Dog Proof Fencing

chickensforkids

In the Brooder
May 25, 2015
93
4
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We lost our first chicks last week to our dog. They were about 4 weeks old, still in the house, and he got every single one. My children were of course devastated, and felt like a terrible chicken keeper. Flash forward a week, and my children have new chickens, and the dog has been cut off from all access to the chickens. He is now crated while we are gone, and the chickens are on another floor with a door as a barrier in addition to the brooder cover.

My husband is working on the coop today, and I would like some advice about fencing. We will be working on trying better train, and to desensitize our dog to the chickens, and he will never have access, but their coop will be next to his outdoor fenced in area. What is the best fencing that e can use to make sure that the dog can't get to the chickens? So far my husband has used some old wood to use as support beams for whatever fencing we eventually use. We plan on using something on the top as well to protect from other predators.

We've also been told to dig down and but the fence in the ground at least a foot.

Does anyone have any similar experiences or insight? I really want to keep these chickens safe, if they can't they will be our last chickens because I am not willing to knowingly continue to allow my dog to get them.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
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Mar 9, 2014
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Welcome to BYC.
You mention an exiting fenced area that the dog occupies/will occupy next to the area the chickens will be in - what is that area fenced with? Rather than digging down a foot to bury wire, it is more effective to go out with the wire to form a no-dig skirting around the perimeter of the chicken pen. A digging predator may go deeper than a foot and get under fencing that is put down, but that same digging predator that encounters skirting that goes out will become frustrated and abandon the dig when they are unable to get through the wire. The skirting can be done with hardware cloth to provide the most protection as the small openings make it resistant to more predators than wire with larger openings - though some use heavy gauge woven wire, field fencing, etc. Just know that the larger the "squares" in the wire the more potential for something to get through it (you'd be amazed at the size of a hole a predator can get through when motivated).
For your chicken enclosure - do not rely on poultry netting (chicken wire) - it is intended to keep chickens in/out of a given area but will not do anything to keep even the smallest/weakest of common predators from getting through. Hardware cloth is the most commonly recommended for the best security, but there are other options that can be use depending on budget, etc. A good, heavy gauge wire can be used as the primary "skeleton" - again, the bigger the openings the less secure it is. Many folks choose to use 2x4 type wire all over and then use hardware cloth from the ground to 2-3 feet up to make the most likely points of entry more secured w/out having to do the entire thing in hardware cloth. The underlying wire is able to withstand the pulling, prying, etc. of larger predators that would attempt to rip into the enclosure and the small wire wrapped at the bottom keeps smaller predators from going through the openings near ground level.
Another option to add security to less secure wire options is to use electric fencing - a couple of well placed strands of hot wire will make the chickens a lot less desirable.
 

chickensforkids

In the Brooder
May 25, 2015
93
4
43
Thank you for your response. I hadn't thought of skirting out the fencing, but it is a great idea!

Another question, we live in the North East and the winters can get pretty cold. Would it be beneficial to insulate our coop? We already did it, but now I'm second guessing whether or not it was a good idea, and we still need to put up the actual walls.
 

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