Does my bigger run need a fenced-in bottom

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by beb444, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So our design goes one house, a small run(with a solid roof and a mesh bottom), and house, and then the small run has an extension of a bigger run which we can close the chicks off to. So my question is does the big run(it has a mesh top) have to have a mesh bottom also? They would just be out there in the day on days we are home and they are near our wooden fence close to our house in compacted dirt. We have tried moving the dirt away and under it are big old rocks. We just moved to this house so I am unaware if we get snakes down there, but we do get coyotes(we have seen three in the back/front yard) Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Probably not. You can make an apron out of wire if you see signs of digging at the bottom of the fence. Do you have dogs? They'll run them off. You can also hook up a hot wire 12" off the ground on the outside that will keep any predators from digging.
    Snakes will steal eggs but they've never bothered my chickens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  3. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes I have a dog...What's an apron? Have you had problems with raccoons, rats, etc.(will they dig)? Also, do you have any knowledge abut hawks with chickens. I have a mesh wiring in the top, enforced with staples, is that enough? When the hawks swoop are they very forcefull? That's good that snakes don't really bug them. Sorry for all the questions:/ this is my first flock and I don't want anything to happen to them.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Where are you located?
    Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

    This is an apron, corner mesh is out of scale in this graphic but don't forget the corners.
    It can be pinned to the surface of the ground or buried a few inches.
    Should go out from wall 12-24".
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The idea behind the apron is that a digging animal goes up to the fence, starts digging, hits the apron, and does not know to back up. They are really effective and a lot less expensive and time consuming than covering the bottom of a larger run with mesh. Easier on the chicken’s feet too when they scratch.

    I have had snakes eat eggs and baby chicks. How big a chicken a snake will eat depends on how big the snake is. Most adult chickens are really safe but chicks of varying size and some small bantams can be at risk. It just depends on the snake.

    Rats will tunnel. Raccoons might dig though they are more likely to try to get in by climbing. Foxes, dogs, coyotes, skunks, maybe bobcats are more likely to try digging. I don’t know where you are but even in suburbia you’d be surprised at how many of these critters are around.

    Another risk with a fence, depending on how the bottom is finished, is that if it is just wire many predators can just squeeze under the fence with very little, if any, digging. All it takes is a small opening. Many predators are mostly fur. You’d be surprised and how small a hole they can squeeze through. An apron stops that.

    My chickens forage inside an open electric netting and I have hawks all over the place, some pretty big. I’ve never lost a chicken to a hawk, though an owl got one when I was late locking them up. Some people have a huge problem with hawks. Predators are like that, they are a constant risk but they don’t always attack. That’s why when someone like me says they’ve never had a hawk attack it doesn’t mean you won’t.

    What kind of mesh do you have on top of the runs? Metal wire, plastic, cloth? In theory a hawk could dive bomb through some weaker mesh and get to the chickens, probably could not get back out through that hole though. But that is unlikely to happen. A hawk’s bones are pretty weak and if they ever break a major bone they are dead. A hawk is pretty fierce in the attack but they are also kind of cautious. They don’t want to get hurt themselves. As long as they can see that mesh they are unlikely to hit it.
     
  6. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in Northern CA
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  7. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hardware cloth on all sides and the roof, it's very small holes too, we made sure to get the smallest they had. Right now I also have the skirt of a trampoline covering part of the roof because I got scared[​IMG] My main concern with the roof is if the staples are strong enough; they are definitely strong enough where if I tried to pull it off without using all of my strength I couldn't, but is that enough? Thank you so much!!! This was very helpful!!!
     
  8. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thank you for the picture!! It helps when there's a visual:)
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    What kind of staples did you use? Staples like you use in an office to staple paper together, ¾” poultry staples, fencing staples over an inch long (can’t remember exact length but maybe 1-1/4”), or did you use a construction type staple gun? I’m sorry but the word “staple” doesn’t tell me a lot about how strong that connection is. If it is for hawk protection it doesn’t have to be very strong. If it’s for dogs or raccoons, it needs to be stronger.

    How strong was the wood you stapled into? If it’s flimsy it’s hard to drive a staple in with a hammer. Some wood splits pretty easily so the staple might not hold really well. If the wood is solid and you used a substantial staple it can be really strong.

    I use a lot of different things to connect wire, depending on why I’m putting it up and what I’m connecting to. For wire to wire like attaching an apron I might use J-Clips if the wire is small gauge, hog rings if it is heavier gauge, or connect it using other wire. If the wood is substantial I might use the ¾” poultry staples if I want to keep poultry in or the larger fencing staples to keep things out. Some people use fender washers on screws to attach hardware cloth, especially if the wood is kind of flimsy so you can’t drive a staple, but I don’t. I take a furring strip (a piece of wood maybe ½” to a better ¾” thick), drill a pilot hole through that to prevent splitting and make it easier to install, and screw that over the end of the wire or hardware cloth. I make sure the screw goes through a hole in the hardware cloth and often use a fender washer to help hold better. If you clamp that down tight it’s about as strong a connection as you can get plus the wood covers the sharp ends of the hardware cloth.

    Connections are often the weak point in your construction but you kind of need to match the connection to what you are connecting and why.
     
  10. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used the type you would use for construction, I bought the gun and the staples at Home depot. But that makes me feel better that it doesn't have to be that strong for hawks. I don't have to worry about dogs where the coop is but I do for coyotes, etc.The wood we purchased new also at home depot and it is solid. Thank you for the suggestions!! I might do the wood to cloth to wood thing! Do the predators pull hard or scratch? Would they get scared away if the mesh fell on them and made a loud noise?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015

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