Coyote-Proofing a Run in the Desert

xochristo

In the Brooder
Sep 19, 2021
6
3
12
Joshua Tree, CA
Hi Everyone, I’m in a bit of a quandary here as I can’t seem to keep coyotes out of our run.

Our property has a chain-link perimeter fence and the run has its own wooden fence. As suggested, I dug down about a foot deep and attached wire mesh to secure the base of the run fence.

In addition, I piled cinder blocks around the entire interior fence and covered that in wire and cacti, hoping it would act as a sort of “apron.”

However, the coyote easily tunneled under both fences and killed 14/16 birds. The hole was probably about 1.5 feet down and at least 3 feet across. We also have a large dog that warns us when there's a coyote around, but this all happened in the 45 minutes we left the property to take him for a walk.

Now, I live in the desert and clearly the coyotes can dig as far down into the dirt as they need to gain access. Plus, we have a huge population of coyotes here (we see and hear packs of them almost every day).

So, I suppose my question is, is there any way to proof this run? At this point, I think I would need some kind of secure flooring to be sure that nothing could come up through the ground.

It would seem that an electric fence would be easy to dig under, but perhaps conventional wisdom would be that the predator would trip the wire at some point and be deterred.

Thanks for your help!
 

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,739
4,487
307
The Great Black Swamp, Ohio
For my rabbit runs I laid hardwire cloth down on the ground, then put dirt over them. So the coyotes would have to tunnel through the wire. Maybe that would help? A chicken run is much bigger than my rabbit run, though. I'm sorry this is a tough one. My hens aren't bothered by the coyotes because the henhouse is locked by the time they start waking up.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,179
42,034
1,156
southern Michigan
Welcome!
So sorry for your losses!
Electric fencing, with a nice hot charger, set up properly. Premier1supplies.com has help online and by phone, and good products. @HowardE and @cmom have pictures and good information here.
Mary
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,485
30,045
951
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I have electric wires around my coops and pens. I don't live in a desert but my land is open pasture. I also have heavy duty netting covering the pens and concrete under the gates all due to losses from predators in the past. I have a good heavy duty charger (50 Miles). Anything that touches the wires won't do it again. It will hurt but that is the idea. I want the predator to hurt and hopefully not test them again. I have had the wires up for many years and have added coops and pens since I first put them up and have extended the hot wires around the new coops and pens. I believe that the adult predators teach their young that whatever is on the other side isn't worth getting zapped for. My wires test out at 10,000+ volts. There have been attempts to dig under the fence but once they touch the electric wires they abort the attempt. Good luck...
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xochristo

In the Brooder
Sep 19, 2021
6
3
12
Joshua Tree, CA
Thanks all for your replies. We're going to get an electric fence and add hardwire cloth to the floor of the run. Plus, we're turning off the automatic chicken door and waiting until we get back from walking the dogs to let the chickens out of the coop. I'm really hoping that will keep our birds safe.

I don't think the apron would help much in our situation - as I said that coyote dug a tunnel 1.5 feet down and 3 feet across, bypassing all the wire and cinder blocks. They're smart and desperate, and I'm sure they'd figure out a way around any apron.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,179
42,034
1,156
southern Michigan
I've never used an automatic door, because of concerns about letting them out too soon, and locking them up while either missing a lurking predator, or a missing chicken.
Here our fairly small run ispart of the coop, and very safe. There's no room here for a big fenced run, so it's either in, or free ranging. Not perfect, but how it's all set up.
Mary
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,485
30,045
951
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks all for your replies. We're going to get an electric fence and add hardwire cloth to the floor of the run. Plus, we're turning off the automatic chicken door and waiting until we get back from walking the dogs to let the chickens out of the coop. I'm really hoping that will keep our birds safe.

I don't think the apron would help much in our situation - as I said that coyote dug a tunnel 1.5 feet down and 3 feet across, bypassing all the wire and cinder blocks. They're smart and desperate, and I'm sure they'd figure out a way around any apron.
It depends on how far out you put the apron. From the attempted digs here by coyotes they start digging fairly close to the fence until they get zapped.
 

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