Chain Link for surrounding the run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cluck shmucks, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. cluck shmucks

    cluck shmucks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    So I am drawing up plans for our new chickies' house and run, and trying desperately to find something cost-effective to use as the fencing around/on top of the run. I found a fencing supply place somewhat close that sells 6 ft. chain link for $1.25 per lineal foot--seems the perfect way to go after checking out pricing on woven wire mesh and hardware cloth--yikes! I want the run to be 6 ft high, and being 12 feet long and 6 ft wide, the other options, in the lengths they have to be bought in, are just getting too expensive. I figured the chain link will be STRONG, and is the best cost... But I am worried about rats getting in, or something reaching through...

    If I were to put up hot-wire at say, 4 and 8 inches high, would this be a sufficient means of protection? I have never had to deal with possum, raccoons, etc., so I don't know what other measures I should be taking... And I haven't seen rats around our new place, nor any sign of them (nasty messy nests, droppings, etc in the barn or near the house). But I'm sure they are out there, and will eventually make an appearance when we start feeding the horses grain, and the chicken feed is out. And when they do... Will they pose a problem to our chickens? We do have a silkie, and a bantam amerecauna, and then 3 brahmas. I am worried about the two "minis", and the rats.

    Are rats generally a problem as an aggressive predator? Or do they just go after the feed? Should I be concerned?

    Also, I am wondering if anyone uses chain link, and has it attached to wood posts rather than the metal ones it is usually used with? I will have the posts at all 4 corners, with 2x6's along the top and bottom, and some placed vertically between for extra support. Hhmm... I assume the chain link can be buried as well, I hope so! I plan on COMPLETELY enclosing it, including underground. I want my chickies to be SAFE! [​IMG]

    Any suggestions or advice is appreciated! Thanks!
  2. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You don't say where you're at but be sure to plan for snow, heat, rain, extreme weather, standing water, wind and unwanted visitors, including the 2 legged type. This means designing for good ventilation year around without drafts as well as easy access to the coop for cleaning and egg gathering. Mice aren't a real concern except for stealing feed but if you have large rats in the area, you may have reason for safety concern for the little birds. Maybe, given your area layout, you can set one wall of the coop against the run wall and have a secured pop door to retrieve eggs, and a roll out drawer design poop tray that you can access and clean from outside the run. Coop windows, if coop is inside run, can be screened for bugs or just glass. Look at setting your fount and feeder outside the coop, maybe hung in the underside of the coop to keep feed dry and with the food outside the coop, the mice won't have a reason to enter the coop. Access for the birds into the coop should be thought out so you don't give vermin a walkway in, maybe a smooth metal set of bars or a slick surface ladder might be the answer. Also putting a sunning ledge or porch on the front will give your girls a place to jump up to before entering the coop.

    Chain link wire makes a excellent run and top as does heavy weight 1"x1" up to 2"x4" welded wire but you will need hardware cloth too. Given the number of birds you have, consider building a 4'x6'x3' tall coop sitting on 3' legs that are wrapped with sheetmetal or flashing to prevent vermin from crawling into the coop. Keep in mind that if you go big enough on the run to set the coop inside the run, your birds secure, you will have easy access to clean the coop, you will not have to lockdown your birds each night, and you won't need to spend money critter proofing the coop.

    I would suggest you set your posts and build your fence frame as you have described plus across the top to support the roof wire from drooping and cover the whole thing with tightly stretched chain link wire cut into sections. (don't try to wrap chain link around corners, it's too hard and stiff) Be sure the posts and any ground contact wood is all weather wood and that everything is painted for a neat appearance and to avoid rot problems. Attach the wire with fence staples or long heavy nails that are bent to hold the wire in place, not staple gun staples. You should line the lower part of the run walls with 36" hardware cloth (about 12 - 18" up) and then bent it outward to create a skirt (about 12 to 18") to stop digging predators. Doing this and being sure the wire is fastened at each available point eliminates need for electric fence. Set up your run access door so the bottom of the door is at the top of the hardware cloth and you set over to enter or install a completely jambed metal exterior door, cut down to the height of the run, to seal out the critters and install a latch / lock on it. This gives you a attractive Ft Knox for your birds and when predators do find you, all they can do is crawl around the outside of the coop but can't get in. [​IMG]

    In the interest of keeping costs down, keep a eye on Craigslist and yard sales in your area and maybe even advertise that you're needing wire, paint, metal flashing, used house door, etc. It's suprising what people have setting around their house.

