Need advice on building a run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PDXChickGirl, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. PDXChickGirl

    PDXChickGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    Hi!
    I'm a newbie and have learned so much from this site. Thank you! [​IMG]

    My chicks are now 4 weeks old and I'm now frantically trying to put the finishing touches on my coop and run. I'm building a run off of my chicken coop. The whole thing is in the middle of an old established rose garden in my backyard. The run will be 12 feet long and 4 feet wide. The sides and top are covered with galvanized wire in 1"x2" rectangles. The roses line both sides on the outside (those thorns are a bear!! :eek:).

    My obstacles:
    How can I make this predator proof?
    Digging a trench around the run and burying wire is proving to be difficult because the rose bushes are so close to the outside edge.

    Is it possible to dig the trench on the inside? If so, how deep and should it flange in or out (and for how long?)
    What material is used for this? It seems hardware cloth is inflexible and hard to work with.

    Alternatively, can I lay hardware cloth on the floor and then bury it in dirt and sand? If so, how deep should the dirt be over the hardware cloth so the chickens don't hurt their feet?

    Thanks everyone for your help!
     
  2. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    The idea of the wire being placed along the perimiter is to prevent tunneling under the side walls. That being the case, and if you want to trench down to place the wire vertically, how deep you go down is relative to how hard it will be for predators to dig.

    If you have soft soil and it's easy to dig in, it sounds like 1 to 2 feet down is what I've seen discussed. If hard soil, maybe 1' is ok?

    OTOH, if you want to lay the wire along the edge of the coop - horizontally - then let's look at the reason this might work. If you think of an animal coming to the fence and sensing a tasty meal inside, they start digging right there at the perimiter. If (for example) 2' wide hardware cloth were tacked along that outside perimiter, the attacker may not be smart enough to realize they need to back up 2' and then start tunneling. Instead, they start digging right there and get stuck. Also, if they did happen to pull back a couple feet before digging down, it's unlikely they will not only dig under the wire - but then the 2'+ to actually get under the wall and into the run. Make sense so far?

    So if you do place the wire on the ground inside, the predator CAN dig straight down at the fence line, and when they get under they may be able to press the wire up and come into the coop area. Not good... So I don't think horizontal placement of the wire inside the run is good. That seems like it would work best outside.

    Bottom line is you probably ought to plan on trenching - and placing the wire vertically.
     
  3. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    I have a smaller run so I have the whole floor covered, connected together with zip ties and buried. Same for the "ceiling".

    I have been happy with the results.
     
  4. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    Quote:That might be a good solution for PDXChickGirl - just install a straight run of hardware cloth along the entire length of the run.
     
  5. GreggsEggs

    GreggsEggs Cooped Up

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    Aug 31, 2007
    Caneyville, KY
    I live deep in the country and have dogs and a few raccoons living in my woods and hallow. I have no problems with any digging under my fence into the run. Maybe because I put an electric wire fence around the run, about a foot away and about 6 inch off the ground.
    I did have 2 Black rat snakes try to steal eggs "once" though.
     
  6. PDXChickGirl

    PDXChickGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    I'm trying to dig the trench around the perimeter, but I'm having a hard time going more than 6" and I keep running into roots. (this is hard work!!) The main predators around here are raccoons and possums, so I'm sure I need to go deeper to keep those guys out.

    I'm thinking about trying the floor route. Tiffanyh, how deep did you bury the hardware cloth on the floor?

    Thanks so much everyone!
     
  7. PDXChickGirl

    PDXChickGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    Gregg'sEggs :

    I live deep in the country and have dogs and a few raccoons living in my woods and hallow. I have no problems with any digging under my fence into the run. Maybe because I put an electric wire fence around the run, about a foot away and about 6 inch off the ground.
    I did have 2 Black rat snakes try to steal eggs "once" though.

    UGH! I hope we don't have snakes here!!​
     
  8. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    I didnt really bury it. I laid it down, dumped some dirt on it, maybe a couple wheelbarrows full and covered it with shavings. Every year, I "dig out" back down to the wire, leaving a thin layer of dirt and throw fresh shavings. My girls cant dig to far down in it but I have never had a single problem.
     
  9. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    California
    Our run as well is covered with hardware cloth on the bottom (Stapled to the bottom frame). Then there is probably 8" of straw on top of that! You don't want them walking on the wire, of course! They do dig down to the wire once in a while, but I know they are safe.

    The plan was to put it on dirt (hence the wire) but we decided at the last minute to move it to the other side of the property to the more "tolerant" neighbor, and put it on a concrete pad that was there already, so we didnt really need the wire after all, but if we ever relocate the coop we will know it will be safe!

    Good luck!
     
  10. PDXChickGirl

    PDXChickGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks everyone!

    I was hoping to get to it this past weekend so I could report in, but it took the entire weekend to get the roof on the coop part, and level the whole structure. It's more time-consuming than I anticipated (but I'm not that handy either!)

    Next weekend is the floor! My walls are made of galvanized wiring that is 1"x2". Someone just told me a racoon can grab a chicken through that and kill it! Should I put 1/2"X1/2" hardware cloth around the bottom - maybe going up about 12-18" from the ground? Or is that overkill?

    Thanks!
     

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