Help! Seeking advice on predator proofing our new coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TN Henny Penny, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. TN Henny Penny

    TN Henny Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    There's so much info and we've learned tons. Now we need some real clarity, however, in our chicken coop plan - specifically on predator proofing (as much as we can). I've read so much, that my eyes are blurring! If you've time and have thoughts to share, please do so!

    The ag extension agent said our most likely predators will be coons and skunks. Our neighbors dogs run loose and we've seen a hawk in the field next to the house very often.

    We're building the coop from scratch, supported on pretreated lumber joists. Walls will be some type of sheeting, insulation and vinyl siding. We plan to keep chicken feed and supplies stored in metal cans with secure lids.

    1. The coop and run will have a buried perimeter of wire, but what kind? We see anything on the web from chicken wire to hardware cloth.

    2. We also plan to attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the plywood flooring before laying it down. Do we need to put down 1/2" wire or will 1" be sufficient for critters boring up from underneath (they'll have had to negotiate the buried perimeter to get to the floor).

    3. We think we should put hardware cloth on all windows and vents. 1/4", 1/2"?

    4. For the run, we read that chicken wire only works to keep the chickens in. So - what kind of wire should we put on the frame?

    5. For the hawk, we plan to eventually put a roof on the run, but thought we'd start with netting?

    Thanks for bearing with us. We're so excited to get started but want to do all we can to protect our new chickens when they arrive!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  2. BlakesFarm

    BlakesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Upstate SC
    1) Build out of wood, and sink posts in the ground

    2) I would say build the run out of wire mesh (1in would be fine)



    We have a dog that will eat chicken wire (bend, tear apart, rip off of things), now I dont use chicken wire. You could also use mesh on the top of the run, but netting would be fine. Build the run atleast 5 ft high.


    It might cost you $100 or more. We estimated an cost for our coop price to build and it was $125, we havent estimated a cost for the run yet. [​IMG]
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

  4. cottage19

    cottage19 Out Of The Brooder

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    Eastern PA
    We buried 1x1 heavy duty wire around the run perimeter and used the same wire on the run walls. We ran the wire right up to roof and secured it with heavy staples. All of the windows are also covered with this wire. Our coop has has a 3/4 plywood floor on top of 2x6 floor joists and we have a 24" flagstone perimeter around the entire coop. It was a lot of work but our Fort Knox coop/run has provided the girls with a safe home. [​IMG]
     
  5. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I used half inch hardware cloth everywhere and haven't had a problem. Keeps the mice from free ranging in the run too. Our run is only 4 x 8 and has a roof, for which I am very grateful.
     
  6. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    1. The coop and run will have a buried perimeter of wire, but what kind? We see anything on the web from chicken wire to hardware cloth.

    Any welded wire fencing will do just fine including 1/2" HW cloth. The heavier the gauge the better. I plan to use 14 gauge 2x4 welded wire fencing for my upcoming project.

    2. We also plan to attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the plywood flooring before laying it down. Do we need to put down 1/2" wire or will 1" be sufficient for critters boring up from underneath (they'll have had to negotiate the buried perimeter to get to the floor).

    You don't really need to do this since you will have a good perimeter.

    3. We think we should put hardware cloth on all windows and vents. 1/4", 1/2"?

    Either works fine.

    4. For the run, we read that chicken wire only works to keep the chickens in. So - what kind of wire should we put on the frame?

    1/2" Hardware cloth is best. Many folks use 14 gauge 2x4 welded wire fencing with hardware cloth on the bottom 2ft.

    5. For the hawk, we plan to eventually put a roof on the run, but thought we'd start with netting?

    Netting is fine for temporary use. Can be a problem if it snows.​
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Anything is a whole big lot better than nothing. I would recommend a wide apron-style barrier rather than burying wire vertically, in most situations -- if you make it 2-3' wide, securely attached to the foot of the run fence, with the outer edge turned/pegged securely down, you can either leave it exposed for the grass to grow up thru, or cover it in mulch/gravel/pavers/whatever-you-like. And it does just as good a job as buried wire at CONSIDERABLY less investment of work and sweat! (If you do bury wire, I suggest going down at least 18")

    IMO heavy-gauge GOOD QUALITY galvanized 1x1 or 2x4 wire is best, but hardwarecloth is fine too and even chickenwire is nothing to be sneezed at -- it is ahrder for predators to rip it apart when it is used on/under the ground than when it is upright. (DO NOT trust chickenwire to be predatorproof for run fences or windows or anything like that, dogs and coons and such can often rip right thru it)

    2. We also plan to attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the plywood flooring before laying it down. Do we need to put down 1/2" wire or will 1" be sufficient for critters boring up from underneath (they'll have had to negotiate the buried perimeter to get to the floor).

    If your floor will be a foot or so above the actual ground, I would not bother with this step unless you know you have a SEVERE problem with rats or the like.

    If your floor will be plywood laid directly on the soil, or just hovering a coupla inches above it, I would suggest rethinking that plan as it will become a rodent farm *and* source of rot.

    3. We think we should put hardware cloth on all windows and vents. 1/4", 1/2"?

    Doesn't matter, so 1/2" is probably best (stronger, cheaper) unless you happen to have the other stuff already lying around.

    4. For the run, we read that chicken wire only works to keep the chickens in. So - what kind of wire should we put on the frame?

    Either 1/2" hardwarecloth, or heavy gauge 1x1 or 1x2 welded wire, or heavy gauge good quality 2x4 welded wire, would be my best suggestions. (You will see 2x2 or 2x3 welded wire at an attractive price but it is usually disturbingly thin-gauge and poorly-welded, I trust my cats in it but I would NOT trust it to keep predators out of chickens)

    If you use something with larger holes you will want to add something with smaller holes on the bottom 2-3' to prevent reach-through "incidents". Many people use hardwarecloth for that, but honestly it is not so bad to use just chickenwire or even that plastic 1/2" garden mesh (not the super-flimsy stuff tho), as all you are trying to do is discourage or slow down chickens pokin' their heads out or predators pokin' their arms in.

    5. For the hawk, we plan to eventually put a roof on the run, but thought we'd start with netting?

    Yup, lots of people do that, it will come down in snowfall but is generally good otherwise.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  8. TN Henny Penny

    TN Henny Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    Thanks so much for the sage advice! Time to roll up our sleeves and get it done now!
     

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