Can someone clear this up for me?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by HennaRose, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. HennaRose

    HennaRose Chirping

    Oct 22, 2014
    We have hawks, raccoons, rodents, opossums, cats, and dogs, and I would like to avoid losing any birds or eggs to predators, since I can only keep a very limited number of birds and they won't be easy for me to replace. I'm planning on building a coop and a fully-enclosed run (including a ceiling) around it for my chicks. I've seen a few ways of predator-proofing around the site and I'm confused about the optimal safety against digging predators. Would it be best to:

    A. put down a hardware cloth "floor" for the run
    B. lay hardware cloth on the ground at a 90-degree angle toward the interior of the run
    C. lay hardware cloth on the ground at a 90-degree angle away from the run
    D. bury hardware cloth 2 feet straight down (this may be most difficult of the options due to the water table where I live)
    E. some combination of the above
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  2. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck

    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    Hi! In my opinion, I think you'd be fine with the option of burying the hardware cloth 2ft down. If you put in on the floor of the run they will be running around on wire all the time, not good for their feet, or you'd have to bury that anyways under a good layer of dirt/sand/whatever for them to run around on. 2 ft will deter 'most' predators, so it should be ok. A predator that is determined enough to go deeper is one that is determined to get in no matter what, and those ones are hard to stop at all, but they are rare.
    Maybe others will have a different view and offer more comments, but this is my opinion. Good luck, and hope you enjoy your chooks!!
  3. 66fastback

    66fastback In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2015
    run a electric fence about 6-10 inches from the bottom on the outside and watch the neigbors dog do a dance....
  4. David1998

    David1998 Chirping

    Jul 30, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    I used A covered with about 4 inches of sand for my 12' x 6' coop/run. I never considered B and not sure if that would be effective. Due to limited space, I couldn't do C on all sides. I certainly wasn't digging down 2 ft for D.

    No problems and my chickens have only dug down to the wire in a couple of corners, which I rake the sand back every now and then. I like how it keeps them for digging holes and believe it will also keep rats from tunneling in.
  5. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    I would recommend option C, typically called an "apron" here on BYC. This method has been highly effective at stopping a diggers from getting at our chickens countless times. If you live in a place where grass will grow up through the wire, it doesn't even need to be buried to be effective. I buried mine just below the surface because grass does not naturally grow where I live and we have lots of foot traffic around the coop. You can find more details about predator proofing on the "My Coop" page link just below my avatar.

  6. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    +1 ^

    C was my choice. Very easy to do and very effective. I didn't bury it. Just laid it out (it's attached to redwood 4x4 the coop sits on top of) and put pavers over it.


    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  7. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    Option "C". 18" out.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Option C 18".....but I would be tempted to do some B too, with chicken wire.......I've ended up putting logs on the inside of the run fence as the chickens can dig a mighty deep hole.
  9. HennaRose

    HennaRose Chirping

    Oct 22, 2014
    I was planning on putting cinderblocks around the outside perimeter for growing herbs and to discourage my dogs from getting too near the chicken-pen, but your reply makes me think I should put some on the inside perimeter, too. Not necessarily for growing, just to keep birds from digging too deep!
  10. WNCcluck

    WNCcluck Chirping

    Aug 1, 2014
    Mountains of WNC
    I also vote for option C.

    Our soil has plenty of clay in it, so it's not easy to bury that much hardware cloth. We pinned ours down with landscape pins and covered it with mulch. We've taken ground contact 4x4's and put thjem along the outside edge of the run so as not to take up valuable floor spacek in the run. We'll eventually drill a couple of holes in the 4x4's and pound 18" rebar through to stabilize the 4x4's. It's really quite an attractive setup in addition to being effective predator protection.

    When we see our girls have started digging at this point or that, we simply rake everything smooth again. Our run is sand with PDZ and DE mixed in. The 4x4's also help keep our sand combo in the run.

    We have weasels, foxes, bears, raccoons, possums, coyotes, hawks, owls, and the occasional bobcat in addition to our own dogs, so predator protection is a must for us.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: