Excavation by Birds - A Word of Warning


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
Chickens can DIG!!!
There are many places where I've had to stick pavers or bricks around where they dig so they don't undermine concrete blocks or dig right out from under the run walls. There's a concrete block sitting tall, that held up one end of a roost that was darn near about to fall, I fixed it before the pics so it's not included here.

It's pretty crazy, so thought I'd share some pics of what parts of my run look like where I need to add some more deterrents.
If you have any structural blocks, posts, etc...protect them from The Chicken Excavators!!!

Here I added a couple pieces of concrete, they just dug out between them...this hole is about 4" deep.

This is just in the middle of the run about 6" deep, I'll leave it as is, the line of pavers covers a drain pipe...so they won't dig it up.

Old gate and grazing frame leaning up against run wall.
They have dug down all around them to they are just held up but some dirt.



BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
Dec 12, 2013
I don't have any pictures but my run looks a lot like your aart with the holes ("ankle twisters" is right Rachel).

Silly birds, we bury hardware cloth out to make an apron so predators can't dig IN and the chickens are busy digging their way OUT.

It's like an attempt at a prison break!


Feb 18, 2016
Carroll County, Maryland
Caught this shot the other day.....there are a half dozen of these holes...think they are tapping into mole/vole holes maybe?

Ostriches or Jack Russel Chickens:
Wow! Lol - That is some fantastic hole digging. Sounds like you have one of these going on:

You should put your escape artist photo in for the caption contest! =)


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
This is part of the reason we put mesh down on the bare earth underneath the deep litter.

(Another part of the reason is that it provides a bit of a haven for bugs.)
What size mesh?
My run is 8'(2.4m) x 50'(15.2m)....that would take a LOT of mesh.

To me the digging isn't a huge problem, just takes some diligence in places......
....I would worry more about them scratching and damaging their feet on the mesh, especially after it started to rust and break up under there.
Would be a godawful mess to clean up.


5 Years
Aug 19, 2014
Plastic-coated 1/2" by 1/4", same as we used for the outside of the run, because it was what we had. The run was partially set on brickwork, so the meshed area is about 6' by 15' at most. It's not a big run, and none of the furniture is stuck inside (one advantage of those little bolt-together coops). I haven't observed the chickens' occasional forays down to the mesh, but I don't think they scratch at it too vigorously. It doesn't yield anything.

Once it does start even beginning to rust to sharp edges, it would be better to replace it with something plastic. Not sure what, though. Maybe I'll get lucky and find someone who wants to get rid of that plastic grass-saving temporary driveway stuff.

Edit: Turf reinforcement, that's the stuff. There's some here. Perhaps I should take the metal mesh up now, while it's still whole?
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