Ideas to secure top of run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LindaN, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, I've had a new run constructed to keep the hens out of the main part of the garden so they don't eat it all! It also keeps the dogs from harrassing them too much.

    Inside this run I've positioned the Eglus, which I like to leave open during the day so the hens can stretch their wings a bit. Here's a photo of the run.

    [​IMG]

    Now, there is still finishing to do. I will add 1/2 inch hardware cloth along the bottom half and put pavers along the outide to deter digging. (I have lots of extra concrete pavers from another project.)

    My big issue is what to put on top of the run to secure it from things climbing and flying inside.

    Since I do lock the Eglu runs closed at night, I guess I'm not too worried about racoons and such attacking; the hens and chicks go into their coop at night and are not inclined to come out at all. So, I doubt that a night-time predator could get to them.

    However, over the past month or so the sparrows have discovered my hens' food. These flying pests eat a lot of the crumbles and I'm tired of giving them a free meal. So, how do I keep the sparrows out? If I just get some bird or deer netting and secure it over the top will that work? How do I secure those long segments so they don't fall inside the run?

    The dimensions of the run are sort of odd, as it followed my odd lot lines. It's roughly 20 feet long by 12 feet wide at the widest point.

    I was originally going to try to cover the run with a SunTuf roof but after much discussion here with others it just didn't seem feasible without adding all sorts of extra posts inside the run. Snow load could be a real problem without extra support.

    If there is a way for me to add something to really secure the run from predators climbing in, then I could take the runs off the Eglus which would make walking around in there less awkward.

    Thanks in advance for all your ideas!
     
  2. jed1154

    jed1154 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. Ricks Chicks

    Ricks Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would put chicken wire over the top. it is tall enough for you to walk around in and the wire is inexpencive and easy to work with.
     
  4. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would netting or chicken wire sag without central post supports? Just wondering if I need to do some sort of cross-beam set up to keep it from sagging in.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Anything economical is indeed going to need to being propped up for a 12' span. There are two usual approaches:

    1) put up one or more *tall* posts, well set in the ground, with a short 'T' piece at the top, to act like the poles that hold up the center of a circus tent. The netting then drapes freely down from the post(s), and you weight the edges (pop bottles of sand hung at intervals along the edge of the netting, or whatever) to hold it reasonably taut.

    or

    2) wooden or pvc or metal rafters, either straight or slightly hoop-shaped, attached across your run at intervals. Again, weight the edges of the bird netting to keep it taut.

    Partly it depends whether you want the 'lid' for winter use, b/c you can run into major issues with the weight of snow and especially ice (I know that at least 2 BYCers have had pvc-hoop run roofs taken down by icestorms).

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. Sylvie

    Sylvie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would be concerned about raccoons getting in through the top. If they are really hungry they will be out in the daytime. I usually see this year's young coons out at odd times.
     
  7. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmmm... the only time I saw a 'coon roaming around during the day in this area of the city was a few years ago when there was a disease affecting the population. That racoon was definitely sick looking, and shambling around in a daze.

    My run is right next to the alley, which is quite busy with residential and commercial vehicle traffic, bicycles, dog walkers, and general passers-by roaming up and down all the time. (In fact, it's funny to see people who are alert to their environment do a double take when they catch a glimpse of the hens through the fence!)

    I'd never say it couldn't happen at all, but it would be an extremely remote possibility that a racoon or other climbing predator would be around in the day time.
     

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