I'm new to keeping chickens, and want to do it right the first time. My coop is built and quite secure with 19 guage 1/2 hardware cloth covering the windows and vents. Now I need to build the real run (temporary run is in the picture below). This weekend (labor day) is the scheduled build & paint the coop. The run is going to be 8' by about 24' long, and 6-8' high. My plan is: 4x4 fence posts every 8' with 2x4s running along the top and bottom to secure wiring/fence to hardware cloth buried under the entire run, dug down 4" or so and covered back up with dirt 1/2" hardware cloth along the bottom 4' of the sides deer fence/2x4 welded wire fence along the top above the hardware cloth, sewn together with bailing wire chicken wire over the top to keep out hawks Automatic door (pulletshut) from the coop to the run The human gate in the run will have pavers over the hardware cloth, a top & bottom latch, and close against a 6" tall door stop that is fixed to the 4x4 posts I might end up adding some corrugated roofing panels once rainy season starts, in case that affects your advice. Planning on building the run 8' tall at front and 6' tall at back for this reason. So my main question, which hardware cloth to bury under the run? I have plenty extra of the 1/4", but it isn't as thick (maybe 21 gauge?) I want to try to avoid buying another 100' roll of the 19gauge/1/2" if I can avoid it since I'm way over budget. I wasn't planning on digging a trench or skirting with hardware cloth since it will line the entire bottom of the run and be fastened to 2x4s along the ground. Should I reconsider this? Any other holes to poke in my plans? Pun intended. Predators seen in my neighborhood: mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, fox, raccoon, hawk, owl, possum, snakes, skunks, the neighbors cat We have a fenced yard, so stray dogs aren't a problem, but we have seen the bobcat, skunk, and some mountain lion scat within that fence I'm in Northern CA in the Santa Cruz Mountains, so it is possible we also have weasels, and I've seen mole/gopher evidence in my garden beds. So I need Fort Knox type security. Pic of the coop now (with front door open you can kind of see the wall in-between the coop area and the storage area). Permanent run will be where the temp run is now.