Coop question



This might get moved to the predator page, but its mostly a question on coop construction so i think im in the right place!
So, we have our coop. One of those fancy well built Red Amish coops, and we are building the run.
Now...Before I get into the fence we are putting up, let me explain our yard. We have an acer and a half fenced in with thick six foot chain-link fencing, and strong metal pols that had to be cemented into the ground due to solid granite boulders *so I was told* that prevented the fence guys from just digging a hole and sticking the post in it.
This is up for our show dog's to run in, as they need lots of exercise and we can only walk one at a time XD *The seem to enjoy the run better then the walks...* Anyway! Sorry I got sidetracked >.>
The fence is surrounded by woods with a stream in the back, we have the coop in the very middle of that yard. *A little bit closer to the house then the middle but you get what I mean.*
We plan on fencing in a massive space for them We have four of the panels built already, however my mother and I are having an argument on safety. *My chickens! Not the racoon's or fox's >
She wants to take the panels and simply put them up and "Maybe" put a roof on it, even though we had a close call in the neighborhood with a hawk trying to take off with the neighbors chihuahua.
I want to put a layer of chicken wire on the roof, and bury 3 inches of hardwire cloth or something so nothing *Our dogs included* can dig under the fence and terrorize or kill my birds.
She thinks this is over kill and is using the neighbor up the street as evidence for her case. He has had chickens for years and hardly ever lost a bird to any animal *Because he has a good rooster and he "marks" his territory*

We have a known problem with hawks, coyotes, and racoon's. Anyone have any suggestions for the coop, or care to agree or disagree with anything I have said?
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Coyotes, hawks and coons, in addition to dogs will not discriminate when it comes to eating your chickens. Roosters may require more effort. Have your mom read on the predator page a while, or be prepared to replace after the first attack and upgrade security then. A dog, coyote or coon can wipe out the entire flock in one attack. And they do not always happen at night. We had a coyote come into our yard at 1:30 in the afternoon. I had my flock free ranging, because both I and my dogs were outside. That is the only reason we were able to save the flock.
It seems to me that your major predators to worry about are hawks and your own dogs (no matter how nice your dogs are) in the daytime; and (mostly at night) raccoons and possums. In theory, you are probably also exposed to mink/weasel/fisher type things, plus coyotes, plus foxes; but I would *think* that having your yard smell strongly of dog territory should reduce the amount they get close enough to the coop to be all that big a threat.

3" of buried hardwarecloth isn't going to stop much of anything. If you are going to bother to try to stop digging predators at all (and I think it probably IS worthwhile, to protect from your own dogs if nothing else) I would recommend a 2-3' wide apron of welded wire mesh (not really buried, just lightly covered to keep it out of the way) or put a course of well-laid 18x24" pavers all around the run/coop. And keep a CLOSE eye on your dogs' attitude towards the chickens, as some dogs can climb remarkably well when given sufficient incentive.

As for the top, if you are going to lock the chickens into the henhouse every night by dusk without fail (which is definitely the safest thing to do), you could either use just deer netting or chickenwire (and expect it to come down every winter when you have the first big snowfall, so you may wish to make it intentionally-removeable; or just zigzag string back and forth and back and forth and back and forth over the run to discourage hawks, which is pretty snowproof; or if you want to spend lots more money you can put 2x4" wire mesh on as a top, with appropriate supports to withstand snow. Personally, in Massachusetts with a LARGE run, I'd probably go with the zigzagged string, even tho it is not 100% protective.

Good luck, have fun,

I used to leave my chicken run open on top until too many eagles and owls used it as a buffet. I covered it with top net which is easier to use than poultry netting.
Thank you very much! Your reply should be enough to help me sway my mother's thoughts. I am growing attached to my birds and I dont want to loose one, let alone the entire flock!
Thank you so much for your help! I will see if this changes her mind.

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