Hens digging under fencing !!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Baldguy, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Baldguy

    Baldguy New Egg

    Oct 22, 2008
    My 6 girlies ( hens ) insist on scratching along the perimeter of the inside of their run. They've almost got to the bottom of the chicken wire in some spots, 6-8" underground ! I've filled their trenches in a few times but they just re-dig. Would gravel stop this or should I use concrete ? Any other ideas ?
    Thanks !
  2. Slywoody

    Slywoody Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2009
    Rocks??? Cement blocks? Pavers?
  3. Chickenfortress

    Chickenfortress Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2008
    Maybe give them a dust bathing box, so they will have an alternative to digging there, and then harden the ground where you dont want them to dig. cement would do it, but you could get away with mixing portland or plaster into the dirt itself and water it. It will harden up to the point that digging will be unpleasant and difficult without making it too hard on you later if you need to remove it. If you choose the more permanent solution of adding concrete make it at least 4 inches thick to avoid damage during winter heave. Pavers would also make for an easy and reversible fix.
  4. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    All I can tell you is that gravel will not stop them, they'll just toss it out of the way. Mine are free to range, but when they come up to a place they want to dig, gravel does not even slow them down.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Possibly 6" of horizontal hardware cloth attached to the bottom of your run and weighted down with rock, brick, pavers.

    You could use landscaping timbers, old lumber, etc. either to weigh down the hardware cloth or on its own, but I would not want not create habitat for mice or rats, so think about how to do this one.

    Good luck.
  6. Chicken Fruit

    Chicken Fruit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Echo Homestead
    I say base rock for driveways. Its big and heavy and cheap. Each rock is about the size of a small potato, and its broken so its not round- not something any chicken wants to dig through.
  7. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    my fencing in turned under on TOP of the ground to keep them from digging and finding a way out. I have it staked into the ground around the outside to keep in down. I had an escapee several times and this solved the problems.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    They can certainly dig deeper than 6-8" -- but even moreso, so can *predators*. I'd really suggest a better digproofing arrangement; not so much to keep hens in as to keep dogs etc *out*. Either dig in some (heavier gauge) wire mesh deeper than you've got, or lay some on or just under the ground *outside* the run for 2' or so to the outside of the run fence (attached to the bottom of the run fence), well weighted or pinned down or covered with turf.

    If you go the apron-outside-the-run-fence route, you still may have to repair occasional dusting holes that drift partly below the fence (jsut to avoid tempting predators) but nothing bad can actually come of their doing that.

    If necessary you can also put a row of bricks, good-sized rocks, small pavers, etc on the ground along the inside of the run fence, so that their dusting holes don't get so close to the fence.

    As others have said, making a *good, appealing* dusting area elsewhere may also help, although it may require experimentation to get it so they like it. Also if your run is pretty small (8 sq ft or less per chicken) expanding it would help a lot.

    Good luck, have fun,


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