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Builders! How would you fence in and predator proof this run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lisasea, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. lisasea

    lisasea New Egg

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    Hi all - Looking for explicit building instructions on how best to create a fully enclosed and predator-proof run from the space in the photos below. We are on a small suburban lot, so we're working with what we got!

    We're not builders by trade, so I'm looking for answers to the following questions:
    --What lumber materials do I use to fence in the existing side? Any photos of good examples?
    --Where should I sink posts for the roof?
    --Where should I attach the roof and new fencing to the existing fence/walls?
    --How can I accommodate the grade?
    --Do I need to frame the roof to give it proper structure if I use corrugated clear plastic?


    The space is already enclosed on three sides by house and existing fencing, so I'm looking for thoughts on how build fencing on the open side where the carport is, and construct a full height roof to keep out the hawks and rain.


    Thank you all in advance!!!




    Additional details:
    --Northern California with mild temperatures and a fair bit of rain. Lows in the mid forties on the coldest nights, and very few days above 75.
    --8X10 space, already enclosed on 3.5 sides (a fence, a gated fence, the house, and the open carport)
    --Slight grade downward toward the gate
    --All flagstone in the pictures will be removed, great if we could repurpose them in some way
    --Nosy old dog will also be relocated back to the couch where he belongs
    --Needs to be fully covered due to hawks and rain, was thinking clear corrugated plastic over the entire run to allow for maximum sunlight
    --Coop will be located in this space and is 4X5
    --Minimal direct sunlight, though still bright
    --Will eventually be closing in the carport to make a proper garage, but not anytime soon

    The chickens:
    --5 chooks total: 1 Easter Egger, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 1 SL Wyndotte, and one Australorp
    --Will be allowed to free range only when supervised due to HEAVY predator issues in the neighborhood

    The predators:
    --Red Tail Hawk central!
    --Raccoons that are out during the day!!!
    --Coyotes
    --Loose dogs
    --Opossums
    --Skunks
    --No bears or snakes
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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    The biggest issues would be with the hawks. Some sort of netting or roof will work to protect from them. The other predators are primarily nocturnal and for those, a secure coop will be adequate protection. Fencing in the open side would be simple enough to do with some welded wire fencing. They sell rolls of it at most home improvement stores and is pretty easy to install with fencing staples.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    If you want a solid roof to repel rain, you're biggest challenge might be..... where is the water running off that roof going to go?
    Take a good look at where the rain runs now......looks like there is already a roof edge into the area?
    You say there's slope towards gate but does any rain puddle in the area?
    What about that gutter near the gate...might need to think about that wetting the new run area.
    Might need a gutter on your new run roof too.

    Also think about predators digging under fences...like especially rats.
    An anti-dig apron can work wonders.

    More examples here, ignore the kitchen apron threads:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/ne...&order=descending&Search=SEARCH&Search=SEARCH
     
  4. Daox13

    Daox13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For you I would suggest looking at my coop and run building project right now. I am currently working on a predator proof run that will keep out all that you have mentioned. I would suggest a roof over netting as coons can climb.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1135151/100-urban-predator-proof-chicken-run/100#post_17847263
    Despite what most say you can create a very safe environment for your chickens you just have to use your noggin. your location for your run looks like a great secure location and with a little time and effort you could make it 99.9% secure.
    I used 1/2" HW cloth and dug down about 8"-10" and ran it underneath to keep mice and rats out and all other digging predators. I have not run my bottom section of 2x4 welded wire yet but I will add that soon.

    The only issue with fully predator proofing your coop and run is that it will $$$ more than most really want to spend which causes a lot of people to try and cut corners. the only real way to do it is to spend a little more. The flag stones could be repurposed anything you would like to do with them. As far as lumber, with what you have you could really get away with mostly 2x4s if you want to tie into the existing house, use a stud finder and find your studs in your house and fasten the 2x4 flat to the house with a lag or two then set a 2x4 long ways on top to create a three sided square and fasten that to the studs and use that for your roof support.

    Your current roof is a perfect height to tie into with 2x4s and continue the same slope and I would definitely suggest either leaving the current gutter or tying the roof fully into the current roof so not to allow the run off in the chicken run. I would also re route the other gutter downspout in the pic to run off outside the fence OR you can drop that right into a rain barrel and you have fresh water for your chickens the natural way. but you could also sink posts right next to the house and sink post by your fence if you want a free standing run. If you want to get even slicker you could use the post holding your fence up (as long as they are sunk correctly and in good condition) and that could save you some time and $ and you could just notch out the fence to slide in rafter and fasten to the post.

    if that is your fence you could use that like I did for mine as well and it will serve as a great wind break to. For my roof I used clear plastic panels to solve the lighting issue and yes you should put rafters up and battens to give it strength as they are very weak, I even doubled mine up to strengthen, but all of that is listed on my page with pictures. ALSO use the proper fasteners to ensure a leak free roof as I did not first go around and I paid for it.

    the grade issue isn't really an issue. Use landscape timber or 4x4s and build up on one side like a raise garden bed.

    I think you have a perfect area for an urban coop and run and you could easily convert it as you already have two sides top tie into, the house and the fence. I have lots of pictures on my page and any questions your have please feel free to ask away.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  5. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    First of all, let me say that I am of the belief NO run is predator proof, the best you can do is make it frustrating enough they will look elsewhere first. However if something really wants your birds, then to quote Jeff Goldblum; it will find a way. That said, here is what I have done to make mine as unappealing as I could...

