For Coops Inside Runs

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wolfandfinch, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't been on in a while as I had to sideline my coop dreams during our renovations (mean husband! HA!). Anyway, I finally have the green light and start construction on Monday. I have 5 days, am mostly going to be by myself. I could use any last minute suggestions you have in general, but I also have a couple specific questions. Thanks in advance for the help!

    1) Aprons - I am going to use a hardcloth apron, buried out flat about 2" deep, and cover it in river rocks with a nice wooden border to make it look good. Has anyone found that raccoons or coyotes (our biggest problem predators here) are able to move the rocks enough to burrow under something like that? Would 12" from the run fencing be enough to confound them?

    2) Ventilation - we live in Vancouver, so it doesn't get THAT cold often, and it's rainy ALL THE TIME. I want to have good ventilation (although it doesn't get THAT hot either). I was hoping that simple plastic soffets on the north, east and south ends, and a decent sized hardware cloth covered open window on the west side would be enough. Do you think that's OK or do I need two open (mesh covered) windows to get enough breeze through? Also, would it also be worthwhile to run a 2" PVC vent up through the roof as well?

    3) rats - do you think that a run completely enclosed (and aproned) in hardware cloth is enough or should I wrap the bottom of the coop as well? Hardware cloth is really expensive here so the less of it I have to do the better

    4) Rain - because it rains so much here I was thinking of putting a roof over the entire run. Do chickens need to actually get a little rain though? Probably a silly question but I thought I'd check,

    thanks so much for taking a look at my questions!

    things I am doing in case you're wondering:
    linoleum "poop floor" under the roosts to help with cleaning
    pop door to close them in the coop at night
    feeders hanging under the elevated coop to keep dry
    permanently installed light that we can use in the darker months to keep them laying and warm
    linoleum floor with deep litter method
    human height run and elevated coop to avoid stooping
    hinged-lidded-nesting boxes accessible to the exterior of the run for easy collection
    large hinged window on the front of the coop, inside the run, to clean out the coop from. Maybe 4' wide
    the coop is 5' deep X 6' high by 3'6" tall and will hold 4 chickens (maybe 6 if my neighbours are friendly and unlikely to call me in - the max here is 4, city by-law)
    I was thinking of using tree branches for roosts, or 2 X 4 on end
    the run is 10X6, fully enclosed with hardware cloth or ply on the sides and a roof.
    our predators are hawks, eagles, coyotes and raccoons (and we're 5 minutes from downtown!!!)


    Sorry for the book! I am SO excited...
     
  2. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    My suggestions -

    - bury the apron deeper than 2". If you can't have it straight down 12" into the ground then dig down as far as you can and turn the rest of the apron out in the bottom. Another option is to dig the hole deeper at the outside and shallower up against the run so that the apron is slanted about 45 degrees down and away from the fence. Put your rocks a bit further back so that if something tries to dig, it will dig right up against the apron (if the apron is only under the rocks, the pred may start digging in front of the rocks and manage to get under the apron. Good luck!
     
  3. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ran 18" out from the run fencing. Laying on top of the ground with short logs holding it in place. I have had zero attempts of anything trying to remove the logs and dig. I live in a woods with a high population of coons, possums, suspect coyotes (stray cats coming up missing) and free roaming dogs.

    I think your river rocks will work fine.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  4. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put a roof over a 3rd of the run. Figure I'd let the chickens decide if they wanted to stand in the rain or not.

    For the winter I put a mouse chewed tarp over the unroofed section.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  5. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    - When in doubt, add more ventilation! Go ahead and add the second window. With all that rain and all the moisture the chickens put out, it will need those drying breezes.

    - Watch the wood on the coop for chewed places, you can add hardware cloth later if needed.

    - My coop and run are covered and I have never regretted it (and have often been glad I did!) The birds don't need to get wet, they bathe in dirt. They do need fresh drinking water at all times.

    Your plan sounds great! I can't wait for the pics!
     
  6. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Lazy - Your coop and run is awesome! Want to come to Alabama and build one for me?
     
  7. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 5, 2011
    Vancouver BC
    Thank you everyone! I will put my apron on more of an angle and a little deeper and extend it to 18". I just got a good deal on the hardware cloth thanks to another post on here, yay for BYC!

    That coop looks lovely, and very similar to our plan except for the uncovered run. I only have a regular city backyard so not much space. I think the size is fairly generous though, given how few chickens I'll have...

    I will definitely wait on the HWC on the coop until I see evidence of nibbling, great idea.

    I will post more pictures than you wish for, ha!

    Thanks again all!
     
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Nothing is gained by doing all that extra digging.
    Simply laying the wire flat on the ground will stop digging at the surface

    There's no need in creating extra work for yourself, especially when it serves no real purpose
     
  9. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I believe that with the wire on the surface, there is a chance that the coon, possum, dog, etc. could nose under the edge and dig in, especially if the rocks denied access to the soil close to the fence. If the rocks are pulled away from the fence and the hardware cloth is securely attached to the bottom of the fence it would work better. The dog, or whatever, would then dig at the wire and soon see that it is not working. I have seen dogs back up when their way was blocked (they can't go forward because of the fence) and dig a shallow trench under plywood to enter a fenced in area. Granted, that was to get into a pen with another dog in it but the same method could be used to get under wire to access the chickens. I don't imagine a pred would dig down past the 18 inch apron, then parallel to the soil surface nor do I think one would dig down, hit an out-turned lip, back up, dig down some more then continue parallel to the soil surface. I think the extra work is going to make the run and coop more secure. On mine, I dug a 4 to 6 inch trough and layed the 24"
    [​IMG]

    wire in it. It was securely fastened to the bottom of the fence and soil was filled in on top. I let the rain do most of that job as our soil is sandy and the trough filled in quickly. It was not too much work and the peace of mind I get from knowing it is there was totally worth it.
     
  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Predators will always try to dig against the vertical part of the fence.
    They aren't smart enough to start out away from the fence to go under an apron.
    Once a little grass grows up through the wire, they won't be able to move it at all.
    One half inch of dirt covering an apron is just as effective as a foot of dirt, once some grass grows
     

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