burying "apron" around coop, and hardware cloth question


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 20, 2009
A couple of questions for you folks as we finish the new run...

What is the standard depth and width to which most people bury their chicken wire apron? We were figuring on one foot deep and two feet out...would this be enough?

And regarding hardware cloth... It seems standard practice to wrap the bottom couple of feet of the fence in this. Our fence is 2x4 welded wire. What predator would the hardware cloth be for? Weasels? I was thinking they could just climb up the hardware cloth till they could get through one of the 2x4 holes in the welded wire....would this be the case, or no? I would imagine there is a reason for the hardware cloth as so many people seem to do it, but there is obviously something I'm missing as I need it spelled out for me.
When I built my coop, the main reason I used hardware cloth is because it's so darn strong, and the 1/2" mesh will also deter predators of all sizes as well as rodents. Chicken wire is no match for a fiesty 'coon, I've seen them chew right through it...and as for larger squares in the mesh, weasles, foxes and other various predators will "reach in" and literally decapitate a chicken trying to get it through the holes. As for the apron, I buried mine a foot down angled outward, the bought those square masonry stones (2'x2') at walmart for a couple bucks a piece and went all the way around the coop and run as an additional deterent for diggers. I even enclosed the roof of my coop with the 1/2" hardware cloth as many predators are climbers...

Hop this helps, here's a pic of my set-up....


Hardware Cloth below the bottom




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Good questions.

You don't absolutely have to bury it. If you leave it lying on top of the ground, especially if you put something to weight it down just a bit, the grass grows up through it and holds it down. If you really feel you want to bury it, maybe for aesthetic reasons or to keep it from getting tangled in a weed eater cord, just take up the sod, maybe 2", and cover it with that.

My fence is also 2" x 4" welded wire. I did not use hardware cloth on the bottom of it but many people do. I used regular chicken wire instead. The purpose is not so much to keep predators out. It is to keep the chicken's heads in so a predator cannot rip the head off when they are reaching through for a bit of grass. It also makes it a lot harder for a raccoon to reach through the fence to grab a chicken body part. Another reason is, if you have baby chicks, it keeps the chicks inside the run where Mama can take care of them.

Good luck!
Thanks for the reply!

Now, are raccoons "diggers"? Or would that be more for foxes, dogs, etc? I don't want to bury chicken wire if it's not going to do the job, but if raccoons aren't much in the way of digging then we might be able to use the chicken wire (which I was thinking of because we already have it).

Fortunately, our run is rather large for our 8 birds (about 20'x20') and so we don't have to worry toooo much about anything being able to reach in, although I'm thinking hardware cloth would be a good idea where their space narrows by the door into the coop.

Do you think a weasel, if only the bottom 2 or 3 feet of the run's fencing were enclosed in hardware cloth, would be able/likely to climb up to the top of the hardware cloth and then enter through the openings in the welded wire fence? Are they climbers?
Raccoons are scavengers and will aquire their food by all means necessary such as chewing through chicken wire, and yes digging...some are intelligent enough to figure how to work simple latches and such to gain access...NEVER under estimate the lengths a hungry 'coon will go to to gain access to your birds....read the multiple posts on this site about raccoon and predator attacks. Also it depends on your location and the amount and types of predetors in your area...try to find some one local who has a flock and ask them what they have experienced to gauge your level of coop security, that what I did, and their feed back was priceless.
I wouldn't bother burying chicken wire or using it for an apron. It's just too flimsy. Anything that digs can rip it apart, so why bother?

Terrified chickens can easily be tricked by raccoons working together to pile up in the corner of a pen where they can be grabbed from the outside. This happens, unfortunately, all too frequently. It isn't just chickens, this kind of thing happens to doves, too. Their instinct is simply to flee, they can't reason "hey, if I stay in the middle of this pen I'll be safe."

Anything small enough to get through the openings in your welded wire will be a risk to your chickens. You can mitigate this risk by locking your chickens in a secure coop at night, since that's when predator risk is higher.
This propensity of chickens to huddle in corners is why I built my A-Frame coop bottom section with the wood down to the ground on half of two adjoining sides. Even though the pen beneath the upper quarters is covered in hardware cloth, I felt the chickens needed that solid, secure corner JUST IN CASE.

Here it is during the construction phase:
Here's an idea. I layed wire on the ground and covered it with rocks. The rocks are 4 inches thick and very difficult to move around. See pics below.


Love the rock idea. It also adds a finished look to the coop. I don’t think anything is getting under that. I think I will also add a game camera pointed towards the coop to see what may be trying to get in.

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