Need help predator proofing my first coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rjackh, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. rjackh

    rjackh Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 16, 2014
    Central Texas
    I ordered this coop from a near by sawmill and wood shop. The one pictured is a 3x6, I ordered a 4x8 with some slight differences than pictured. It does not have a bottom on the coop. I live in a small lot residential neighborhood, been in the same house 4 years only seen a possum twice. We have hawks flying around very often. I have a security light in the backyard that I turn on every night, one of the two bulbs can be aimed directly at where I plan to place the coop.

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    I planned to place the coop under a medium sized tree in my yard for shade and protection from hawks. The coop will also be about 5 feet from my bedroom window. I also planned to use 4' garden fencing to enclose a small yard around the coop to let the chickens roam outside their coop every now and then when I am home - give them extra room outside their coop but not free roam of the whole backyard. This small yard will not be covered.

    Do you guys think I could stake down a skirt of garden fencing at ground level around the coop and let the grass just grow through it to keep digging predators out at night? Or should I add my own hardware cloth bottom, level the coop and add sand over the cloth? Sorry for the long description and thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. minnehaha

    minnehaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Spokane, WA
    Hi, cute coop! Do I see chicken wire, versus hardware cloth? If that is chicken wire, predators can rip that open, particularly raccoons. predators can dig under the coop as well since there is no floor. One way to remedy that is to extend hardware cloth underground 6-8 inches, or have the hardware cloth extend to the ground, then bent at a 90 degree angle and laid on the ground extending out from the coop sides. predators have trouble figuring out how to dig with that fencing on the ground. If you are going to give them some ranging room with the 4 foot garden fence, be sure and clip the flight feathers from one wing. By clipping just one wing, they have a harder time trying to fly because the feathers are not the same on both sides. That's all I've got, I'm sure tomorrow you will see more responses. Off to bed.......[​IMG]
     
  3. rjackh

    rjackh Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 16, 2014
    Central Texas
    The coop is enclosed with hardware cloth, not chicken wire.

    Do you guys think adding my own hardware cloth bottom to the coop would be more secure than a hardware cloth skirt? Then I add litter over the cloth? I had initially planned on adding a skirt, and not adding any litter in the run.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    It wouldn't hurt to add hardware cloth on the bottom of your run, plus put a skirt around it. You may have only seen a possum once or twice, but when you get chickens, other critters will find them. Everything loves chicken!
     
  5. Cherie1n2

    Cherie1n2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2014
    Upstate South Carolina
    I use the flockshock electric fence at 4 and 10 inches off the ground around my coops to keep away foxes. I have the tops covered with chicken wire to keep out hawks. Using the electric fence gives me the option to build using cheaper materials and thus more space.
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Personally I don't like hardware cloth directly on the floor of the coop and/or run. Chickens scratch - that's what they do - and eventually they'll get through the litter and hook a claw or worse break a toe. For that reason, we did the hardware cloth apron around the outside of ours. We ran it up about 2 feet on the side walls of the run and the coop. We "sewed" it with wire to the cattle panels we used for the run and used screws and large washers to secure it to the coop walls. Then we folded it outward at the ground and ran it outwards about 2 feet and secured it with landscape fabric staples. That was supposed to be covered with flat rocks. But the grass grew up so well through it that we just left it. Now we can mow right over it! And it does deter diggers. Molly, our English Setter, got overexcited when we let the chickens into the run for the first time and began to dig frantically at the bottom of the run.....but after she broke and bloodied a toenail she wisely decided that they just weren't worth the pain.

    I know you said that all you've seen so far is an occasional opposum, but they are very, very good diggers and they are persistent. So some kind of barrier is a good idea. Also remember that chickens will attract to your property predators you have likely never noticed or seen before - even stray dogs can pose serious threats to your birds. Pay close attention to corners, as well. For some reason those tend to be weak spots. I refuse to believe in my setup being 100% predator proof. The moment I do that I risk becoming complacent and that's when accidents happen. So I figure mine at about 95% and the other 5% is just diligence, awareness and immediate repairs if we spot an issue.

    You can click on the link to "My Coop" under my avatar to see how we did ours.

    Good luck!
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    Very good point. I hadn't thought of that. We don't have hardware cloth on the floor of our run, either. We also did the apron and ran it up 2' on the welded wire.
     
  8. rjackh

    rjackh Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 16, 2014
    Central Texas
    Sounds like the apron is the best idea. I now the grass shoot short, put the apron on and secure it down with tent stakes. Then just let the grass grown back through. Thanks.
     
  9. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    watching this
     
  10. ksandvig

    ksandvig Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2014
    Lake Stevens Wa
    I have a similar coop & this may sound wierd but we took the glass shower doors out of our master bath(hated them) anyway used one of them for a floor in my coop! I have 4 concrete blocks on grpund & shower door on top nothing can get in, I got lucky as the width fit perfect! That is in a 12x17 run totally covered. We used chicken wire and had leftover white plastic lattice sheets we covered the wire with. We have used pretty much all recycled materials we have aroun the property :)
     

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