Help a newbie w/ keeping wild things away...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BowChickaBowMow, May 16, 2008.

  1. BowChickaBowMow

    BowChickaBowMow Songster

    May 16, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Hi y'all... I'm a new chick mom to 10 6week olds (EE's and BO's) We're getting ready to build their run this weekend.
    I bought chicken wire and hardware cloth (I've been reading the forum for months, just joined as a member today)

    We live way in the woods, in Northern MI. WE're butted up to state land. There's alot of wild things out there! We've seen bears, coyotes, a wild cat (think that's what they are.. they're cougar-ish looking) tons of raccoons, etc.etc.etc.

    I plan on having 8ft high of chicken wire, and along the bottom... 3ft of hardware cloth from ground up, and the other foot of it into the ground. I have netting to go across the top (to keep out the flying wild things).

    Will this be enough to keep out these predator's? What else can I do? We plan on getting a dog by next year, but just can't get one right now.

    Will my chicks be o.k. in a run like this if we're not home? Well I guess I could add that they'll have access to their coop also, and the entrance would be too small for a coyote (I hope).

  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Chicken wire will offer no protection from predators, it will only keep chickens in.
  3. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Get some really strong wire, sometimes chicken wire can be easily snapped if leaned on or chewed on. having to keep bears out, oh my!!

    maybe even a strong wood fence
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  4. McGoo

    McGoo Songster


    It's great that you're planning early. That really helps so much.
    My suggestions:
    Either 1/2" or 1" wire fabric is really the best protection throughout... and like you're planning - into the ground by 1 foot....on an angle out.

    Chicken wire is not a good idea. It's really designed to keep chickens in, not predators out.

    Not sure about top coverage..... Hawks will be deterred, but if you're planning to leave your chickens during dusk/dawn, I don't think that netting will save them from raccoons or gray fox or other climbers such as large cats! They'll just climb over and get through the netting.

    Everyone has a different situation, and it's impossible to totally understand what will work best. I've created a small, fort knox type pen made of 1" wire, however, I also have a 1/2 acre fenced in area too. If I'm away for an entire day or overnight, I keep them in the secure pen only (10' x 6') and I can leave their coop door open if weather permits. I'm comfortable that they are okay. When I'm home, they've got free range of the larger area which has a 6-7 foot fence to keep them in. Here's a picture of my coop/pen. I've got 6 chickens in it, but it can easily hold 12 - 15.

    All the best with your undertaking! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


  5. BowChickaBowMow

    BowChickaBowMow Songster

    May 16, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Quote:Ok, so what is wire fabric? Is that the same as hardware cloth, or something different? (I'm absolutely clueless at the hardware store)

    Looks like I'll be takin' the chicken wire back! [​IMG] What about using the chicken wire for the top of the run? Instead of the netting? Would that help on the top better?

    Thanks again!
  6. gila_dog

    gila_dog Songster

    Aug 15, 2007
    New Mexico
    Bears will tear right thru chicken wire or hardware cloth. Dogs can too. I use 5' high x 20' long cattle panels with 4" squares, attached to wooden posts. I hog ring some 3' chicken wire to that along the bottom to keep small chickens in, and small varmints out. Those cattle panels are very strong, and easy to put up.

    You don't have to bury fence wire to keep critters from digging under your fence. That's too hard. Just lay it on the ground horizontally around the perimeter, on the outside. Then attach it to the bottom of the vertical part of the fence with hog rings. Then cover it with a little bit of dirt just to hide it. Bad guys tend to dig right where the vertical fence wire touches the ground. With 2 or 3 feet of fence wire (even chicken wire or hardware cloth) layed out horizontally they can't dig thru it.
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  7. yotetrapper

    yotetrapper Songster

    May 3, 2007
    North Central MS
    I guess this depends on several things. 1) money and 2) do you really need a coop NO critter can ever get into, or one that will deter most critters.

    Sure, things can get through chicken wire. But in the two years since Ive had mine I've only lost one to predation... and that one was in a side coop which ANY thing could of hopped right into.

    I think if a bear wants your chickens, he will get them no matter what you use! We have tons of coyotes here and plenty of coon. Could they get in my coop? Sure they could. But they usually don't.

    If you want a tough coop, use chain link dog kennel panels with a chicken wire roof. Or use what you have and dont be upset if you lose one or two here and there.
  8. bearfretworks

    bearfretworks In the Brooder

    May 5, 2008
    Western MN
    I'd recommend an electric fence as well as stout wire. Bears do not like getting zapped any more than cows or horses or people:)

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