Need Help Wanna to build a Racoon safe Run for my chicken coop

GDHorse

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
1
0
7
I have a chicken coop already, my chicks are 6 weeks old, i put them out in the day, bring them in my house at night. I am a first time chicken owner. I have been shoping for someone to build the "run" off the side of my coop. I am looking for any suggestions, ideas, or someone that would like to build this run. From what I have been hearing/reading, Racoons will prey on the chicks, rodents will dig under or try to get to their food or eggs.
I would like to hear ideas of what to be sure I take into consideration while building the run. How deep do I go with the fence line? What gage of wire is safe, and small enough to keep Raccoons from reaching through to get the chickens etc. Thanks for any help/suggestions you may have! I will build the run to the left of the coop. The front door will be open while I'm home so they can free range in my yard. Livermore, CA
 

Sonya9

Songster
5 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,259
171
211
Jones County, Georgia
For raccoons I went with the 1/2 hardware cloth to create a small "secure" run. I don't have a fenced yard like you do so I used 2" x 4" six foot tall welded wire to create the large run and covered with avian netting.

The 1/2 inch hardware cloth should keep little raccoon hands and other things OUT (while preventing even the tiniest chicks from sticking their heads out which is another concern).

Photo below, I had an unused 6 x 8 foot dog run so I used that as the frame for the interior pen and just lined it with the hardware cloth inside and put welded wire over the top (soon to be replaced by plastic roofing panels). Course you may need something taller for your coop and you probably want it to look pretty since it is in your backyard.

I doubt if you will be able to find 6' tall 1/2 inch hardware cloth so if your pen has to be tall maybe you can use 4' hardware cloth on the bottom and welded wire on the top, the raccoons can only reach in to get a chicken through the lower section anyway.

Depending on the size and such you could also shop for a 6' tall dog kennel, the welded wire ones look nice, then line the bottom with hardware cloth while covering the top with some type of wire or better yet plastic roof panels to provide shade and cover from the rain along with predator protection.

As far as burying the wire I didn't, I figure if something is going to try and dig under it will happen at night when they are safely inside their locked coop and I will see it in the daytime.

 
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MrsHall28

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
47
2
36
Not to crash your thread, but I have a question that falls under this category as well:

My husband was thinking about placing wiring under the run/coop to keep animals from digging under it to get it. I'm worried about what it would do to the chicken's feet. Is this a good idea? If so, what would be the best material to put down on top of the wiring to prevent the chicken from hurting their feet?
 

Sonya9

Songster
5 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,259
171
211
Jones County, Georgia
Not to crash your thread, but I have a question that falls under this category as well:

My husband was thinking about placing wiring under the run/coop to keep animals from digging under it to get it. I'm worried about what it would do to the chicken's feet. Is this a good idea? If so, what would be the best material to put down on top of the wiring to prevent the chicken from hurting their feet?
One of the greatest joys in a chicken's life is SCRATCHING the dirt and grass to find tasty things and also just for the fun of it. A wire floor would be a horrid idea and yes I would expect it could cause serious foot problems/infections/bumble foot (beyond making them very unhappy and unable to dust bath or scratch).

Your husband could rent a ditch-witch and dig a narrow trench a few inches deep to set the fencing in (or lay a concrete footer around the perimeter) to keep predators out. A hotwire run along near the fence line would also deter serious diggers but that requires careful grass maintenance. Look at other options and not a wire floor in the run. My first choice would be hardware cloth and a ditch witch. Laying a foot wide strip of hardware cloth or even chicken wire on the ground (stapled in) along the outside of the run is another way to keep predators like canines from digging along the fence line, I use that in a couple of areas to keep my own beloved dogs from digging into the chicken coop.
 
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MrsHall28

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
47
2
36
Thank you!! I know he has good intentions, but I know there are other options. I'm just afraid of opossums and raccoons. We'll find another way!

Should I add sand or dirt to the run area? Or just leave it the way it is? It will end up just being on grass.
 

Sonya9

Songster
5 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,259
171
211
Jones County, Georgia
Should I add sand or dirt to the run area? Or just leave it the way it is? It will end up just being on grass.
Chickens love grass and unless the run is huge the grass won't survive long. I am hoping the grass in my chicken run can survive (notice the small run in the photo has very little grass). Be careful about fertilizers and such if you decide to "help" the grass.

They will dig out areas to dust bath in soon enough.

Also you want to be sure your actual coop (where the chickens will sleep) is secure with latches and strong enough to keep predators out, not cheap to ship flimsy wood such as is found in most online chicken coops.
 
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debid

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,543
6,824
496
middle TN
Wood framing, 1/2" hardware cloth, and make it tall enough that you can stand inside. That's ideal.

We went with a used dog kennel for cost savings on the adult run and just placed the hardware cloth strategically. Snakes and rodents can still get in but no way the raccoons, bobcat, foxes, coyotes, or neighborhood dogs are going to and those were of greatest concern. The juvie coop has an all hardware cloth run so nothing is getting in there.

Oh, and there is no digging trenches here without a jackhammer so I went apron for keeping out diggers. It's not just critters digging in, it's chickens dustbathing near the edge that makes gaps. With an attached apron sticking out, the grass eventually grows over and you don't even see it.
 
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jetdog

Songster
6 Years
Jun 18, 2013
1,282
138
148
Massachusetts
Thank you!! I know he has good intentions, but I know there are other options. I'm just afraid of opossums and raccoons. We'll find another way!

Should I add sand or dirt to the run area? Or just leave it the way it is? It will end up just being on grass.
http://
www.backyardchickens.com/content/type/61/id/
6297381/width/200/height/400
I put wire down in my run to keep anything from digging in as I didn't want to be tripping over an apron of wire, about 5 inches of sand very easy to clean and dries quickly if it gets wet mine is covered though they love dusting and scratching in it all day.
 

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