Building a run for free range/cooped chickens at night

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by besjoux, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. besjoux

    besjoux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do I need hardware cloth or are there some cheaper alternatives with hardware cloth at the bottom and buried? I plan on using the run during the day and locking in the coop at night. What materials do you use at the top to prevent hawk attacks? Priced out to do everything in hardware cloth and it is over $200 just in hardware cloth material. Wondering if there is a more frugal option and if you have picture you could point me to.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't use hardware wire on or skirting run. It's a matter of opinion and where you live as to what danger there is with day time predators. Biggest one being stray/loose dogs.

    Hardware cloth on vent openings to coop is highly recommended. Night predators are the big fear and so long as the coop is protected my run is mainly a containment and hawk stopper. Ours free range each day some too.
     
  3. besjoux

    besjoux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you use chicken wire? Or is there another material? We live out in the middle of nowhere and never have seen a dog here except a few of our horse boarders dogs and I'm sending everyone an email stating they are welcome on a leash only. Haven't even have a boarder here who cared about bringing their dog in a few years....so a non-issue. I HAVE seen a fox during the day (years ago) and we did lose a cat to something at night. Never found her and she was a bad wanderer. I suspect fox or yote.....we have a lot of each. We do have hawks and this is a concern. I had a Coopers fly in our garage to catch a woodpecker who was stuck above our rafters!
     
  4. lilchick

    lilchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use dog kennel panels for my chicken pens. And netting over the top to keep out the hawks.

    I lock them up every night cause coons can climb panels, slip thru edges of netting and get into the pens.
     
  5. rungirl

    rungirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ditto on the dog panels and deer netting. I do the same thing and they are locked up securely in the coop at night. I made an automatic pop door opener/closer for when I come home late.
     
  6. Stormy Autumn

    Stormy Autumn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My duck house is built kind of like a small aviary. The ducks haven't moved in yet, but I plan on keeping them there at night without an enclosed coop. We made a chicken wire roof to keep hawks and raccoons out. The sides are chicken wire on the top half, but hardware cloth on the bottom half. Like you said, the whole thing would be hardware cloth if it wasn't so dang expensive. I REALLY wanted to have hardware cloth on the bottom half, though, because I read a story on the duck forum about a duckling who had its leg eaten by a raccoon at night. The raccoon actually reached THROUGH the chicken wire to get the birds and just ate what it could grab. Another lady was temporarily keeping her ducks in dog crates in the garage at night while she built them a coop, and the same thing happened- something snuck into the garage, reached through the bars and killed the ducks. (Though I don't remember if that one was a raccoon or a weasel.) I figure with my duck house if they climb up high enough to where the chicken wire is, they won't be able to reach anymore, especially since ducks sleep on the ground. One side of the duck house is up against a solid shed wall, so if I ever get chickens that's where I'll be putting their roosts.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  7. Chicken Logic

    Chicken Logic Out Of The Brooder

    I'm hearing a lot of people complain about cost of hardware cloth. It does cost more but, if you check larger fencing suppliers instead of the "Box" stores you can get it somewhat cheaper. I think I paid a little over $100 for a 3' x 100' roll when I bought it recently. They had it in various lenghts and widths too.
     
  8. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On the ground part I used 2X4 welded wire. I also used a dog kennel pen on which I attached HC 2 feet up the sides all the way around the bottom. On top of the wire on the ground I put 12X12 concrete paver all the around coop and pen. All I need now is a netting on the top of the run and I'll be set.
     
  9. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use predator guards (aprons, skirts) that are laid out horizontal across the ground. I don't bury them I just weight them down. Mine are movable so it might be different for your situation.
    [​IMG]
    You can see in this picture how they come out from the run.
    [​IMG]
    This setup has a watering station, a feeding station and the coop is at the back. When it is fully setup I put pavers at each section to hold them down. This setup is for my garden and I move it about once a week. Each section is 5'x5'x2'. Each section weights about 45 lbs. and very predator proof. A 100' roll of fencing will make about 250 sq. ft. of run. You can build this setup with nothing but wire cutters, some hog rings. Nice thing about having a movable system is the runs do not become just dirt and there is no clean up of the coop. Each move gives them new pasture and a clean coop.
     
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Folks here on BYC would be/are appalled that I used green garden plastic fencing for the run area. It's actually built as tractor. If a stray dog wanted to bust into it they could with ease, we don't have a problem with them here either. Fox and the like are usually dusk, night and dawn hunters. But I don't have to worry about them much either. Here my biggest predator is mink that live along the river and hawks/eagle and of course the neigborhood is infested with skunks. The coop is completely predator proof to keep out mink, raccoon and skunk and the cheap fencing keeps hawks out. My birds have a deck to run for cover when the hawks are about while out free ranging. Not lost one to a hawk yet but have had to bound of the deck with arms waving, hens didn't see it because it used neighbors house as a blind, to make a diving red tail veer off and over river. It was literally 20 feet from the birds when I got it to turn direction. There is always a risk when free ranging but I believe the benefit of happier birds (not to mention bright orange tasty egg yolks) is worth a loss here and there. We lost a 5 week old to stray cat as it was free ranging jumping to catch flying ants. Before you could blink, out from under a foundationless shed addition a Tom pounced and pulled it back in.

    Here is my tractor. See? keeps chickens contained and hawks out, not much else. Most predators other than stray dogs and hawks are at night.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012

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