    Have fun with your project and post some pictures...[​IMG]...besides you may have a neat idea we would want to steal [​IMG]
  3. cluck shmucks

    cluck shmucks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    Wow, thanks for all the info Bryan! I am... pretty handy and thoughtful when it comes to building things (in other words, it gets put together good, and it get's put together strong, I don't pussy-foot around!), I swing a hammer like a MAN, even if I am a teeny little girl [​IMG] I did plan on the heavy duty fencing staples--no rosy-eyed visions of using my electric staple gun on this project [​IMG], and supporting the top wire as well as the sides with the PT 2x6's, etc. I do have a bit of OCD as far as appearance, and am not keen on the folding out of the wire at the bottom... which is why I planned to dig out the ground where the run will be, and sort of make a "box" and apply the chain link to the bottom as well, prior to adding back the dirt and new sand for the run floor. I'm not sure how well that works with chickens that like to dig dust holes, but I guess I'll find out!

    BUT, I did think I was gonna get away with wrapping the chain link! [​IMG] I guess I do like to make things difficult on myself--thanks for letting me know it wan't gonna work!

    We are in the PacNW, just north of Vancouver, WA. It is pretty windy here ( and, rain? what's that? <sarcasm>), there hasn't been a day we haven't had at least a minor breeze since moving in a month ago. So I am planning on some sort of wind break, and also a roof over half of the run. The coop will sit outside of the run, and serve as part of the wall/fence on one end, with a ramp up to the door. However... I will have to stew on that one for a little bit, I don't want to end up having to rescue the silkie every morning and night, lol! I am hoping if it's just a low, short, wide one, she will use the ramp, who knows... I've already decided to get another one, so she'll have company in her silkie pile on the floor at night. [​IMG] Either way, we will have nest boxes with external access, a large access door for cleaning, and the house will be custom made for both Big-uns and Silkies, with high perches and nest box, and very low perches and nest box. These fluff-butts better love me for all the trouble I'm going to--much to my boyfriend's chagrin! [​IMG]

    We have hawks, bald (and I think gold) eagles, coyotes, nosy neighbor dogs, etc. I'm sure there are fox and possibly bob-cat (this is a new area for me, not sure about the bobs) as well, and coons, possum, etc. I think we're prolly safe from the two-legged predators though--we are well off the road, and on top of that the neighbors are great, not that we know anyone yet, but it seems to be a great community they all keep an eye out for one another and seem really nice--plus, the only neighbors we can physically see already have their own flock, so I don't think that will be an issue! I am hoping that when free-ranging, the Roos (the bantam is definitely a roo, at 4 weeks old, his comb has been coming in for a week, and is turning red as of today, and one of the brahmas may be as well, we'll see!) will do their jobs. We will NEVER leave them to free-range unattended, but even so, I'm sure the Roos will see something coming before I will.

    I was kind of thinking on getting some 24" chicken wire for the bottom, and also still the hot wire, in hopes of deterring any walk-ins or climb-ins where the rats are concerned. It's cheap, it sucks (for the offender), and I have a ton of it, plus the box, for my horses already. So there's no reason not to add it for me, really. I'm not sure how I'll approach the run door issue yet, but a solid one is a great idea! (Hadn't actually thought of that... [​IMG])

