Building Chicken Fort Knox, need suggestions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rhondapiper, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. rhondapiper

    rhondapiper Songster

    Hi, I'm new to the board and new to chickens.

    We're beginning our coop this weekend- a relatively small 6 X 6 with a 7 X 14 chain link dog run attached.

    I live on 2 acres in the woods backing up to a state park and have a lot of predators. We've got hawks, bald eagles, owls, possums, raccoons, tons of foxes, wood rats, dogs, cats, and the very occasional wandering bear or bobcat. After a snowfall, my backyard has so many tracks it's a bit scary to think about whats going on out there at night.

    We are trying to build as secure an area for our chickens as humanly possible. We plan to lay hardware cloth completely under the run and up the sides a few feet and zip-tie it to the chainlink. We'll be covering the top of the run with hardware cloth as well. And, we're going to screw a woodframe around the door from the coop to the pen and attach the run to the coop. The coop will be at the edge of the clearing the house sits in.

    But, since I am new to this, I'm sure there are some things I have not considered and I would love to have your input about how to make a chicken fortress. I'm very soft-hearted about animals and can't bear the thought of losing them if it could be prevented. I have a dog that's on patrol, but she's inside at night and while I am at work, so she can only do so much. Luckily, she is not interested in eating chickens.

    Please, share your tips for making a run that all these predators can be foiled by!

    Thanks in advance.
  2. BaronRenfrew

    BaronRenfrew Songster

  3. rhondapiper

    rhondapiper Songster

    The electric nets look great, but we don't have power out to that part of the property. They might work for letting them range a little closer to the house though.

    Will having hardware cloth all the way under the run inhibit their scratching or bother their feet? We're burying it a little bit so the yard should look like dirt, but I'm betting they'll make short owrk of that. Thanks!
  4. ShadyGlade

    ShadyGlade Songster

    You can get solar chargers for the electronet fencing. If you have the predators the will find your birds. The worst are the critters in the weasel family:>( [​IMG]
  5. Schroeder

    Schroeder Songster

    Nov 9, 2008
    Central Indiana
    My Coop
    You also can buy a battery powered charger for less than $100. I have one that uses 4 D batteries and it puts out a powerfull jolt. I used the same batteries for about three months last summer around my garden and I didn't have to change the batteries.
  6. ams3651

    ams3651 Songster

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I recently posted about putting smashed up bottles under the foundation to deter burrowing pests. My dad had a problem with rats under his grain dryers. I have a rat and rabbits under my coop.
  7. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    We too do the broken glass, but buried around our trees to protect the tree roots from digging dogs. We've been doing for several years now with no problem! Our chickens free range, but with the glass buried, the chickens haven't had any problems with it. Maybe OUTSIDE of the run, you can dig a shallow trench and back fill it with broken glass, so if any predator wants to dig under the fence, they cut there paws instead. I know it would require a lit of glass, but I am sure a local bar (or several neighbors) won't mind giving you empty bottles. :) Also, we too use chain link and rats and small birds still get it. You may want to consider cheap chicken wire to put above the hardware cloth you mentioned and run the chicken wire up to the top. Chicken wire usually isn't strong to hold much back, but in this case, it would be attached to chain link, so I think it'd be a cheap fix. We used against chain link on an old run and it works great for us (but we don't have nearly the number of predators you do).

    good luck! BTW, your property sounds beautiful!
  8. CrunchySarah

    CrunchySarah In the Brooder

    Jan 20, 2009
    As for scratching in the run, if you do heavy mulching you shouldn't have any problems, and there will be plenty of bugs for the chickens to eat. Since you have so much property, you likely have plenty mulching materials, just lay it down 4-6 inches thick. [​IMG]
  9. Buy a solar charger for an electric fence. You will not regret it. The electric fence is the one thing that lets me sleep soundly at night with my coop door open. I had to run about 150 feet of UF romex down to my coop. you can bury it directly in the ground (no conduit) Then I was able to run an electric fence. The only thing better than running power to my coop was trenching a water line down there. That was over 200 feet! No more hauling water, and I have light to see at night. Hobby farming is great. I always say it is the hole I throw money into. [​IMG]
  10. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I agree with the other posts. I have several acres wit a lot of undeveloped land around mine. A neighborhood dog came into my yard during the day, dug under my fence and killed one of my hens. I now have electric wire around my birds yard. Not long ago a possum tried to dig under the fence and got zapped with 6000 volts. It hasn't come back. There are pictures on my BYC Page. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

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