Building a run - advice on security, hardware cloth needed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChandraM, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. ChandraM

    ChandraM In the Brooder

    May 27, 2014
    Boulder Creek, CA
    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.[​IMG]
  2. sdm111

    sdm111 Free Ranging

    May 21, 2013
    S. louisiana
    Personally I wouldn't do a hardware cloth " floor " under the dirt cause of scratching and dusting they may injure themselves. I had bad predator problems till I put an elec fence and have not had a problem since. Mine is 5 wires high and fast cheap and very effective. Just a thought
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  3. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    I think I would take the wire from the floor and use it as an apron instead. Reasons noted above are sound, birds like to scratch in the dirt, why stop them from doing so? With the varmints you note a nice long apron would serve you well and not break your back as it might in trenching. You can cover it or let the grass grow up through the wire. I do like a covered run, and I believe you will as well. A nice job of planning on your part for a slopping roof. Nice looking coop you have there, looks a lot like mine.

    Best to you and your birds,

  4. I used this:

    Metal lath for stucco walls. It comes in sheets and I put it underneath the run with most of it on the outside like a skirt. There is only about 6-8" on the inside and I plan to bury that more.
    I was trying to find a decent alternative to hardware cloth that my one cat couldn't attack through. (devious one, I tell you) Works like a charm. I also used it as my bottom row of fencing instead of HC. Just ziptied it on and presto! instant predator protection. Dog won't even touch it now. It has a rough feel, can scratch their paws and your hands but didn't gouge me like hardware cloth.[​IMG]

    Only real downside is you can't see through it, which may or may not be a bad thing.[​IMG]
  5. ChandraM

    ChandraM In the Brooder

    May 27, 2014
    Boulder Creek, CA
    So modifying the plans slightly based on feedback, no hardware cloth on the bottom of the run. I think we will take a 2' section of hardware cloth for a skirt on the outside of the run, buried only about 3-4" deep, that will run under the bottom board of the 'wall' and get secured to the bottom board. Then run 8' high deer fence on the entire wall, with hardware cloth running with the deer fence on the bottom 4' of the wall. All fencing secured to the posts, bottom rails, and top rails with screws and fender washers.

    I like the idea of the metal lathe strips, but I have (2) 1/2 rolls of hardware cloth, so I'll just use what I have.

    Planning ahead for when we will likely cover about half of the run with roofing panels, the other half keeping just chicken wire. Has anyone had any trouble with hawks or other birds of prey ripping a hole in a chicken wire roof? Or am I just being too much of a mother hen to my spoiled little chickens?
  6. Sounds pretty good. good luck [​IMG]
  7. apix

    apix Hatching

    Aug 27, 2014
    I dug a foot down and put hardware cloth on the bottom and covered it up with a foot of dirt. There are no gaps so nothing can dig under and through. The chickens have enough space to dig and never see the galvanized 1/4" hardware cloth.

  8. I need a method of securing the underside of a portable chicken coop and run that won't be a potential hazard for the chickens. I like the security the electric perimeter idea but I think that might defeat the purpose of it being able to be moved. I just don't want my chickens to get gobbled up!
  9. David1998

    David1998 Chirping

    Jul 30, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    The words "bailing wire" caught my attention. The bailing wire I'm familiar with that's used for bailing hay has absolutely no corrosion protection and will rust out in less than one year. if that's what you're planning to use, don't!!! Use something that's galvanized.
  10. I had thought about using chicken wire over the top of my run for hawk prevention. Then someone reminded me that raccoons & possums do climb and would have no problem breaking into the chicken wire to get into your run. I saw a video of a fox jumping on top of a chicken run and breaking through the chicken wire. Just a thought. :)

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