Do I need to cover my entire run with hardware cloth?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by citybirdies, May 2, 2018.

  1. citybirdies

    citybirdies In the Brooder

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    We are in the process of building a new run (we live on a fenced acre in a rural area) and our biggest predator concerns are raccoons and hawks/eagles. Our run is about 50 ft by 25 ft and we have two coops inside of it. Our plan is to predator-proof the run so that when we go on the occasional weekend trip, we can leave the coop doors open and the girls can come in and out in the morning and at night, without someone having to be at our house to chicken-sit. When we are home, the hens will have use of the yard for free-ranging for several hours per day, in addition to the run.

    We planning on an 18 inch apron around the entire perimeter of the run, and are enclosing the run with hardware cloth. However, I'm wondering if we have to use hardware cloth to cover the top of the run, or can we use something less expensive? In other words, can raccoons climb up the sides of the run and enter through the top of the run if we use a material like chicken wire for the roof? Also, does the apron have to be hardware cloth or will a double-layer of chicken wire work for this?

    Any suggestions or tips? Basically trying to keep them safe and save a few hundred dollars, if possible.
     
  2. HenHouse4Life

    HenHouse4Life GrandmaOnDuty

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    Hi!
    I wouldn't use chicken wire, in my opinion it is flimsy and predators that really want your chickens will break through it.
    I would use anything that is sturdy. .. hardware cloth, reclaimed wood. .. anything besides chicken wire.
    I have friends that have picked up pallets for free and made their own pallet roof. Many options.
    Good luck!
     
  3. Ducksandchickens

    Ducksandchickens Free Ranging

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    I would cover the entire thing or else you’ll have predators snatching birds up. Also I don’t think you should just leave your coop door open when your gone because predators will definetly eat them and they still need food and water
     
  4. HenHouse4Life

    HenHouse4Life GrandmaOnDuty

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    our current coop has no door, they are free to come and go from inside the coop to the run at their free will. Our hardware cloth is buried, it's under the floor, it's up the sides. .. it's safe. The run is covered with a solid roof. We have coons, possums, fox, hawks, eagles etc. ... never had a fatality in years
     
  5. citybirdies

    citybirdies In the Brooder

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    Good points. I will definitely have someone refilling their food and water, but most likely won't be able to have someone come over at night and morning to let them in and out. I'm thinking (based on some other posts I've read) that if the run is predator-proof I can let them come in and out of the coop on their own from time to time.
     
  6. citybirdies

    citybirdies In the Brooder

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    Thanks for your reply. Curious what material your roof is made of?
     
  7. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Crowing

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    I highly recommend covering the whole thing with farm grade hardware cloth after framing. at the very least, the entire inner coop where they will sleep at night. I did this years ago when I built my coop and no issues with predators so far. simply rats and racoons alone are reason enough.
     
  8. HenHouse4Life

    HenHouse4Life GrandmaOnDuty

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    It's wood. We had spare wood in the barn and leftover shingles
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Enclosing a run of that size with hardware cloth is going to cost an arm and a leg. How many birds? What is the size of your coops?

    A cheaper alternative might be to use chicken wire, and put bird netting over the top (if you are not in snow country) then run electric fencing around the perimeter. This will keep out all but weasels.

    Only you are in touch with your risk tolerance as it relates to your finances.
     
    WVduckchick likes this.
  10. Theladiesandagentleman

    Theladiesandagentleman First world chickens

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    If you can't use hardware cloth then a solid roof is best.
     

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