    • The fencing is made from chain-link dog kennels to help keep out the larger, stronger predators.
    • I have 1/2" hardware cloth extending up the sides to thwart the smaller pred's (like weasles and rats) from squeezing through the chain-link.
    • The HC also extends outwards from the bottom to discourage them from trying to dig their way under (this also deters canines from doing exactly that).
    • The top is covered with a combination of 2" x 3" and 2" x 4" welded wire to deter air-bourne and climbing nasties.
    • As for rain, the part of the roof against the coop is covered with a tarp which drains into gutters leading to buckets so I can collect it for drinking water.
    • Re: drainage, mine too is built on a hill, but before I built it I would pile all the mulched oak leaves from my lawn vacuum onto the area where I wanted it. After two years there was enough that I could rake it all out into a level area (400 Ft2). I then built the run on this. The chickens have since composted and packed it and now it is well drained soil. So while it does get muddy when it rains, it also drains and dries out quickly.

    I live out in the South Carolina countryside so the list of predators, as you might think, is extensive. Including stray dogs, coyotes, fox, raccoon, weasels, possums, skunks, rats, snakes, ravens and hawks and others I can't think of at the moment. just to name a few. Basically anything and everything that lives in the woods. I make no claims to the amount of security of this arrangement, however since I built it I have had no further attacks on my chickens. Or if I had they have all been successfully thwarted. Take that for what it's worth. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  6. Bananabread

    Bananabread Out Of The Brooder

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    hardware cloth (1/2in) over, under, all around...
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    1 person likes this.
  7. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a double wall of fencing on my run. The run is made of 4x4 posts and 2x4 horizontals connecting all of the posts at top, bottom and middle. The outer fence is 2"x4" field fence. This is to stop the big predators like bobcats, coyotes, foxes, coons and dogs. I do have bears, but no coop is bear proof. If a bear wants in your house, he is coming in! Then the inner layer is 1/2" hardware wire to stop all the small predators and prevent anything from reaching in. The fence layer are separated by 3 1/2 inches, the width of the 4x4's and 2x4's. Both inner and outer fence go all the way to the roof. I also have the coop fenced in with 48" electric net fence.

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    1 person likes this.
  8. lisasea

    lisasea New Egg

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    Hi all - All this advice has been extremely helpful! Thank you! We incorporated a lot of it into the final run design, especially the ideas about water run off, roofing angles, and aprons. A big thank you to my father-in-law for spending his Christmas vacation lending his expertise as well! Here's what we did:

    --Used scrap redwood 2X4s and 2X6s left over from a decking project to frame in a wall and access door from the carport. We used one 2X4 coming from the gate to the highest plank on the fence. By doing this, we essentially created a level stud for the roof and took the grade out of the equation. We did the same thing on the house side with the 2X6, opposite the fence to create the other side of the roof frame. The access door is a huge benefit, and all design credit goes to my father-in-law for that one. Makes us look like we actually knew what we were doing...

    --Instead of sinking posts, we used PL loctite (essentially construction grade liquid cement) to attach the vertical 2X4s and 2X6s directly to the cement carport. I was really surprised at how well it holds and how sturdy it is. We went this route because we discovered that we have cement foundation aprons that come off the house and carport that prevent us from digging down very deep.

    --Continued the angle of the current roofline to: 1) allow water to flow away from the house and onto our neighbors trees, 2) get maximum height in the run which allowed us to elevate the coop itself for sq footage underneath, and not block the window. The extra elevation also allowed us to build a good sized access door coming from the carport that even accommodates my really tall husband.

    --Used corrugated plastic for the roof to let sunlight in - this stuff was great to work with. It's working great with the rain, and really cuts the wind, keeping it nice and toasty in there (it never gets hot here). It's much stiffer and heartier than it looked. Aside from all the hardware and screws, this was the only major thing we had to buy. It looks shady in the pictures, but it's because I took these photos early morning.

    --Used extra 1/4 hardwire cloth from a gopher-proofing project in the yard to apron and close all gaps. We nailed it in using galvanized, heavy duty staples in most places, and a staplegun for non-impact zones that attached to the house. Also had to create a custom framed screen for the gap between the top of the gate, and the roof. It sits on the gate crossbar on the outside of the run, and is essentially now just part of the gate. Hardwiring was the least fun. We probably went a bit overboard in some areas but it helps me sleep at night. We don't have more than a 1-2" gap anywhere in the run.

    --The coop itself was made by Dave at DC Chicken Coops. He is THE MAN. Two 48" roost bars, three nest boxes, best chicken stairs this side of the Mississippi. We painted and roofed ourselves...had to mention so we don't embarrass him by associating him with our limited roofing and painting skills.

    --Re purposed the flagstone to strengthen up our aprons from the one side where predators can dig in. Smashing the big stones with a sledge to make smaller, 18-24" stones was my favorite part...

    --Utilized a Home Depot plant sale to add lavender, rosemary, camelias, lion's tail and juniper...we'll see how long they last.

    Still on the to-do list: Low maintenance feeders and waterers, better stairs to the carport, and figure out what to do on the ground. Dirt seems to be working well for now, but we'll have to consider straw, more shavings, sand, etc as they get bigger and create more mess.

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  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    You're going to have to protect those plants in there. The chickens will dig them up or eat them completely, otherwise.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Do you get any snow where you live?
    Those clear panels are already sagging some....they need some support.
    Darling 'coop'...can we see the inside...any large access door....ventilation???
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017

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