Buried Hardware Cloth

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Huskeriowa, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2010
    My Coop
    Hi all.

    My run is being built next to an above ground storm sewer. My property slopes toward this drainage area so I am going to build a retaining wall on the low end of the run to level the ground area that the birds will be in. The retaining wall will be approximately 1.5 feet tall built with treated 6 x 6 timbers. On the inside of the run I am going to place landscape fabric down, covered by about six inches of pea gravel then I will top off the area with 6 inches of river sand.

    I have read many post citing the use of hardware cloth and the benefits of burying it 6 inches underground however I am considering laying it flat under the gravel and sand on the interior perimeter of the run. This would save me a lot of effort and I just cant imagine an animal being able to dig under a retaining wall then up through the other side and somehow coming up through 3 foot wide hardware cloth that is laid flat on the ground and is covered with over a foot of rocks and sand.

    Predators in my area include raccoon, dogs, coyote, and fox. With my retaining wall being 1.5 feet above ground level I thought I would put 6 inches of hardware cloth above the retaining wall for added security.

    So my question are:

    1. Am I missing some obvious reason why this will not be a decent idea?
    2. Any idea how long galvanized wire will last if buried?
    3. Any suggests on how to improve this design?

  2. mgw

    mgw Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Eastern Wa.
    I am sure that would be fine, I dont have anything burried around my coops and have had no problems [ knock on wood],
  3. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2010
    Rock Hill,SC
    sounds good to me.

    build, build,build!!! [​IMG]
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Sounds good to me, too. I don't know how long galvanized will last, but bet it will last longer than most anything else you might bury. I have some galvanized roofing, used for walls, that extends below ground, been there over 3 years, intact, FWIW.
  5. cptbahama

    cptbahama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    augusta, georgia
    I'm glad you posted this because I have been contemplating what to put in my run as well. I am wondering what is the need for burying it OUTSIDE the coop (and run) if you line the bottom of the INSIDE of the coop/ run. They may be able to dig under the outer frame but won't be able to come up through.
    It brings up another question though. When you clean out the run, say with a flat transfer shovel, won't it be difficult to shovel if you keep encountering the buried cloth?
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:In THIS SPECIFIC CASE, yes i think it is a very reasonable approach.

    I would still not recommend it in general, though, for two reasons: 1) most people are not going to put anywhere NEAR your 12" of material covering the hardwarecloth, and thus will get chickens digging down to it and being unable to scratch properly and that's not (IMO) right. And 2) for runs larger than yours, it is way more expensive to underlay the whole run floor with wire than to just do a perimeter apron.

    But, again, for your particular situation it sounds quite sensible. Although bear in mind that if you should ever want to get rid of the chicken run, or (decades hence) need to replace the hardwarecloth, it will be a huge mess of buried rusty shards of wire. Not a particularly immediate concern though [​IMG]

    2. Any idea how long galvanized wire will last if buried?

    Depends on the quality of the galvanization and the acidity and dampness of your soil and how scratched up it gets. In non-extreme conditions you should easily get 5-10 yrs out of it. Beyond that is anyone's guess.

    Quote:See my comments above. If the run is very small AND you will be putting a VERY VERY THICK layer of stuff atop the wire, it makes sense; otherwise, not so much. There should certainly not ever be a situation where your shovel (during cleaning) encounters hardwarecloth though -- if it is that close to the surface then it is messin' with the chickens' ability to scratch, and scratching around in the dirt after bugs, adn digging dustbathing holes, is SUCH a central part of "being a chicken" that personally I think it is terrible to deprive them of that.

    If you really want a digproof (predatorproof) surface under the run but not having a foot or more of stuff on top of it (but still SOMEthing), consider pavers or concrete slab. At least they will not hurt or potentially injure the chickens' toes when scratching, and they are more durably ratproof than hardwarecloth anyhow.

    Honestly though for most people (larger runs, less fill dumped, not trying to totally ratproof) an apron type design is really much cheaper and easier and quite effective.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

  7. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2010
    My Coop
    I think half the fun of the whole chicken thing is the planning that goes into it. Thanks for the input!

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