to writing computer code and you won't hear from him for hours or maybe days. He is very good at it. He is not so good at the house, yard, etc. projects. He is so detailed oriented that nothing ever gets out of the planning stages. I knew this when I married him and I love him dearly, but I want a chicken coop. So after planning this absolutely beautiful coop & run on the only available space on a hillside using railroad ties as retaining walls, we realize that it is going to cost about $2000 in materials. Now we can't afford to spend that much on a coop, but my husband won't settle for anything that doesn't look good. At first he said something about drowning the chicks - I think he just wanted to get rise out of me. It worked! Besides our six chickens, I am fostering a friends two chicks so it was a bit crowded in the box. The morning after the rude cost awakening & drowning comment hubby looks in the shower stall and says the chicks need more room - why don't you tape together two big boxes so they have more room. Actually, I know he likes the chicks as he visits them before and after work. He had a pet chicken named Cluck Cluck as a kid. So I spent yesterday morning constructing a bigger box for the chicks. I even stuck a roosting dowel in for them. Well, after a days break from coop planning, it seems hubby talked to a construction/craftsman type friend and he suggested cheaper alternatives to the railroad ties and that the run didn't need to be covered. My husband and I both agreed that since we know we have bobcat, fox, coyotes, possum, hawks, etc that the run has to be covered by hardware cloth at the minimum. Night before last we had a whole chorus of coyotes serenading us. Our original plans called for the whole run to be covered by those polycarbonate corrugated roof panels. A friend told us to just use the chicken wire but she doesn't live in as wild an area as we do. It works for her but won't work for us. I am not in this to provide food for the predators. So I am a little bummed and discouraged on the whole thing but I haven't lost all hope. I guess I just needed to vent a little.
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I would suggest hardware cloth or welded wire to cover the run, if you don't trust chicken wire. (I use bird netting, but I don't have the predator load you mention in your area.) I would NOT cover a whole run with polycarb panels! A portion of it, sure, for cover in rainy periods... but not a whole run. With six chickens, you need a minimum of 60 square feet for a run. Kinda hoping you'll have more space than that, if you're not going to let them free range.

    BUT I totally understand venting.
     
  3. JanetSmithery

    JanetSmithery In the Brooder

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    May 11, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    I'm not sure what you mean by covering the run entirely in the corrugated panels...did you mean the roof or the walls?

    As far as run goes, you can probably reduce your costs by running hardware cloth around the run as an apron and up the run walls for only about 2 feet or so. Hardware cloth is recommended so that raccoons can't reach into the run and pull bits of your chickens out. They don't really do that above the 2 foot line, so another caging material would be fine for anything higher than 2 feet. If your run is going to be a 6 foot or taller walk in, the savings will add up. Also, if the run is tall, then you probably don't need hardware cloth or wire on the roof. Avian netting or shade cloth would probably do just fine. Hawks and other raptors are the main concern from above. Dogs, cats, and raccoons try to get in through or under the walls.

    Have you tried scrounging materials from Craigslist? A neighbor of mine got tons of chicken wire for free through posting a 'wanted' listing and keeping abreast of the 'materials' and 'farm and garden' sections. She also got a lot of used corrugated roofing for about a third of the cost of new. And in my area, railroad ties are always going up for a couple dollars each (much better compared to the $20 new at Home Depot!).
     
  4. CT_Todd

    CT_Todd Chirping

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    Aug 5, 2010
    Hebron, CT
    Hardward cloth! FWIW I just purchased 48inch x 100 feet of it for 130.00
     
  5. bobcatridge

    bobcatridge In the Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Central California Coast
    By covering the run with corrugated panels I meant the top of the run only - not the sides. We plan a walk-in run with an elevated coop house so there is more run area underneath the house. Our original plan was for a 8ft 8 in x 12 ft run. We wanted to eventually have 8 to 10 chickens. I can get chicken wire and fill dirt off of craigslist. I check craigslist frequently. We have managed to procure some used pressure treated lumber but not anywhere near enough. I have feelers out for more lumber through the friend network. The best deal for Hardware Cloth locally is Home Depot - 48 in x 100 ft amounts to $230. I have called and visited in our area and everywhere else is higher price. I could order online but then you have shipping. Where did you get 48 in x 100 ft hardware cloth for $130? What a good deal! That might work even with the added cost of shipping.

    As far as only putting the hardware cloth up two feet on the sides of the run - well, I am a little leary of that. The local foxes are rather athletic - they regularly jump to the top of the 3ft tall dumpster to leave us little scat suprises, they drink out of our bird bath, and climb the little oak trees near our house. They aren't as visible since we got the dog but we know they are still there. There are oak trees (the small California oak tree variety) on three sides of the coop site.

    Thanks for comments. We are back to the planning stage but I am hoping we will work something out here.
     
  6. JanetSmithery

    JanetSmithery In the Brooder

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    May 11, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    Amazon has a listing for 100 feet of 48" hardware cloth . $121.80 + $38.38 shipping.

    I don't know that a fox could jump through welded wire. That stuff looks more durable than hardware cloth to me, actually, and it's significantly cheaper. A 100 foot roll of 48 inch wide 2 inch by 4 inch welded wire at Home Depot is $72. If you overlaid the hardware cloth over the bottom and left the top welded wire (kinda like how they did in this coop), you'd likely be just fine for larger predators.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  7. bobcatridge

    bobcatridge In the Brooder

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    39
    Jul 29, 2010
    Central California Coast
    Janet, thanks so much. I never thought of checking Amazon for hardware cloth. What a good idea! Now I am checking amazon and e-bay.
     
  8. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    May 6, 2010
    Tucson
    My Coop
    Hi bobcatridge, check Craig's list for RR ties. Where I live you can almost always find them free there. I watch the free section and I always see concrete blocks for free there too. They are usually the left-overs from a job site and you have to take all of them and often by the end of the day. My coop is covered with material similar to the corrugated polycarbonate to which you referred and my run is covered with wire, so I have both. I would definitely cover your run. Check out my BYC page to see how I used the wire and corrugated materials.
     

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