Hardware cloth skirt still needed in rocky yard?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by redriver, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. redriver

    redriver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    Northern California
    Currently building my coop. Since I live at the edge of town next to BLM land, I have tons of wildlife in my neighborhood. The wildlife express lane is next to my garage. We put up a game camera about a year and a half ago hoping to see a mountain lion that most everyone in the neighborhood had seen or heard. Never got a picture of her, but our list of animals we have gotten photos of is pretty extensive.

    In order of frequency:
    1) deer (giant rats)
    2) house cats (feral and not)
    3) raccoons
    4) foxes (very bold, one came right up to me while grilling one evening)
    5) turkeys
    6) rabbits/skunks, very rarely

    Sometimes foxes are ahead of the raccoons. Coyotes are very common to hear, but have always kept to BLM land.

    So, the reason I am giving you all this background is because I'm not sure if I need to install a skirt around my coop/run. Our property is completely fenced with a 6' tall privacy fence. Our dirt is VERY rocky. We even have a surface boulder less than two feet from the coop. When we dug down into the earth for our perimeter foundation, we had to use a Pulaski (think pickaxe) to get down to the level we needed. The foundation is eight inch deep, six inch tall solid concrete blocks. Since the coop is on a slope, the back is the shallowest with only one course (6") of block. The front is the deepest with three courses (18").

    Since I'm sure there will be people who will suggest putting the skirt in anyway, my other question is, what animal would I be keeping out by doing that? What animal would dig through such rocky dirt that deep?

    These are sincere questions.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If your coop foundation is block, I don't think you'd need a hardware cloth skirt. I assume your coop will be tight built wood, with 1/2" x 1/2" hardware cloth tightly fastened on any windows and vents and the birds will be locked in at night?

    Maybe hotwire around run?
  3. redriver

    redriver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    Northern California

    It is tightly built, and there is 1/2" hardware cloth everywhere. :) We don't have electricity to the coop, again because we didn't want to hollow a trench out for the electrical.

    KLLEETRUCKING Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 24, 2012
    Utopia, S.C.
    I've read on BYC that if you can, 90* the fencing under the dirt a few inches, the predator really gets confused when they dig down and hit wire. From what little experience I've had and from what I've read, (thanks BYC people), chickens are the MOST sought after food source
    for carnivors. Their protection is paramount if want to keep them alive.
  5. redriver

    redriver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    Northern California

    Thanks. After spending the evening reading about the different methods various predators get to chickens, I'm still undecided about installing it or not. We have so many foxes and they dig... We might need to just lay it on the surface and put other rocks we have excavated on top of it.
  6. Joseph Kirk

    Joseph Kirk New Egg

    Feb 9, 2013
    Most all that you listed will get under except maybe the house cat. I have basicly the same type of ground so I will put hardware cloth on the ground and cover it with rocks which I have lots of. I also have four strands of electric wire on the out side of the fence. I live in the woods and I am woods smart.
  7. lmattke

    lmattke Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2013
    We've lost chickens to raccoons and I don't wish that on anybody.
    When protecting your coop - imagine this: if a predator were INSIDE that enclosure, would there be any way for it to get out? Are there any weak points? Because if it could get out, it could get in, too. A predator like a fox or raccoon will do anything in its power to get at fresh chickens.

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