Flooring in coop and run?

Pequena Bandada

Small Flock
9 Years
Jun 13, 2010
We're about to build our first coop (chickens arrive in two weeks!). For the run, my husband plans to dig about a foot down, bury chicken wire, and use that for the sides and top too. Will that be enough to keep animals from digging their way in? The wire will be recovered by our local dirt/sand.

For the coop, he'll put in a wood slat floor over the current dirt and will do wood walls and ceiling, but wasn't planning to use hardware cloth in the walls. Would you recommend we put that in, or something else, to keep the mice out? We have tons of mice here in the high desert of New Mexico.



Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Welcome to thei forum!
Glad you are here!

I don't know what kind of dirt you have, but there may be an easier and possibly better option than burying the wire. It is called an "apron". You lay about 18" to 24" of wire flat on top of the ground and attach it to the bottom of your run, coop too if you wish. The predator comes up to the fence and starts to dig, hits the wire and cannot get through, and does not know to back up. Many people bury this apron about 2" deep, just take up the sod and put it back over the wire. Many don't bury it but let the grass grow up through the wire to hold it down. It's usually a good idea to put something heavy to hold the wire down while the grass is growing through it, like rocks maybe. Since you are in the desert, I don't know if you have sod or grass growing in this area so you might want to just cover it a couple of inches with dirt or sand. If your local dirt is a sand, burying the wire 12" straight down may not be enough to stop a digging predator, like a coyote. Just by digging it out to bury the wire, you are loosening it up and making it easier for them to dig.

I would not use chicken wire, either for the apron or the sides of the run. It depends on the gauge of the wire, but chicken wire is usually too thin to stop a serious predator. I used 14 gauge 2" x 4" welded wire, then put chicken wire along the bottom18" of the run to keep the chickens from poking their heads out where something can take it off, to keep a raccoon from reaching in through the wire with its paws, and to keep baby chicks from walking through the fence and away from the mother hen's protection. In your climate the chicken wire might last quite a while, but the heavier wire will still last a lot longer.

I did not try to build my coop to keep mice out so I won't address the hardware cloth question. I will mention that by putting in a slat floor, you give the mice a nice protected place to build their nests and set up residence.

Good luck, and again welcome.


13 Years
May 23, 2009
I'd rethink the wood slat floor. You won't be able to clean that very easily. Before you get started building, I'd suggest you search here on the topic of ventilation. You're going to need lots of it for a chicken coop, more than you would probably imagine.

Most chicken breeds have a harder time with heat in the summer than they do with cold in the winter, so be sure to consider heat issues and shade in building. Closed coops can get awfully hot in the summertime if they're in the sun, especially.


13 Years
Jul 10, 2009
I can only recommend what has been working for me for over 15 years. My buried run wire for the base is plastic coated wire fencing, I used standard chicken wire above that attached with J-clips and suspended from #9 wire threaded through eyelets on the top of posts I welded up to get the height I wanted. (See my BYC page for pics) For the Coop, I am well pleased with the performance with having a dirt subground level using the deep litter method with the coop built on a deep brick foundation (salvaged material). The mistakes I made at first is the same advise you see in others postings, standard chicken wire will rapidly corrode in contact with the ground. Also, build your fencing, such that sections can be easily repaired/replaced. Over the years, I'd have tree limbs fall and take out a section, I had a deer being chased by a dog rip through the fence in the nights---(tracks). And with "chicken math" you may be enlarging the run later.

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