Critter proofing question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AnnesChicks, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. AnnesChicks

    AnnesChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's my question, I have installed an old dog pen as my run, 18X6. The panels are old heavy duty chainlink. For extra protection we still ran chickenwire 3 feet high around the entire bottom. Then we topped it off with recycled welded fencing. We then took sections of the fencing, bent it into a L shape, ziptied the top to the coop and used landscape pins to secure to the ground - my plan is to let the grass grow through.

    Should I run chicken wire up along the 2" seams where the two panels meet, or am I being overly paranoid? My DH thinks I am! And he is probably right! Our concerns are for coyotes, possums, racoons and hawks.


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  2. cockadoodle

    cockadoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you are probably ok since you already said you wrapped the bottom with chicken wire, but would probably be better if that was hardware cloth around the bottom. My only concern is that racoons can bend/break chicken wire and if a chicken were able to get her head through that 2 inch gap, she's going to lose it. The predator section on this site has some pretty horrific stories about what racoons can do.

    ~Mark
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with Mark- if you add hardware cloth with a mesh of 1/2" top and sides and anywhere the run connects the soil to underground, you will keep your birds. We live in a predator-rich environment too, take a look at your BYC home page. Our protection is working! [​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I'm not clear on where you're asking about... but I'd say if it is within 2-3' of the ground, make sure it's covered with chickenwire at least.

    With regards to the possiblity of hardwarecloth, I think it is not unreasonable to stick with what you've got. If you wanted to add something beyond the chickenwire, personally I would swap it out for 1/2" chickenwire (again, just 2-3' high) rather than hardwarecloth, since the chainlink you've got provides admirable structural strength and the 1/2" chickenwire is cheaper than hardwarecloth (at least here it is). Sure, something could rip a mesh or two on the chickenwire if it wanted, but it won't be able to DO anything then unless there *happens* to be a chicken in just the wrong place. I think just keeping an eye out for any breaks would be quite sufficient. I mean, obviously hardwarecloth would be a bit stronger, I just don't see that it offers much in the way of *practical* benefits for its extra cost.

    You might want to consider adding some crosswise supports for that wire roof, though. I wonder, if a dog got up there, would things *really* hold. Even a very wet snowfall (that's 2x4" mesh up there, yes? it can still catch more snow than you might think). Wouldn't be bad insurance anyhow.

    JMHO, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. AnnesChicks

    AnnesChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your thoughtful answers! We spent a lot of time looking at ideas on this site, and trying not to spend too much money but wanting it solid and safe...and in the month I have had my girls I find myself getting very attached to them.

    The 2 inch gap is the vertical space between the chainlink panels.
    From the ground to 3' high we ran chicken wire all around, but do I need to worry about that small gap of space between the end of the chicken and the top of the pen which is covered with wire fencing?

    As for support for the wire fencing on top, we live on the coast in southwestern Washington, so we seldom get snow but I hadn't thought of a critter climbing up there, in that case some type of crossbeam would be a good idea. Simple enough, we have enough pieces of wood on hand.

    We've been working with our old lab to accept these as her babies too, she likes to sleep in my greenhouse next door when I start leaving the door open but so far I am penning her up when we are not home-just until I'm sure she has gotten the idea that they are part of the family now. Once she has the idea I think she'll be a good warning system too. Thanks again
     
  6. moduckman

    moduckman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have a cat? If you do you can find out if your pen is critter-proof. Here's how. After finishing your pen place the cat inside of it. Put a little food and water. If the cat gets out, then a critter can get in.[​IMG]
     
  7. AnnesChicks

    AnnesChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Moduckman,

    You crack me up, no unfortunately I don't have a cat, but if I wonder if my neighbor would lend me hers!
     
  8. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, raccoons can squeeze between the panels of chain link fencing. I have seen evidence of that with my own eyes (thankfully not my run). That said, if you are shutting your chickens in their house at night, and you have a dog, I doubt that you will have that problem. It is good that you are thinking these things out beforehand, though!
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Enh. I would. I mean, do you really want to find out the hard way? THe easiest thing to do is attach a piece of 2x6 or whatever other appropriate lumber you have sitting around. Just screw it on real good with pipe clamps/strapping, or wire the wood on firmly with heavy-gauge galvanized fence wire.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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