Insecure about Coop/Runbe Security

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Donna Lynn, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Donna Lynn

    Donna Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello all,

    I am blessed to be moving to the country in Sierra Nevada Mountains near Yosemite National Park. We'll have 2 1/2 acres of meadow & woods. I am thrilled beyond words but I've been reading about predators and now I'm freaked out. My three girls are my pets as well as my egg supply.

    We are able to move slowly as our current home is still on the market. My hubby thinks what I am insisting on for coop security is overkill. I'm afraid it isn't enough. Please advise.

    The predators I know of in our new home's area are: coyotes, skunk, possums, hawks. owls, rattlesnakes, neighbor dogs & cats and who knows what else... (are gophers chicken predators?)

    We have bought a chain link dog run kit. This will contain the coop & the run. We've begun by digging a trench in a 10' x 10' area and placed 1/2"hardware cloth about a 1' to 1 1/2' deep and folding the remaining wire inward. I wanted it placed outward but my husband argued if we are also putting 1/2" hardware cloth completely covering the floor or run and overlapping the floor cloth with the inward skirt cloth all will be safe from "digging" predators. I'm insisting on wiring them together where they overlap. We are also putting 8" cement block in the trench only partly buried and filled with builder's sand. I will then place dirt/sand over the top of the hardware cloth and pine shavings for the scratching and busy chicken's delight.

    The run will placed on the block and staked into the block centers to hold it in place and for security. The bottom of the chain link will also be reinforced with 1/2" hardware cloth to keep raccoons from reaching in to grab my girls. Over the top, I'm insisting on shade cloth and at least 1" hardware cloth.

    I have a 4x6 "A" frame coop which will be placed on 12"square stepping/patio stones with pine shavings,etc. inside the run. The pop door raises and lowers from the top of the "A" frame to the floor and is secured with bolts underneath at night when it's raised. There are gaps around the pop door but again this will inside the secured run. I do have air vents at the apex of the A frame covered with 1/2 hardware cloth and little doors that raise and lower over the vents according to weather. The little run underneath and part of the "A" frame run is secured with the same hardware cloth with two doors that open outward to the 10x10 run. These doors are secured with hooks that have a spring latch and the egg door and front doors for cleaning purposes are secured with slide bolts and carabiners. Their food and water reside inside the small run. (This photo is from our current yard and does not picture the new 10x10 run we are building at the new home)


    I plan to put in a few roosts in the 10x10 covered run where they will be during the day but I haven't figured out how to do it yet. I may put a small stump or two away from the sides of the chain link.

    Any and all advice is welcome. These aren't just barnyard chickens raised for eggs or fryers. These are my girls, my pets, my babies,etc., and I really want to protect them. It would break my heart if something happened to them.

    They will be situated close enough to our bedroom that I could hear a ruckus at night. I also want to use the red predator preventer eyes and a motion detecting flood light. The final "protection/prevention" is another dog run will be placed for our german shepherd/lab mix behind the girls run. However, he will only be in it when we aren't at home, he sleeps inside at night. I'm hoping the dog smell will provide some prevention. What else might I need?

    Appreciate any help. Thanks,

  2. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2012
    Sounds like you are doing all the right things. I understand how you feel about your chickens because I feel the same about mine. They are our pets and it was very hard when we lost one to a bobcat while they were free ranging. We expanded their run and they no longer free range for their safety. We use two game cameras around the coop so we know what is moving around at night. Good luck with your new home!
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Your coop looks good. Dogs are my worst predator though I've lost birds to possums, coons and hawks.
    I would think you may also have the occasional mountain lion and bear.
    A bear can get into almost anything.
    If they're your pets, you probably don't want to take any chances.
    On the top you may be fine with just welded wire and shade cloth. I have 1X2 welded wire on top of a chain link run and is sufficient for possums, coons, hawks, etc. and a lot cheaper than hardware cloth.
  4. AnotherSusan

    AnotherSusan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2012
    In winter make sure you have a way to move snow off the top of the shade cloth. I imagine you could have some significant snowfall. Also will the run door open in or out? Out would be best as it would be hard to clear snow away to get in if it opens in. The door opening out also allows you to use all the space inside the run.

    Will you be where bears may be an issue? Adding a strong electric fence might be advisable.

    Will you be able to run power to the coop? Heated water bowls are very nice when the weather gets cold. Some use the heated dog bowls with a bucket set down in them. That way the bucket can be taken out to be cleaned and refilled without unplugging and moving the dog bowl.

    Sounds like you have it well thought out and looks nice [​IMG]
  5. Donna Lynn

    Donna Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you for the suggestions. [​IMG]

    I might see if I can get a game camera. We are going to run electricity out to the area.

    As far as I've heard from neighbors we don't usually see bears or lions down as low as we will be. Our home is at 3300 elevation but perhaps the game camera is a good idea to make sure. I can't convince hubby to get electric fencing right now but perhaps in the future.

    We only get snow maybe 3-4 times a season and it isn't usually significant enough to be a problem although two weeks ago there was ten inches. It was one of those crazy snows that are rare. The shade covering is made for run and has a peak so any accumulation will be easy enough to get off. Mostly we get 1-2 inches and it melts off the one or two days later. We aren't finished moving or working on the run so my girls are safe here in suburbia at the moment. I believe the door gate opens out but I will check that. Thanks!

    As far as water goes, I am getting a chicken fountain from a company by the same name and I will supply a heated source if needed in winter. Thank you all for your advice! Now if I can figure out how to keep deer out of my garden...sigh [​IMG]

    BTW, I will still open and close their coop door manually morning & night when the girls are moved to the mountain house.

    Many thanks,
  6. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2012
    Donna Lynn- Just in case you don't know game camera's use batteries and record on a memory card. We love ours. We had no idea that we had grand central station behind our
    fence. Raccoons, possums, house cats, bobcats, rabbits, squirrels etc. Good thing our chickens are closed up tight at night.
  7. Donna Lynn

    Donna Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow! That's quite the parade, Janet! You've convinced me! LOL Thanks![​IMG]

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