Hardware wire underneath the entire run/coop, too?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
NorCal, CA
We are in the process of building our coop, and I have been scouring the Q&A's about runs & coops and have not seen the answer, so figured I'd ask.

When you guys are talking about putting the hardware wire for the coop/run, do you guys put the wire underneath the entire length of the run, or do you just dig down and skirt around it with the "skirt" towards the outside, so if dogs/animals try to dig in, they are deterred??
We live in a neighborhood that backs up to a creek, so there are lots of hawks/buzzards here, so I planned on roofing the top... I know we have racoons north of here, but I haven't seen one here. (We've only lived here 5 months, though)... and as far as rats/mice, I have not seen any in this house, but we got overrun at our last home...
We already have the base & walls up.

(Excuse the debris... we trimmed the shade tree on the left yesterday and it was 109 here today, and I am too lazy to brave the heat to clean it up right now.
So, as for the base, do you think it'd keep mice/vermin out from underneath it if I skirt around it? The floor is only plywood, and after we set it up, I keep reading about mice chewing through it. AGH! I don't want to have to dismantle everything and start again... but, will, if it'll save the chickies. I was thinking about unloading my nailgun on the floor, to give it a "cactus effect" underneath it, if that'd help.
I have a lot of landscaping rock that I am removing from our front yard, and had thought of putting that ontop of the skirting around the coop, if we did it that way...
I know we have rattlesnakes here, too... so, do those burrow under rocky/hard soil? We are planning on wiring the run with hardware cloth... but I was wondering if we ought to put it underneath it, too?
We have a very overprotective guard dog in the back, so as long as she is doing her duties, I think it'll be pretty safe... but, I really don't want to have to learn the hard way...
Thanks for your help!


10 Years
May 23, 2009
I don't think you'd want hardware cloth on the bottom of the run; that wouldn't be good for the chickens' feet. They couldn't scratch or take dust baths in the dirt.

My coop/run has hardware cloth sides and roof, and a skirt. Of course, my chicks aren't old enough to stay out there yet, so the design hasn't been put to the predator test ...gulp.

It's an interesting question you raise about the plywood. Theoretically, critters could gnaw right through the wood, but it would take them some time to do it. If you put hardware cloth over the edges (the joints), I don't think they could gnaw through the wood even if they had all week, because they need to be able to get their teeth on an edge to begin gnawing.

Dragonfly Ranch

10 Years
May 13, 2009
Happy Valley, CA
We did the wire skirt around the edge of the run folded out about a foot, with another board on the bottom of run to secure, then covered with large river rocks (seems like we have millions and always joke that if you could make money farming rocks we'd be billzonaires). Also need to add more around the base of the coop.

From what you say about temp you sounds like you are in our neck of the woods same temps for us this weekend. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation that is one thing we would have changed. I agree with other BYC cover what you can with wire cloth so they can't chew. Good luck.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
We are going to put 1/2" hardware cloth on all sides of the run - bottom and top too. Have put down and secured the bottom section - put down a few tons of gravel then stone dust on top of it (run is 8'x12'). Will be about 6" deep over the hardware cloth, so the girls won't be able to get down to it to harm their feet. We are in a flood-prone area and next to a state wildlife park so the run needs to be well drained and predator proof.

This is probably overkill but I have too many emotional scars from a childhood of massacred chicken-pets due to unsecure coops/runs!


10 Years
May 30, 2009
Colorado Mountains Teller County
Ours is a coop with run underneath and "wings" out two sides (chickens will also free-range when we are home). As you can see from my signature, we live out with the wild things (bears, mountain lions, raccoons, fox, coyote, bobcats - have never seen a rat here, but do have mice - NO SNAKES - YEA!!!!!!!!)

Ours may be a little overdone, but we dug down about 6" into our granite gravel and lined the bottom with 1/4 x 1/4 fence. The side fence is brought down and folded underneath the bottom fencing and attached with cage clips so even if something digs underneath, there won't be an opening for them to get thru. Then we refilled the run with the 6" of gravel.

You have to judge by your own environment and situation. . .

Garden Gal

10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
We used hardware cloth on the bottom section fencing around the yard but used galvanized poultry cloth outside the run, on the ground, 2' out - all around the yard. The poultry cloth is "folded up" against the hardware cloth about 4" so that there is no gap between fencing and "dig proof poultry cloth". We then attached 2x4's around the bottom of the fencing all the way around and stapled everything to this.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
NorCal, CA
Thank all of you.
I think we'll probably do the skirting, and then put lots of rocks in there, topped with sand. Our run is on a slant, as the entire yard is slanted... we couldn't get away from that... so, I think putting rocks and sand will help it drain the rain out, too... I think, inside the coop, since it is already erected, we are going to put down some hardware cloth, and then put another piece of plywood over it, just in case it gets gnawed...
I'm doing a search on weasels in the area and rattlesnakes to see exactly what they do to get at the chickens. We may wind up hardwire clothing the entire run...
Ah, this chicken venture sure isn't cheap!


10 Years
May 9, 2009
i did put wire on the full bottom of the run. i covered it with lots of dirt but eventually it will be rocks and sand. no problems with it and it has kept out a rat that keeps trying to get in. havnt got a trap for the rat yet. anywho, it works, we skirted it out beyond the run about a few inches.


11 Years
Aug 19, 2008
Somerset, CA
My coop has a cement floor so I didn't need to line the bottom with hardware cloth, but I did fully line the bottom of the run with the hardware cloth. We dug down about 4 - 6 inches, laid down the wire, securing it to the run framing with screws and flat washers, and covered the bottom wire with the dirt we'd dug out.

It's posed no problems for the chickens. They still dig their dust bath pits, scratch around, etc., without digging down to the wire. We wanted to ensure that nothing could dig in... so far so good!


Staff member
13 Years
Dec 26, 2006
California - SF East Bay
My Coop
My Coop
Hey NorCal neighbor!

I was so paranoid about coons that when I build our coop I laid down galvanized chain link fence underneath and put sand / dirt on top of it. Probably overkill, but we had extra fence sitting around and it helped me sleep at night.

I wonder if 2x3 welded wire would be cheaper than hardware cloth / wire.
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