bottom of the run hardware cloth necessary?


7 Years
Mar 21, 2012
I am building a run at the momment and I have not seen a raccoon around our place for the last ~year... We do have cats and live in the suburbs where everyone keeps they're dogs in they're yard and we have a fence. I would rather not pay for hardware cloth for the bottom 18" of the run.

What do you guys think?

Has anyone else only used chicken wire?

Would 2" wire be good enough? (I have alot of that)


8 Years
Nov 20, 2011
Reno, NV
My first coop had chicken wire. Then I dogsat a miniature schnauzer who taught me the error of my ways. He tore right through it.

The moment you relax and think you don't have predators, and build a vulnerable coop, you'll realize you have predators. Over here, they come out at 3-4:00am. I'm not around to see them, but they're there.

2" wire is not good enough! If you search on this site, you'll find tons of stories from people who thought it was good, only to find that their chickens nested against it. And a raccoon reached through and grabbed a chunk of chicken and tore it off.


9 Years
Sep 17, 2010
Southwest Michigan
Hardware cloth is much safer.

We hadn't seen any raccoons around here for the past year either, until the past month, and they are checking out my coops and runs all the time lately. Normally, after a week or two and finding they can't get to easy food, they go away, though I'm sure they wander through from time to time to check it out. But they have been persistent the past month. I am checking and double checking every day for any loose spots they may use to find a way in and have reinforced a couple of areas just to be sure.

I say it's better to be safe than sorry.


In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 7, 2010
Des Moines
We dug a trench all around the run and ran the chickenwire walls down about a foot or so under the ground, then buried it. Some critter (we have plenty of raccoons and opossums) managed to pry/dig up the wire and get in - thankfully, the coop itself was buttoned up tight.

Since then, we re-dug the trench and ran wire down 3 feet, and haven't had any more problems, so maybe that worked. Or maybe the local wildlife were tired of getting in there and finding nothing, and just quit trying.

Either way, you're probably better off with hardware cloth underneath.


8 Years
May 30, 2011
Springfield, Ohio
When we built our first coop and run, we knew that there were predators in the area but we hadn't seen any. Fast forward a year, and we regularly see raccoons, possum, cats, foxes and coyotes. As was said in a movie, "Build it and they will come."

We didn't cover the floor of the run with wire. What we did do, however, was to extend the welded wire walls of the run downward 6" into the soil and flared them outward 1-2 feet as a skirt. Then, on top of this skirt we stacked field stone and old bricks about 1.5 feet high. We took this approach as a result of the type of soil we had, budget considerations in and the numerous rocks we had all over the place. Basically, we did what we could in the situation we are in, using available materials. I'll recommend that you do more than you think you should, as a precaution. If that means using hardware cloth on the floor of the run, then I'd do it. Chicken wire keeps chickens in, not predators out.

While ours might not be the perfect design, we do have a den of coyote pups about 150 feet from the run (just found this out) and have not had any losses. I figure that they are going for easier food sources. Come to think of it, there are hardly any feral cats around anymore. Once that runs out, chicken will become more attractive and I believe that we are ready for that possibility.


11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
I wanted to suggest the least expensive source for hardware cloth that I have found. I have placed two different orders with for 48" wide 1/2" hardware cloth and found it to be half price of the stores. I received my wire quickly. BTW, I am not affiliated, etc.


7 Years
Mar 21, 2012
sorry... My budget for the coop and run was $200.. I'm a kid so I'm really short on budget. The most I can afford is to put hardware cloth for the bottom "18 and then I have to make my run smaller.. Can I only put the bottom 18" covered and still be safe?

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