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Converting an enclosure & shed into coop - advice/ideas, please?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by GallusGal, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. GallusGal

    GallusGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Alabama
    After our dog incident, I've decided that I'd like to relocate my chickens on our property. The new location I have scoped out seems perfect: it is a 14L x 12w x 8h pen and next to it is a 12 L x 8w x 8h concrete and metal "shed" of sorts. My problem? They aren't connected, and to make things a little more complicated, the first 4ft of the walls of each (ground up) are solid (metal for the outdoor, concrete for the indoor).

    Now, I know several people who have a ramp leading up to an elevated sleeping area in their coops. So I'm hoping the same concept could work. If I were to make a wooden or wooden floored, wire "caged" chute between the two structures, do you think it would work? This is what I'm talking about:

    [​IMG]
    The gray area would be the metal/concrete. The red lines are a ramp leading up the chute from the outdoors, and down from the chute to the indoors. The red block between is where I'd put my chicken walkway.

    I realize the first few times I might need to "urge" them through, but do you think they'd learn to use it regularly? Picking them up and carrying them back and fourth each day isn't really practical.

    My other question regards materials. Presently, the outdoor enclosure has walls that are basically just a slightly-better-than-home-windows screen. Basically, something a coyote, raccoon, etc. could easily rip through. Now from what I gather, chicken wire isn't terribly useful. Would galvanized welded wire work? There is a sale at TSC right now and I could get 100ft - more than enough to do the enclosure - for just $60.

    Input appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Absolutely. As you say, it will require initial training, and I would suggest making the connecting chute as LARGE as possible (b/c they are more likely to use it if it's higher and wider; and because that way one chicken will be less likely to block the way for all others). But I am absolutely sure they'll catch on. There are enough people who use coop window openings as popdoors, and I am sure I've seen people post similar setups with a raised tunnel type thing that was working well for them.

    My other question regards materials. Presently, the outdoor enclosure has walls that are basically just a lightly-better-than-home-windows screen. Basically, something a coyote, raccoon, etc. could easily rip through. Now from what I gather, chicken wire isn't terribly useful. Would galvanized welded wire work? There is a sale at TSC right now and I could get 100ft - more than enough to do the enclosure - for just $60.

    Galvanized welded wire mesh is what most people use, and it is totally good as long as it is heavy enough gauge and well-welded. The question is, what SIZE do you want to be using. (And what size is that price for).

    2x4 welded wire mesh allows weasels, mink, very young raccoons/possums, food-stealing songbirds, raccoon arms, and chicken heads to go through. If you use that size, I would recommend that you put something smaller-mesh along the bottom 2-3' and anywhere else that chickens might find themselves immediately on the other side of the mesh from a predator, and make sure the chickens are locked in the henhouse by dusk.

    1x2 cage wire is good stuff, but again I'd put something smaller mesh along the lower portion if you want to be on the safe side.

    1x1 welded wire mesh is generally good. The only thing that can go thru is raccoon arms, and they won't go too far thru (probably fine for a run, tho I would not use it near a roost, you know?). Well, rats will go thru it too but honestly it's almsot impossible to keep out rats [​IMG]

    1/2" hardwarecloth is good too, although it is pricier and interferes more with your visibility. I see no point in using the smaller 1/4" hardwarecloth.

    Beware of poor-quality welded wire mesh (including some 2x4 mesh -- some 'corn crib' or garden fencing of that size has *really* crappy welds, I can pull them apart myself and a raccoon or coyote or dog is stronger at that sort of thing than I am -- and pretty much ALL 2x2 or 2x3 mesh that i've ever seen, which tend to be both flimsy-gauge *and* badly welded).

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. GallusGal

    GallusGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Alabama
    I just went to TSC and realized the welded wire was 2x4, no good. It looked finer in the picture. What about the 2x4 plus chicken wire (I already have a ton of wire), or would mink still get through that? Oh well. I'm thinking hardware cloth is my best choice, right? I want it to be secure and if it costs more, so be it.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:2x4 plus chickenwire is a somewhat contentious subject [​IMG] It is certainly true that if an animal -- and I'd include mink here -- REALLY WANTS to get in, and is small enough to get in thru 2x4 wire as mink are, then it will be able to rip a hole in the chickenwire and then get in.

    However this does not seem to often *happen*. Therefore, to me it is a not-unreasonable option for people who are feeling in a somewhat risk-tolerant mood. The biggest problem with 2x4 wire is incidents that happen *quickly*, and chickenwire will certainly slow things down (and keep chicken heads on the correct side of the fence).

    That said, if you know mink are a real problem in your area, or are wanting to err on the side of caution, something altogether smaller-meshed would be a better bet.

    (e.t.a. - personally I am a big fan of 1x1 wire, assuming ou can get good quality. You should price that in addition to hardwarecloth. Or even 1x2 wire with something to slow down reach-through on the lower parts -- for *that*, chickenwire would probably be pretty adequate)

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  5. GallusGal

    GallusGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
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    Jul 20, 2008
    Alabama
    I will have to think it over. Right now, the coop would be set up behind our property fence, which is 5ft of metal and another three feet of chainlink, heavily patrolled by dogs. The chickens would be in the one area the dogs couldn't get to, but they raise a powerful din if they see any animal in that area. The birds would also be in the concrete-and-metal shed at night, when they'd be most vulnerable. But I don't want to half... bummy it, and wind up with dead birds. Most likely I will just spend more and get hardware cloth.
     

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