Cover the run with...?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DragonEggs, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. DragonEggs

    DragonEggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2010
    Borger, TX
    So, I've got the plans drawn out for my dome run (similar to this one but I'm debating what to cover it with. I'm not so worried about keeping critters out anymore since I will be getting the coop in the next few days and the chickens will be safely locked up at night (and my St Bernard keeps them safe from predators most any other time), but still something to keep out skyward predators.

    So, the cheapest thing I can cover it with is screen mesh (like for window screens and screen doors). I like this idea because I can get 100 foot rolls super cheap, it will still allow good ventilation, reflect some of the florida sun (and ultimatly keep it cool) AND it helps keep bugs out. Downfalls, it will wear out the fastest.

    The middle of the road idea is standard chicken wire. Its still very cheap for 50-100 foot rolls but wont reflect any sun or repel insects. Allows great ventilation and won't wear out very fast.

    Welded wire or hardware mesh. This is by far the most expensive method (keep in mind I'll need around 150ft to cover the whole thing). It will be the sturdiest and last the longest, still allow great ventilation, wont do anything against the sun or bugs.

    So, I want everyones opinion of what I should use and why and please dont hesitate to point out any perks or downfalls I might have missed, THANKS!
  2. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    the screening i say definately a no no. My cats tear gaping holes in that screening, i had to replace my storm door screen 3 times last year before I got super strong stuff thats essentially industrial, but it was a hefty price.

    Cost effective? I say chicken wire 1"

    predator proof? Hardware cloth

    compromise? Hardware wire on bottom 2 feet, the rest chicken wire. I dont know if you'll be using praces on your hoop section of the coop, but i am on mine and mine is small scale (a tractor) and @ 2 foot on each side I put a 1X2 for brace for the PVC pipes and to tack on hardware cloth and chicken wire to meet up.
  3. missred871

    missred871 Eggxhausted Momma

    May 5, 2010
    Perry GA
    You can use HEVY DUTY tarps as well. I would say chicken wire first and then get yourself some heavy duty tarps and cover the length of the run. Then cover whatever you dont have covered in tarp with hardware cloth. The tarp will help to weather proof your run so the chickys will still be able to wonder in the rain
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    #1 If I could come up with the money, I'd do hardware cloth all over, no ifs, ands, or buts. I know you said that they would be locked up at night in the housing, but I always think "What if...I didn't get home in time to lock them up?" "What if I went out of town for the weekend and couldn't find someone to come over to lock them up?" Hardware cloth just kicks butt.
    My second choice would be 1 x 2 OR 2 x 4 welded wire, which is fairly cost effective as well, but you'd still need to use hardware cloth around the bottom 24 inches because of the large openings. I would feel secure with this set-up as well, if one of those "What if" scenarios popped up.
    #3 Even if you went with chicken wire, I'd still use hardware cloth around the bottom portion. However, I would not feel secure at all with chicken wire myself. If there's 100% chance that a "What if..." situation would never happen, and that they'd always be locked up at night it would be okay. But for me, chicken wire is always a gamble.
    The screen would be totally out for me.
    In each of these situations, I'd probably strap a tarp over a portion of the run (over the wire) to give a shaded area/rain protection area. Good luck w/your decision.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  5. gootziecat

    gootziecat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 27, 2007
    Hampshire Co, WV
    My friend had a hawk fly right through a screened window in her coop to get to her birds.
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I wouldn't use the screening. Your chickens would probably be able to tear it to bits themselves and/or get their toenails caught in the screening.

    Some people use deer netting or game bird netting, but that's just for the top of their pen. If I understand your design, your talking about a hoop coop so this material would be covering what are the sides of your pen as well.

    I'd do as others have suggested and use a welded wire.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you really, really don't care about predatorproofing other than to discourage hawks, sure, I suppose you could try the windowscreen. I'd suggest using the light-colored rather than dark-colored stuff, as being more visible to hawks. You may need to repair it occasionally if one sees the chickens through it and rockets right through, but that shouldn't happen often if at all.

    However I am always real wary of these posts about "my dog keeps them totally safe from daytime predators", as that line also tends to appear, in the PAST tense or prefaced by "I THOUGHT that..." in posts in the Predators and Pests section of the forum, entitled either Something Killed Several Of My Chickens, or My Dog Ate My Chickens. People never think it'll happen til it does... but, not infrequently, it DOES.

    So if budget is a concern but you DO want something reasonably dog-and-raccoon-proof, I would suggest using 2x4 welded wire (no bigger holes than that), with something smaller mesh (even windowscreen, I suppose, or 1/2" plastic garden mesh, although hardwarecloth is certainly more secure) added to the bottom 2-3'.

    Unless you live in an area where buffalo gnats are a major major problem, I don't honestly see what the big deal would be about keeping out bugs. Although shade *is* a legitimate issue. You can put burlap or shadecloth atop your 2x4 mesh, especially on the West-facing side, to deal with that.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  8. Swampwood

    Swampwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Krotz Springs, LA
    Could do part of it with metal or fiber roof sheets/helps give some shade, weather protection and it goes on alot faster and easier;).. I used a combo of metal roof(1/3) and chicken wire(pain in da booty).
  9. DragonEggs

    DragonEggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2010
    Borger, TX
    I like the idea of using welded wire or hardware cloth around the bottom and covering over the top with chicken wire. I also like the idea of putting a heavy duty tarp over part of it so they can still roam even in the rain and it would help provide extra shade. I keep my chickens under a canopy of trees so they are well protected from rain (ive stood under there many times to keep from getting wet) but when the sun rises and sets it still blares down on a few parts. I thought about the mesh mainly to keep mosquitos, sand gnats, and these dreadful biting flys that live around here out. Its SO HOT during the day that I make sure I'm up early to feed and water them before it gets so hot and if I need to do any repairs or build any addons I'll wait till the evening when it's cooling down to do so, but of course, thats when the little buggies wanna come out and harass me. I go through a can of Off in about 3 days or less and if they attack me that much (even still with the Off on) It made me wonder how much they bug my birdies. The mosquitoes around here are well known for carrying enough viruses and diseases that I won't let my dogs outside at night without spraying them.

    I know predators are always going to be a "What If" and there is no 100% gaurantee. I've heard rumors (which I don't believe at all) that theres a panther or some other large cat living in the woods behind my back field, but I think people are just seeing the pawprints of my St Bernard. Raptors are my primary concern since they are the only predator I don't have some kind of backup defense against. My cats take care of rodents and snakes and sometimes oppossums and raccoons, and whatever they cant handle the dogs do.

    Thanks for all the great advice everyone!
  10. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    i'v always used chicken wire and locked birds up at night in coops. it keeps them mostly safe, the only issue is hawks, and i'v never lost a chicken to a hawk, only doves and pigeons. i'd honestly say go with the chicken wire so long as there in a coop at night, the scent of your dog should keep alot of stuff out anyways, and not much will be around during the day.

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