HELP!! Chicken run questions~predator proof

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nelgkel, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. nelgkel

    nelgkel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a new member...have read a LOT online, but cannot seem to find how high I need to go on my chicken run with 1/4 inch wire to protect from racoons, possums....We live in central FL and received a 4foot by 8 foot coop that we are remodeling and attaching an 8foot by 16 foot chicken run to. It will be about 7 or 8 foot high...we are trying to make sure we do not make any costly mistakes!! Found stucco lath is cheaper than 1/2 inch hardware cloth...
    Please help!!

    will post pics soon!

    THANKS!!!! Kelly in FL
     
  2. nelgkel

    nelgkel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    concerned about snakes and mice too!
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    From what I've seen here, about 24" should be adequate. The idea is to make it high enough that a coon or other critter can't reach in and pull the hens' heads through the wire. If I'm mistaken, I hope someone will correct me. I'm not sure what you can do about the snakes and mice. Snakes aren't a threat here and mice don't need much of a hole to get in. They won't get through the 1/4" fencing, but any small cracks or openings will be enough. Good luck!
     
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Similar climate and preds here, dang it. I run hardware cloth 24" up around chain link fencing. Be sure you cover the top very, very well - raccoons and opossums can climb, as can snakes.

    And [​IMG] from South Carolina!
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  5. nelgkel

    nelgkel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    THank ya for the hints so far!! things we are thinking about.....lath is 27 high by 8 foot...so if I do 2 rows of lath high it would be 52 inches high of VERY small opening and similar to hardware cloth withouth the cost!

    so LATH LATH up to 52 inches..then regular chicken wire??? for about 3 or 4 foot...then bird netting on the top to protect from birds...it is plastic netting that the local chicken farm uses...

    more advice??

    THANKS!
     
  6. nelgkel

    nelgkel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    chicken run frame....1 1/2 inch pvc basically @ 5 foot cubes...cut a little larger to make it 16 foot total... will have top and bottom supports...with netting or chicken wire...this is frustrating! I really wish there was some way to make sure no critters get in!! without spending $$$$$$
     
  7. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    Really good you are thinking of it way before you build it! [​IMG] I did the same--an entire year of researching their care, housing, nutrition and behavior--and finally the big day comes as we get the chicks this Wednesday [​IMG] !

    I believe you are always better safe than sorry--so I'd do at least 30-36" (whichever makes the most sense for the size of the hardware cloth you buy). My thinking (obsessive as it is) is if a hen panics and there is a group of raccoons (like a family which happens as mom teaches her young) and she runs away to a corner one of them may be able to grab downwards and get her head--especially if there is something for them to climb on. I also have read 1/2 inch hardware cloth is sufficient to stop the carnage and easier to see the hens in the run so we are doing our entire coop with it.

    Oh and [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    1/2" hardware cloth keeps rats out but mice can come in at their own peril--chickens eat mice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  8. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Wire apron around the bottom, to keep critters from digging under. Not a big fan of PVC, the average dog can tear into it.

    I use the 10'x 10' x 6' chain link dog runs, with lots of reinforcement- and have had a dog and a possum get in. [​IMG]
     
  9. nelgkel

    nelgkel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    awesome!! thought I had been waiting for a bit...researching since Jan...we live in a populated neighborhood...we have a chainlink fence around the perimeter of our yard...but we still see possums on top of the fence,armadillos, we have a pair of hawks, some owls, also have seen snakes...I know we have racoons, just have not seen them..we are going to attach apron to bottom of pvc and bury it to help with digging critters! also, we have a maine coon cat! I think he will be ok, but never hurts to be cautious.. for city living we sure do have lots of wildlife around us! It is GREAT!!
    so if I have the lath up to 52 inches I should not have to worry about critters climbing up on the side past that or on the top of coop right??

    thanks! this group is awesome!!
     
  10. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As I understand it, the purpose of using hardware cloth with small openings between the wires is to try to prevent reach through predation, where the predator reaches through the openings in the main fence to grab at parts of birds, then dismembering them by pulling through the wire.

    So the idea would be to have this wire with the small openings all around the bottom of your pen, where chickens would normally crowd up when frightened by a predator. Also, if you have any roosts that touch the sides of your pen, reinforce those areas, too.

    This approach works when your main fence is something substantial, like 16 gauge wire with 1" by 1" or even 2" by 3" openings. It doesn't really work if your main fence is chicken wire, because all the predator has to do is climb up to the chicken wire, rip it apart and climb into the pen with your chickens.
     

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