Chicken run/grape arbor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CityGirlintheCountry, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    I am trying make a chicken run that can double as a grape arbor. I found a picture of one online that has vertical 4x4 "legs" topped with 4x4 crosspieces. This structure is then covered with a series of 1x3 horizontal slats.
    Kind of like this:
    [​IMG]

    My question is about the spacing on top. If I space the "ceiling" slats about 6" apart, do I still need to put netting or chicken wire on the top? We do have hawks in the neighborhood. Would they go through 6" slats?

    In mine I would have the side slats about 9" apart, but they would end about 3' from the ground. I'll chicken wire the sides and do hardware cloth on the lowest ground level.

    Any thoughts on the matter?
    thanks,
    CG
     
  2. Wooden_Pony

    Wooden_Pony Chillin' With My Peeps

    That is very pretty I have something similar being built down the side of my house!

    I am not sure if a hawk can fit in a 6" space but if you are really worried why not add a thinner slant in between ever 6" space? That is what I will have on mine.

    I would also be worried that if a hawk can or would want to fit in area that small your chickens would be safe all spring and summertime but at risk for an attack during the wintertime until the grape branches grew nice and thick..... hopefully this helps you out some? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  3. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a great idea, but with the cost of chicken wire why take the chance? All you would need in a small strip down the middle, the slats will hold it up. It will also keep the grapes up. The grapes will have enough room to send down braches so they would hang nicely.

    That would be so neat good luck with it.

    Just a thought.[​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I would worry less about hawks (I think 6" between slats should be fine) than about raccoons and other climbing things like that.

    What about using 2x4 welded wire along with the slats? Its advantage over chicken wire would be that it will catch less snow and be stronger under the load (if you are in a snowy area), it will be less prone for the grape vines to push it apart as they grow, and because the holes are bigger you will have less problems with the grapevine 'growing into the wire' and strangling itself, although in time that still may be a problem.

    Also I think you'd want to make real sure that the grapes have an extra large amount of well-prepared soil outside of the run, because with the chickens pooing and compacting it inside the run the vines' roots may not do so splendidly in that part of the soil [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Great ideas, y'all!

    I've seen some other arbors with 2x4 welded wire on the top instead of slats. It supported the grapes quite nicely. Snow is not so much a problem here (We had a big blizzard last week that shut down all the schools, emptied the grocery stores and sent the salt trucks out. I got a whopping 1/2". You could still see the grass poking through. [​IMG] )

    Would you put the welded wire under the slats on rest it on top of the slats? I figured to put the chicken wire under the slats to make the wire more structural.

    Oddly enough, I have never seen a racoon out here. I hear coyotes all the time. I see the occasional road kill fox. The neighbors let their dogs run free most of the time. There are lots of hawks flying about. I'm sure there are snakes, although I've never seen one (thank heavens!). But that's it. I'm sure if something else is out there, my chickens will bring it to the yard. Sigh. I can handle everything but the snakes.

    I also want to plant thorny blackberries around the perimeter of the run. I figure that will help keep the dogs away at least. And I'll get fresh blackberries! Of course, it will take a while before everything grows out to be totally effective.

    I have one of the Lowe's playhouses to serve as coop. I had planned on putting it under the run/arbor even though it will look a little odd. The only other option is to put it off one end, but that means some trickier carpentry to get the run attached securely. Dunno. I could go get a second one and put them side by side to fill the eight feet width. Then I could get twice as many chickens! [​IMG]

    Any other hints?

    CG
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If it were me I think I'd attach the 2x4 welded wire underneath the slats, possibly even 6 inches to a foot below them -- that will make it easier to replace if that should ever be necessary, plus it will reduce your problems with vines growing through the mesh (and possibly being damaged by the mesh). The grapes can still dangle down thru of course.

    Even if you've never seen a raccoon, unless you live somewhere entirely raccoon-free like Hawaii or Antarctica <g> you just know that if you do NOT racoon-proof your run you will suddenly have an epidemic ;P

    The blackberries sound like a good idea, but I just have to warn you that they will not necessarily keep out all dogs -- my uncle had a border collie that loved eating blackberries more than anything else on earth (well not quite as much as a good roll in a long-dead groundhog carcass, maybe, but you get my point) and Dawg would cheerfully burrow through really dense thorny blackberry patches in search of More Berries. Dogs. Go figure [​IMG]


    Pat
     
  7. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    The local dogs aren't right bright, if you know what I mean. [​IMG]
    I've thought about putting a garden style electric fence around the bottom, but I'm worried about my young nieces zapping themselves. They are also not always "right bright". I guess I could run it around the top, but then it would not deter the coyotes and dogs. [​IMG]

    Good idea about dropping the wire down below the slat roof. Might be tricky getting it up, but it does make more sense that way.
    Thanks!
    CG
     
  8. nightshade

    nightshade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pat has a great point about coons. They LOVE grape and will naturally be attracted to them. so you probably want something alittle stronger then chicken wire. I have a pet raccoon that lives in my living room. You would be amazed at where even a large one can squeeze into when he wants to badly enough. I would suggest using a 1x2 welded wire. That is what my Baby's sleeping pen is built of. He weighs 20lb and it seems to hold up really well. [​IMG]

    Hope this helps you will have to let me know how your grapes do. I heard someone eles on here saying about training grapes on a run awhile ago. IT sounds like a really good idea. [​IMG]
     
  9. Wooden_Pony

    Wooden_Pony Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good idea about dropping the wire down below the slat roof. Might be tricky getting it up, but it does make more sense that way.

    You can make a wooden frame for the wire with the inside measurments of the arbor. Then attach the wire to the top of the wooden frame and screw it (the wooden frame and wire) to the inside of top boards that are holding the slats....

    Does that make sense?? [​IMG]
     
  10. suburbanhomesteader

    suburbanhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    i wouldn't do the slats at all;

    if you use heavy gauge 2x4 welded wire, like what is available from tractor supply as "horse panel", it is heavy enough to support me laying on it!

    if you're not going to use something that heavy, I would use the heaviest gauge possible, and support it with 2x4s on edge, about 2' apart (ie, the 4" side up and down); grape vines get HEAVY when they are laden with leaves and grapes.

    cool picture!
     

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