Hardware cloth floor or large apron? Which one? Experts needed:-)


5 Years
Hey everyone!

Back at home I have a 'Fort Knox' Coop. Not only is the floor hardware cloth with dirt piled on it, but I've also cemented all around the sides. My chickens are staying at a wonderful farm in Florida while we are in Canada for 6 months. We have built a run on their property that they will use after we get our babies back (so sad to leave them! *sniff*). I am going to do the same as at home and put their coop IN the run. I want to keep them separately from their chickens because of pecking order stuff, and I don't want anything to happen to them if they are free ranging with the others. Our run at home is 13 by 8 and the one here is just a bit smaller.....

Here is the deal....

I want to put hardware cloth at the bottom, but I am worried about the chickens feet. Can this hurt them?? We would be suppling them with containers of sand/dirt, and trays of grass swapped out every so often. But we will not be piling two feet of dirt on top of the hardware cloth because I don't want to be digging up their land, plus we need it to be slightly transportable in case we need to move it or incorporate it with one of their chicken sheds....

That being said....if the hardware cloth is no good for their feet (it's pretty hard packed ground)....then I guess I am open to an apron....it just doesn't seem as safe to me (I am very over the top with predator proofing, ha ha). If you think the apron is sufficient, how far out would you go? I'll then add another 6 inches to it! LOL. It wouldn't be the vertical stuff, instead laid out horizontal.

Any advice or thoughts or even ideas with the hardware cloth floor situation would be SO SO SO appreciated. I think I need to make a decision and have a piece of mind for 6 months....probably impossible though;-)

Sorry for being such a crazy overprotective chicken mom and thanks in advance!!
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I have ducks, game birds, chickens and rabbits on 1/2 hardware cloth. Most have never touched the ground in their life. No feet issues.
Hope you guys can adjust to the climate, at least it's not winter right?
Good luck.
I'm having the same debate as you are right now. I was going to go with the apron, but that still leaves a big chance at something getting in. So I'm leaning more towards the floor...we are building the coop inside an old barn with a dirt floor. I'm wondering if I couldn't used welded wire instead of hardware cloth? The openings would be much bigger, but with a 14x16 coop, it would save some money and I think would stop the diggers. I would still put dirt or sand over the wire though, to put more space between any diggers and my chickens feet.

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