Getting ready to put up the run.. suggestions on predator-proofing?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Luke13:34, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Luke13:34

    Luke13:34 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Naugatuck Valley
    We just bought a 12 x 12 x 6 dog kennel off Craigslist for our in-town chickens. (Baby chicks arrive in ~8 days!!). I would love any and all suggestions on how to make it predator proof.

    We plan to bury the fence itself about 3-4 inches down.
    I will wrap the fence with hardware cloth (how high up should I go? 30"? taller?)
    I will add an apron of hardware cloth around the perimeter (how best to connect the apron HWC to the wrap HWC? zip ties?)
    The apron will be weighted down with bricks and slate all around.
    The top will be covered with aviary netting (I was planning to zip tie the netting to the fence)
    Part of the top will also be coved with a 16m tarp (also to be zip tied on)
    Motion sensor floodlights will be installed.

    I'm not sure how to best pred-proof the gate to the fence and still be able to open it! HELP!?

    I know that we have skunks and red-tailed hawks. Our backyard is Grand Central for all the neighborhood cats (household and feral), so I'm sure our run will be like cable tv for them. Plenty of large dogs around, too, although I've only ever seen one off-leash roaming by itself. I know we will soon be seeing other predators lining up with BBQ sauce once the chickens arrive.

    I would LOVE to be able to let my hens out into the run in the morning, even on days I'm going to work, and not have to put them back into the coop until evening. Is it possible to pred-proof enough to be able to do that?
     
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Well let's see. My pen is all hardware cloth with sun shade on top. A tarp seems to get weighed down in the middle when it rains, and eventually breaks.
    Just remember that your run is only as strong as the weakest point.
    I have a hardware cloth skirt that comes out 2 feet. You are better off doing the whole thing in hardware cloth if possible. With a locking door to the pen, and chickens locked in the coop at night.
    Burying the fencing 4 inches is not necessary with the apron. Motion lights are good if they wake you up, some use a baby monitor.
    Having 2x4's around the bottom on the ground is good to attach the wire to.
    Instead of zip ties, I use wire and like sew the openings together. I think it's easier to keep them in the pen during the day, and locking them up at night. That's what I do when I work.
    Hope this helps
     
  3. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi Tina,

    Congrats on getting your babies!! I assume since this is a dog kennel, it is made of chain link fencing? Those holes are pretty big, so the hardware cloth is a must! I put 4 foot tall hardware cloth on mine, but I'd go at least 3 feet. As for the top, the aviary netting won't work for cats and coons, they will chew right through it if it's the plastic kind. Try some welded wire fencing for the top. The apron should be at least 2 feet, and I would tie it with wire, not the zip ties. Zip ties deteriorate over time. Buy a roll of electric fence wire, cut in strips and tie it on with that. A roll is about 15 dollars depending on how much you get. As stout as I've made mine, I am still considering adding some electric fencing to the bottom, middle, and top. Right now, my chicks have only been out for 3 days in their new digs, and my cats have been stalking them since the minute they saw them. They constantly walk all around looking for a hole, and even get up on the roof! Here in Missouri, we have an abundance of coyotes, fox, possums, coons, black bears, bob cats, feral and tame cats, and birds of prey. You will no doubt see quite a few of those coming to the "chicken buffet" in the near future. As for the door, I think I'd make another gate to put in front of the one already there, made of hardware cloth and 2x4s. Good luck with your new chickies!! [​IMG]
     
  4. Luke13:34

    Luke13:34 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2010
    The Naugatuck Valley
    Quote:I've been envisioning my cat climbing the fence and then it's paws falling through the holes in the netting and him being stuck there like in a giant kitty hammock! Hubby wanted to put razor wire around the top of the kennel, but I told him I didn't need to hear the chickens singing "Fulsom Prison Blues" every night. [​IMG]



    Quote:so how to attach the HWC to the boards? Screws?
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I have wire as a ceiling rather than netting. But as long as you are shutting them inside the housing each night, you'd be pretty safe with just netting. My hardware cloth only goes 24 inches high along the bottom of my run "walls," but if you can do more, it's always a plus. I agree that if you're doing a skirt, you don't need to bury the actual dog run a few inches. As for your door, simply affix the hardware cloth seperately for it, and if there are gaps more than an inch away from the frame when the door is closed, I'd overlap the wire to cover that gap (either on the frame or on the door). It won't look as nice, but it'll be safer.

    Have fun with your babies!!! I'm sure you can't wait [​IMG]

    ETA: I agree about the tarps collecting rain. I have two for shade, and ended up punching a few strategic holes so that rain doesn't collect...
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  6. blefky

    blefky life in the yard

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    Luke13:34 :

    Quote:I've been envisioning my cat climbing the fence and then it's paws falling through the holes in the netting and him being stuck there like in a giant kitty hammock! Hubby wanted to put razor wire around the top of the kennel, but I told him I didn't need to hear the chickens singing "Fulsom Prison Blues" every night. [​IMG]



    Quote:so how to attach the HWC to the boards? Screws?

    I used screws with fender washers - worked really well. Good luck, and enjoy!​
     
  7. CT_Todd

    CT_Todd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2010
    Hebron, CT
    Tina,
    I'm in the same boat as you with figuring out ways to secure the run. I want to let them out inthe morning while no one is around and have peace of mind they will be safe all day while out..
    I have 48 inch wide x 100 feet of hardware cloth on order. My run is made of wood with the 2x4 every 4 feet to accomodate a place attach the hardware cloth.
    I am going to bury the cloth around 10 inches down and I have some old 2 x 6's laying aruond that I will use to 'skirt' the entire run.

    Agree with someone else, instead of plastic zip ties, use wire..pull it though on both sides, twist it and cut the excess. (maybe even old coat hangers?)
    My weak point will be the top..Netting will be okay for the hawk issue, but my concern is a raccoon climbing up. At least they will have to get through the coop defenses as well..

    As to the sagging, I plan on stringing some tipe of rope/wire arcoss the top that the netting can be 'stitched through' and the cross wires may even serve as added security..

    As far as attaching the HWC tot he boards, a construction grade staple gun will allow you to quickly and easily tack the cloth in place..Then use galvanized staples that you hammer in. (you can buy a box of them at home depot etc). That will attach the HWC to the boards very securely.

    Hope that helps...
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010

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