Cheapest and EASIEST way to fully enclose a run? pic

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicken-owner-31, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. chicken-owner-31

    chicken-owner-31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2007
    Fully enclosed and cheap probably do not go together, but I thought I'd ask! [​IMG]

    Right now my big birds are in a run that is made up of t-posts and 4 foot high horse wire fencing. Thier only predator protection has been tree cover and yard dogs. In the several months of them being out there, I've only lost one to hawk, and that was the day they were first turned out at 4 weeks old. They are now so heavy, thier butts can't fly over the fence, but I am planning on getting some lighter egg layers, and I want to make the run a lot bigger and enclose the whole mess for safety and escapee purposes. I live next to a pretty busy road and have the dogs......if they were to get out into the yard or over the fence outside the yard, they would be toast.

    I want this to be tall enough that I do not have to duck when I am walking in it. I was thinking about possibly using the thicker PVC poles and making archs over the top and covering them with chicken wire. Do you think this would work to keep hawks out and chickens (ducks in the future?) in? I'm not terribly worried about nighttime predators, in the past 3 years of being here, only one possum got in to the completely open run. (Dogs were slacking.) One golf club and some missing tail feathers later, all was well.

    I definitely want it to be sturdy too. I don't want the whole thing falling down, and I worry about that with PVC poles.

    Here is a pic of the set up before I converted the coop, would you think the thicker PVC might work? We don't have a heck of a lot of extra cash laying around at the moment, but ease is more of what I'm looking for. My hubby is not very good with wood. AT ALL. Seriously. I'm way better than he is at working with wood and I stink too!

    I'm I'm definitely open to ANY and all suggestions!!

    It housed a dog before we moved in:
  2. Gray Ghost

    Gray Ghost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2010
    You might look into 14 gauge 2" x 4" welded wire fencing. Available in 50' rolls including in 6' high size. Relatively easy to work with and not that expensive.

    If you want a cheap overhead cover which works on hawks but not 4-legged climbing predators, try bird netting or some kind of woven nylon netting.

  3. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    Is there a coop they can be locked in at night? Or do they go under the lean-to?
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Having only one nighttime predator in 3 years doesn't mean it won't happen worse in the future. Especially with raccoons. All's it takes is for ONE of them to figure it out, and you can quickly be minus your entire flock. So don't do this "no real predator security at night" thing unless you know full well what you are getting yourself into.

    Anyhow, to address your actual question, if you're going to do the hoop top thing (which can work well in snow-free areas without too much autumn leaf fall, there are some great examples on various peoples' coop pages) you might consider using bird/trellis netting instead of chickenwire. It will be much cheaper and easier to work with, and provide pretty much the same security.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. chicken-owner-31

    chicken-owner-31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2007
    Yes, they go into the lean to at night, I've reworked it to only have a small opening that they go into and out of, the sides and front are covered. I'm planning on reworking the entire thing too so it is a fully enclosed coop. It does not look exactly like the picture anymore.

    I certianly don't want to lose my animals to predators, but we live in the country and the dogs do thier job pretty well. Aside from the possum, I have never seen anything in this yard that wasn't supposed to be. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I figure I would have had a continuing problem by now if there was going to be a problem.

    That is the whole reason I'm asking. I know my setup isn't very protected. I want it to be more protected! [​IMG]
  6. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I agree wit bird netting, or even deer netting if you can find it cheap enough.
  7. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2011
    Vancouver BC
    Quote:How long have you had your chickens?

    I haven't had a dog so I'm not sure how good they are at their job, but I would certainly worry - especially about predatory birds like hawks or eagles. Not much a dog could do about that.
  8. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    2"x4" welded wire is good. That is what I used to cover the top of my hoop house - because raccoons can climb and break through chicken wire tops.
    You will need more defensible wire or wood or tin where they sleep though, to keep the raccoons/other preds from REACHING through the largeish holes in welded wire fence. Hardware cloth is best for that. However, mine just have welded wire and the roost is out in the center about 4ft from the "walls" so nothing can reach in that far through the holes at night. It's been safe under considerable predator pressure, however it's not foolproof. A raccoon *could* lure a bird over to the side.
    What you need to do is add a dig-prevention skirt around to keep things from digging in. THAT is how the raccoons have compromised my pen before I got the skirt fully finished. As far as I can tell nothing has ever tried to compromise the top, but I went full welded-wire on it just to be sure.
    No losses after finishing the dig skirt.

    Mine is welded wire and only 1ft wide. Some think you should go 2ft out to be more secure. One foot is working for me and that's almost exactly how much fence I had, so that's how it is.

    I used a cattle panel to arch it up good, and PVC in other places. 1/2" conduit is just under $2 per 10ft section, so it's a good deal IMO. I just had the extra cattle panel leftover from another project and it worked great too.
  9. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Quote:I have a dog kennel just like that and have been using a tarp on top. Think I'll try the cattle panel too. Thanks.
  10. chicken-owner-31

    chicken-owner-31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2007
    Thank you Tala, that is a GREAT idea! I have one of those laying around! And I honestly didn't think to use welded wire fence to go over the top of the arch. It would probably be cheaper to get a roll of that than it would be to get chicken wire. And more reliable.

    To those that are worried, thank you for your concern!! I don't think I've explained myself well enough....I am concerned about my birds, which is why I am asking in the first place! I"m not worried about nighttime predators as much because I plan on locking the birds in the fully enclosed coop I will be making at night. And yes, the dogs do a VERY good job at keeping unwanted critters out. They are farm dogs, not spoiled house dogs (I have one of those too! Haha!) The dogs are introduced to what belongs and they leave it alone (as long as the chickens stay on thier side of the fence, anyway.) Their job is for protection and they know it and do it well. The arch idea is for the hawks.

    My cochins and silkies are in a chicken Fort Knox! [​IMG] But thiers is a lot smaller of an area and was easier to fully enclose and make nearly foolproof. I know how determined coons can be, but they would be ripped to shreads if they got in the yard.

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