Digging in the chicken wire? Hardware cloth?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AnKa, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. AnKa

    AnKa In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2009
    I need to build a run that is safe enough for me to go away for a weekend - we have hawks and foxes and probably racoons, too. I have even once seen a fisher cat.
    Sooo..... I want a 8'x10' run, and I think I will have to dig a trench all around it to bury the wire, right? It sounds like a ton of work..... and I suck at digging so the husband will have to help. We're in an old riverbed and its a real chore. but I digress.
    How deep do I need to go? Are there alternatives (besides a concrete floor for a run or similarly drastic measures)? What do you do?

    Also - people here seem to think that chicken wire is not enough protection from hawks. Why is that? What is the danger? Would a double layer of chicken wire be enough (still cheaper than hardware cloth).
    Thanks so much!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    One alternative is to bury the wire horizontal instead of vertical. If you attach the wire or hardware cloth to the bottom of the run, lay it horizontal and bury it a couple of inches, the predator will come up to the fence, start digging and run into the buried wire. Some people don't bury it at all but just let the grass grow up through it. I like to see where a predator has started digging.

    Can't help on the hawk/chicken wire question.
  3. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Metal chicken wire should stop a hawk but it won't stop coons.
  4. AnKa

    AnKa In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2009
    What would a raccoon do? And will a raccoon climb a 6' fence? Sorry, if these are dumb questions.
  5. Stumpy

    Stumpy Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Raccoons could gang up and get a chicken's head through the wire....[​IMG]

    And they can just tear through chicken wire.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Raccoons could climb a *60* foot fence - they are excellent climbers, and incredibly strong (with strong jaws and sharp teeth in particular).

    So the problem with having a merely hawkproof top to the run is that raccoons will get on top of the run -- really they will -- and just slice/rip their way in unless you've used really heavy gauge wire, like heavy 2x4 mesh or some such.

    I wouldn't bury the wire myself, I'd do a horiztonatl apron as Ridgerunner describes, going 2-4' out from the base of the run fence. Use something heavy gauge. You can put it on top of the ground and weight down well with pavers or whatnot, or lift the turf back and put the wire under it and put the turf back down.

    Good luck,

  7. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    When that raccoon breaks in through the chicken wire, you will *wish* you had just bit the bullet and spent the money up front for the hardware wire.

    My husband made me dig the trenches around the run. I grumbled, but I did it. 12 inches deep. But I sleep much sounder at night because of it.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: