Need help with fencing for my run.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Coop de Grille, May 3, 2011.

  1. Coop de Grille

    Coop de Grille Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm confused [​IMG]

    I am converting a shed and existing dog pen into a coop and run. I am in the process of moving and have no tools here, am construction challenged and my husband is 600 miles away. I am hiring a handyman to help me with everything that needs to be done. He came over yesterday and I told him what I wanted.

    The run has very old, rusting existing 2x4 wire that is 4ft high. I wanted to take it down, and replace it with chicken wire 5-6 ft high, and wrap the run with 3 ft of hardware cloth, one foot of it buried. Since there are very tall pine trees in the run, covering it is not an option. I was planning on putting some bird netting up to keep hawks from diving in. My chickens will be locked up every night, and there are several dogs that wander our neighborhood. I am pretty sure the dogs will keep predators at bay during daytime. Everyone on my street has at least 2-3 dogs and they all wander the yards. I am in a rural setting, backing up to woods.

    Well, this guy just shot everything down. He has raised chickens all his life (I'm a Northern transplant) and told me no way can I not have the run covered. He also said I only need hardware cloth two feet under the ground like a skirt around the pen, not up the bottom of the fencing. He said I should keep the 2x4 wire and just go up another 2 feet to make it 6 ft high. He said no matter what I do, unless I clip their wings they will fly out even if the pen is 6 ft tall.

    Can someone tell me what type of fencing is appropriate?? I have been reading here for a year now and I thought I had it all figured out!
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  2. 10 point

    10 point country boy

    Feb 19, 2011
    LaFayette, NY
    We live in a rural area and we have a foot fence that contains all but one chicken who likes to perch on top of it . if you could it would be a good idea to get somthing over the top. the neting would be fine. either way you do the fencing would work extending it or replacing, I would go with what ever is easier.
     
  3. Celtic Chick

    Celtic Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Just tell him you're paying him to build what you want, not be a consultant. My run is uncovered & out in the open. I have hawks, falcons, coons, possums & darn near every other predator imaginable & I haven't had one chicken loss due to it. Nor have I had a chicken fly out of it. My fence is 4 feet tall.
    If you have very flighty, skittish birds, or banties, then maybe you would need to cover your run. Otherwise, I wouldn't be too overly concerned. Bird netting or the plastic chicken wire across the top will be fine. Just make sure they have some low growing bushes &/or a dog house or some cover to run under in case they see something fly over. The covers from cat boxes work great. So does a piece of plywood leaning against the wall of the coop on an angle.
    Chicken wire is practically useless. I say keep the 2x4 wire & run some hardware cloth around it like you were planning & bury it in a foot. If you are worried about its integrity, run a second layer of the wire around the fence overlapping it so the squares are half the size.
    I would be a little concerned about the dogs though. They love the taste of chicken.
    (Had to edit my 'tude. Sorry!) [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2011
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Um, the dogs ARE your biggest predators, seriously. You need a dogproof run. No matter how nice and friendly they are. Dogs and hawks account for probably nearly 100% of all daytime chicken losses.

    chicken wire 5-6 ft high, and wrap the run with 3 ft of hardware cloth, one foot of it buried.

    That will not be dogproof at all (or anything-much-else-proof except keep chickens from going thru it)

    And burying 1' of chickenwire won't do a lot of good either, especially by a year or two from now when it's rusted into severe weakness or nonexistance (yes, galvanized chickenwire does rust away underground, usually fairly fast as most of it is very poorly galvanized). I would reccommend a 2-3' wide apron on the ground outside the run, correctly constructed, you can use 2x4 wire if you want... that will give you pretty good digproofing, especially if dogs are the main threat.

    I would strongly urge you to get some REAL (heavy gauge) fence wire, even just more 2x4 wire if that's what the budget allows (cover the bottom 2-3' with something smaller meshed, evne chickenwire is "more or less okay" for that since all you're trying to do is slow down reach-thru not actually keep predators' whole bodies out, the 2x4 wire doing the actual predator exclusion job)

    told me no way can I not have the run covered

    <shrug> YOu can do whatever you want, it just depends on how much risk of loss you accept. If they will be locked up every day by dusk without fail, hawks are your only major threat (there are *very occasional* daytime raccoons), plus the possibility of chickens deciding to fly out.

    He also said I only need hardware cloth two feet under the ground like a skirt around the pen, not up the bottom of the fencing.

    Skirt good; needn't be underground however. Again, you don't "need" small mesh at chicken level on the fence, but it is riskier if you don't have it. Chickens stick their heads out and sometimes injure themselves by doing it and getting stuck or by getting nabbed by a predator they didn't see there; also chcikens occasionally nap too close to the run fencing and something grabs them thru it; also baby chicks will go right thru 2x4 wire like it is not there. Personally I think something smaller-meshed is cheap insurance (needn't be hardwarecloth if budget is real tight, hardwarecloth for that application isn't THAT much improvement in security over anything else). But you don't "need" to of course.

    He said I should keep the 2x4 wire and just go up another 2 feet to make it 6 ft high. He said no matter what I do, unless I clip their wings they will fly out even if the pen is 6 ft tall.

    I agree with using 2x4 wire (smaller would be better but also a lot more expensive and not *that* much more secure, especially when pen will not have a solid or wire roof).

    They CAN fly out of anything they want to, but often they don't want to and if they do you can put a mesh/netting top on to keep them in, it is not a great big deal IMHO. Also you can discourage them from WANTING to fly out by a) making the run as large and interesting as possible, with as few chickens in it as possible, and b) do not put lumber along the very top of the fence, put your top horizontal piece of 2x4 (or whatever) about 1-2' down from the top edge of the wire, so they can't see it as well and aren't as inclined to fly up ONTO it. It is not surefire but it does *help* reduce the likelihood of them going over the wall so to speak.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  5. Coop de Grille

    Coop de Grille Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Patandchickens, I have hardware cloth that I was going to bury, not the chicken wire. I bought it in 3 ft wide rolls and was planning on two feet above ground and one ft below. I guess I should reverse that and bury 2'?

    My neighbor down the road has chickens and none of the neighborhood dogs have really shown an interest in them. I think I should replace the rusted 2x4 fencing with new 2x4. I can't afford to do the entire run in hardware cloth but I do have enough to bury around the entire perimeter.

    Thank you everyone, I have a better idea of what needs to be done now!
     
  6. dawj

    dawj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Best thing to keep dogs away....electric fence...I put one around the outside of my deck when the kids were small the deck was gated but the neighbors dog loved to jump the gate and was afraid of my kids getting bit...one jolt and a yelp dogs go running with their tail between their legs. 61 dollars for wire and unit.....kids safe and dog yelping......priceless [​IMG] I'm going to move it to the coop when i build it this weekend weather permitting.
     
  7. