Coop and run materials: what to use or avoid

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lowry075, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. lowry075

    lowry075 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2011
    Southern California
    Hi, this is for people trying to come up with coop ideas who may need clarification on some things. I am only going over a few aspects of enclosures, so please add anything I don't address:

    The use of wires:

    Chicken wire is ONLY to keep OUT chickens of a given area (like a flower patch you don't want trampled). NEVER use chicken wire to enclose a run or cover coop windows, as predators easily chew through it.

    To cover runs or coops windows: BEST= hardware cloth, Good= welded wire. This comes in different sizes, some squares are small (nickel sized), and some are about 4 x1. It will keep out all predators except rats, mice, some snakes, and animals in the weasel family. It is less costly than welded wire.

    Aprons: an apron is a wire perimeter around the base of your enclosure which is buried under the dirt to discourage predators from digging underneath your enclosure. There are some good photos of aprons on some of the other coop threads.

    To cover the top of the encloure or not? If you have birds of prey, or predators that can climb (which are most), then I recommend it. Many people keep their run top open because the predators in their area are nocturnal, and their birds are "cooped up" at night, but some BYC members have attested to the fact that they have had predators like racoons come out during the day, so use your discretion.


    Tree branches, thick dowel rods (like for a closet) work well. This gives your bird a place to roost at night. They should not be too close to the ground. If you do not provide a roost, your birds may sleep in their nest boxes and poop in them. Birds alo enjoy roosting, and it is a good way to use what would otherwise be wasted space in a coop.

    Cinder blocks:

    If you use cinder blocks to raise up anything in your coop, as I have done, be aware of the fact that spiders and rodents love the holes in the blocks, and you may find something you'd rather not, if you move them to clean or rearrange things.

    Nesting boxes:

    Using materials around your home saves money, and not everyone is handy with wood and drills, right?
    - coolers, 5 gallon buckets on their side, unused planter boxes, plastic bins

    I hope this helps someone out there. [​IMG]
  2. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 5, 2008
    Thanks! We're starting on our little coop this evening and can use all the advice we can get!
  3. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    AVOID: Chicken wire
    Hanging chains that a chicken/fowl can get caught up in (head, wings)
    Loose nail/screw heads that a chicken/fowl can get caught on (eye lids, legs scales, toes)
    Open light bulbs that chicken/fowl can fly up and hit
    Pressure treated wood near the chickens/fowl (it's a carcinogen)

    USE: 2X4's with the wide side up for perches (chickens don't grab onto perches like parrots or birds, they are flat footed by nature)
    Closures to doors that raccoons cannot open -- things that require two hands or lots of tension (carabiners)
    HOT WIRE short of a bear, NOTHING will push past electrical hot wire
    Hardware's worth the extra cost
    All doors/windows fit tight & strong so an animal can't pry a corner open
    Hardware cloth over windows
    Hardware cloth under the floor boards to prevent dig-ins from underneath

    DO: Make sure the coop/run has good drainage
    In cold winter places, make sure coops/runs can carry a snow load
  4. spotstealer

    spotstealer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Poynette, WI
    I would also add plenty of ventilation, but also protect from direct drafts (winter weather)
    Seal up any voids/cracks to help prevent drafts.
  5. mattfc

    mattfc New Egg

    Jul 26, 2011
    the run wire: There is a plastic coated wire which is strong enough to prevent predators. The gaps can be your design. I have the detailed pictures. But i dont know how to upload here.

    Also, for coop body, we always use timbers. Please note the timber will swell when it gets wet. So, dont be so tight for the part that you want move.

    Sometimes, the wood battens bottom floor is better than one piece wood floor. It is will be more ventilated, also is hard to be broken.

    I am Chinese... wish you can understand my words.

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