    I'm planning on some protected vents for the house, wire mesh for the windows (so I can open in the summer--won't the bugs come in the chicken door anyway? And on that note... won't the chickens EAT the bugs?), and have decided against insulating for now (maybe a project for later in the summer or fall when I have some more pocket change)--I'll be sealing cracks and such to avoid drafts, have some good sized, yet well-protected vents--maybe a cupola or something, and I'll end up putting a lamp out either way, I'm a "mommy", and it doesn't get that cold here, save for a handful of days it gets into the teens each winter. I'm sure we'll get some snow--our new location is farther North, and farther UP on a hill, so we are also shopping for an SUV, lol! But it still won't be awful, it never lasts for more than a week, and we never get more than a few inches, maybe up to a foot on some crazy, rare occasion every hundred years or so. Anyway, DRAINAGE will probably be my HUGEST mountain to climb. I have a feeling it will be a constant maintenance issue, although, the chickens will be in an area where it won't stand, it may run through, so I am exploring the various "sandbagging" options to re-rout the flow of run-off away from and around the coop/run. that is a new venture for me, so I am hoping it doesn't prove impossible to do what I plan--and that is keep the water OUT of the chicken estate!

    Anyway, we will be breaking ground on Monday, so I will post pictures as we progress! [​IMG] Thanks again for the suggestions and advice!
    <jotting down reminders: hanging feeder, heavy duty wire-cutters, solid run door...>

  4. carriej

    carriej Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 28, 2011
    this might help, i just finished my new coop/run i used chainlink fence for the walls and then did the roof and wrapped the walls in chk wire, the best way to attach it is with l-rings and the special pliers for l- rings, they cost about $15 at my local hardware/feed store, then i used foundation blocks to pin the chk wire to the ground around the outside of the chk run to prevent digging. . fyi beware of skunks one killed my rir 1yr old babies before i took care of it with a .22, now im starting over with bantam,cochin,and mixed babies... goodluck to you
  5. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Hi, I used chanin link construction fence panels set against 4" x 4" s, 2"x6" around bottom and am doing 2" x 6' around top. Worked great. If ya wanna see how it turned out, check out my page. Still have to do the top of run, bought the lumber yesterday. Hope this helps. I think for the durability and cost factor of other lighter weight materials, chain link is tops.
  6. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    I also used chain link panels, they are 6ft by 8 ft I believe, I put posts in the ground where two pieces would meet and hooked them together at that post. It worked out well and it was super easy to go over with chicken wire 3 feet up and I used a another section of the fence panel for the top and covered it with chicken wire as well.
  7. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Might look at starting your run's floor base with some large rock to help control erosion or maybe a ditch angled across the uphill side to guide the water around the coop and run.

    On shielding the run, maybe run the top cover as well as the sides out a few feet to keep the wind from whipping the rain on and turning the whole run floor into a bog? Hanging a outside roost in the shielded run would be appreciated by all the birds. Don't worry about the fuzzybutts and silkies having trouble with the ramp, they will use it like a racetrack [​IMG]

    As to controlled venting, forced air heat vents work great, they have a lever and flaps built into them to easily close

    As for the windowes, why not wire them with hardware cloth and have some plexiglass to insert when the weather goes bad?

    depending on how far from the house the coop is and what you're using for litter (hope it's not absorbant due to your wind and rain) maybe you will want to dig in a lined dry well or set up a compost pile for the poo and other dirty stuff so you don't have to haul it back to the house to dispose of.

    Just spitballing some ideas, sounds like you have a good handle on what you want, be sure to post some pics [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  8. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    Just an FYI - you may be able to find used dog kennel runs on CL for cheaper than you can build it. I'm starting mine that way - I found one 6x12 run for free, and a 6x10 for $75 and will be connecting them. Super easy, since they are in panels. I will stick some chicken wire across the top since the top isnt covered.
  9. Tenmore

    Tenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2011
    Ogden utah
    get a few more panels and put the accross the top...
  10. SheDragon

    SheDragon Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 10, 2011
    Everett, WA
    I'm going to pick up a dog kennel/run tomorrow and was wondering if 3 ft up the side for hardware cloth is enough to keep the rats out. Was planning on leaving their food out at night, not worried about critters getting into coop. I will be putting chicken wire over the top but wasn't sure about how critter proof it will be. Run is 4' H x 5' W x 10' L

    I apologize if this is a threadjack. [​IMG]

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