Finished my coop -- am I predator proof???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NeilV, May 24, 2010.

  1. NeilV

    NeilV In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2010
    Tulsa, OK
    I finally, at long last, finished building the coop. 8 x 5 feet of floor space and turned out really well. (Prior to this, the most complicated thing I'd ever made out of wood was putting together bee hives that were already cut to size).

    Now that the chickens (7 weeks old) are in the coop, I'm wondering if I have enough protection for predators. I live in town but near a section of woods where there are most certainly possums and racoons. There are two types of potential weak spots that need to be possum/racoon proof.

    First, I have left an area between the top of the siding and the metal roof where there are holes between the rafters. The coop has a single sloped roof, and the rafters are 2x6 boards. The holes between the rafters are about 24" by 6" on one side and are 24" by 5" on the other. There is about a foot of overhang on the roof on both sides, so a critter would not be able to stand on the roof and access these holes, but a racoon could probably climb up the side to get to them.

    I have covered the holes with hardware cloth. I could attach the hardware cloth to the top plate and/or rafters with 3/4" poultry staples. However, I could not hammer the hardware cloth on the top edge, because there is nothing there to hammer into except for some r-board that is under the metal roof. The r-board won't really hold a nail or staple. The hardware cloth feels pretty snug to me, and it is pulled tight and hammered securely on three sides. I don't think that a racoon or possum could tear it out and/or cram itself through the hole. However, racoons in particular are pretty strong and agile and I wonder: is this good enough to keep them out????

    I have considered hammering down some carpet tacking strips, which have the nails sticking up along the ledges where these openings are located are exposed. Any racoon that climbed up there to try to squeeze in would end up standing on nails. Is that necessary? Should I try running some wire horizontally across these openings between the rafters?

    Second, there are two doors on one side of the coop, as I made the coop where I can open up one entire side of the coop to clean it out. Also, there is a flap door for the chickens to enter/exit the hive. On those doors, I have secured them with a sliding bolt like you would see on a shed door. The bolt hooks over an eye. If you really wanted to lock it, you could put a lock through the eye. I don't want to have to use a key, so I put fairly heavy duty carabiner-style spring clips in them instead of locks. To open these, you have to push down on the lever and then flip the clip over and then pull it out of the eye. Seems like opposable thumbs are needed to to this, but I wonder. Can a racoon open up those types of clips, remove them from the latch on the bolt and open the door???

    Thanks for your feedback.


  2. TK421

    TK421 Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Central TX
    NeilV, I'm brand new to raising chickens, but I know wildlife very well. With a 6" opening, you should be more concerned about possums. And once they're in, it doesn't matter how uncomfortable it is. If carpet tacks=free meal, they'll suffer through the tacks.

    Post some pictures of the weak spots. That might help me picture a solution.

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