Juise

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
958
8
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Again, thank you very much for all the help. I realize it's never going to be 100% predator proof, but I'd like to try as hard as we are able. I think with everything you guys have said, we are going to instead make things smaller yet and build a big box so that we can cover the top with wire as well. It will be about 12' by 13', and 7' tall. Will that be good for 6 chickens? Or possibly a few more? (I would really like to add at least a few more at some point.) The coop itself is 13' by 8'.

If we back all of the 2x4 wire mesh (sounds about right,) with chicken wire, will that keep the weasels and such out? We will need to be buying something for over the top still now, so... in the interest of not double fencing that, too, (we already have the wire mesh and chicken wire fencing for all the sides,) what should we be looking at getting? Hardware cloth all the way across? Is there something perhaps cheaper that would be sufficient?

We were planning on burying the hardware cloth to keep it down, just an inch or two, there isn't really any grass there to anchor it in place. Also to protect little toes, we have 2 young children and we barefoot as much as possible.
 

Juise

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
958
8
123
Also, if were are doing the totally enclosed box thing for the run, which attaches to the front of the coop, and hardware cloth is buried all the way around the coop and run, would you still bury an apron across the front of the coop? It will already be inside the perimeter of hardware cloth, so might we be able to cut that expense?
 

Juise

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
958
8
123
And another thing!
We were going to be using T stakes as running posts, but now the entire structure will be wood. I have an electric staple gun with heavy duty, long staples. Will putting in a %$*@ ton of those be fine for attaching the hardware cloth and fencing to the structure? We were going to screw in the fencing on the corner posts, is that the correct way to do it?

I am so, so frustrated! I've been reading and researching all of this for months and everything keeps turning up to be not good enough, despite assurances by so many people and places that things were more than adequate. It just keeps getting more, and more expensive at a time that we really can't afford it.
It wasn't supposed to be this much, but it's too late for that because we've already got 6 3-month-old chickens!
Also my husband is going to kill me!
Ugh, I am stressed out about the entire thing almost to the point of tears, which I think must mean I am doing well on quitting smoking
Something I think I will recommend to anyone else not be done coinciding with the building of a chicken coop and run!
 
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ChooksinChoppers

Songster
9 Years
Mar 24, 2011
1,893
96
226
Ocala, Florida.
I think the biggest concern people are saying is....the bird netting on top of the run will let a raccon get in that way. Also, you really need to bury your hardware cloth more than 2" (you did say 2 " right?) the reason for this is so nothing can dig under the run. So if you can add an apron that would help a bunch. Would really like to see a pic of your coop so we can advise better and not try to imagine your set up which "could" be perfectly fine
 

Juise

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
958
8
123
Yeah, I realize now that the netting won't be enough, so we will be covering with something else, trying to figure out exactly what we should cover with, though.

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you are saying about the apron and hardware cloth. The hardware cloth I am talking about burying is a 3' apron, and then covering the apron with 2" of dirt. Does that make sense?
 

Juise

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
958
8
123
I'll go take a picture of the coop-to-be, but I'm not sure how to add images to my posts yet without uploading them elsewhere first, or is that what you have to do?
 

Juise

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
958
8
123
I think I'll post my last couple questions in new, relevant threads so no one has to read through the entire thing to get there
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
25,890
16,178
797
Southeast Louisiana
Quote:Sometimes it is hard to really understand what is going on. Burying the APRON 2" is great. In your post you said bury the hardware cloth. You did not say Apron, so I think that was misinterpreted. I did not even bury mine. It did not take long for the chickens to scratch around and cover most of it, and grass soon grew through it to hold it down. Just putting a few rocks on it in strategic palces to hold it down is good enough.

I used the 2" x 4" wire for the apron. I look at it that the weasels and such are real hard to stop in a decent sized run anyway, but the 2x4 wire will stop raccoons, dogs, coyotes, and such so I figured it was good enough. Like Pat said, we have different risk tolerances.

My basic philosophy is that I keep them safely locked up in the predator proof coop at night and make the run predator resistant. But I also free range mine a lot. The run is mostly for when I don't want them roaming around.


It will be about 12' by 13', and 7' tall. Will that be good for 6 chickens? Or possibly a few more? (I would really like to add at least a few more at some point.) The coop itself is 13' by 8'.

Plenty big enough for six chickens. I'd be comfortable with a dozen in there.
 

Juise

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
958
8
123
I realized when I reread my post that it only really made sense if you'd read the entire thread, lol, oops. Tried to make it a bit more specific. The main reason I am burying the apron is to keep my kids from hurting themselves on it.

This entire process is so nerve wracking! You feel like you've really read and educated yourself as much as possible and then all of a sudden you notice something in other posts that you had no idea about - like ventilation! I had no idea
I try to run all our plans by people in the forums, but no one ever says, "Looks like you have X and Y covered really well, but have you thought about Z?"
I hope I don't miss anything important out of ignorance
I'm wishing we could have just bought plans, bough listed pieces, and followed directions instead of trying to piece everything together from total cluelessness. Of course, if we were converting the horse barn and using what we have as much as possible, we wouldn't have been able to do it.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
25,890
16,178
797
Southeast Louisiana
I’ll probably come off sounding patronizing and I don’t want to, but we all learn something on here all the time, even the ones that have been here a while. I wish there were a way to do a download dump and then everything is covered.

Remember most of what you read on here are guidelines, not absolute laws of nature. Following them does not guarantee success. Not following them does not guarantee failure. All the guidelines generally do is improve your odds of success, not guarantee them. I don’t know of anybody on here that follows all the guidelines all the time. I sure don’t.

And you have to realize that we all have different goals and conditions. We may have them for pets, eggs, meat, eggs and meat, to show, to breed, to control pests, for a 4-H project, a combination of these, or something else entirely. Some live in a city and are restricted to four hens securely locked up. Some live in the wide open country with no restrictions. We live in places from Anchorage Alaska, to Miami Florida, to Boulder Colorado, to Australia, Africa, Asia, South America, or Europe. It is seldom that one answer is correct for all of us. You need to try to pick out what information suits your purposes and conditions.

Predator risk tolerance is a big separator for us. Some people keep a few chickens in an extremely predator-proof coop and run. Even the loss of one chicken would be devastating to them. Some of us keep more chickens and let them free range, accepting that we will occasionally have losses. Many are in between. Some of us have high predator risk while for some of us, it is not that high. Some people have had experiences with predators and base their comments on experience, which can vary a lot between us. For many, the predator risk is based more on their imaginations. Don’t get me wrong. There is always a risk from predators, and for some it is really high. Just how big a risk and how a loss would affect us are what varies from one of us to another. Decades ago, my parents kept chickens in the country and never locked them up. We’d often go years between losses, but then a fox, dog, or something would find them and have to be dealt with. I securely lock mine up every night and have losses more often when I free range during the day. I’ve had two losses in the last two years, a much higher rate than my parents experienced.

To build a truly predator proof area of any size can get prohibitively expensive. Snakes, weasels and rats are extremely difficult to keep out anyway. Raccoons, coyotes, foxes, dogs, wildcats, skunks, possums, and larger members of the weasel family are really good at exploiting any weakness. And a lot of them are more active at night. All of them may come out in the daytime, especially if they have babies to feed, but nighttime is the greatest risk for most of them, including right at dusk and dawn. You can improve your odds by your management practices. Keep them in a not perfectly secure pen during the day and lock them in a very secure coop at night. Only let them free range when you are around. There are risks associated with this, but maybe they are acceptable risks to you.

Hope this helps some. Good luck!
 

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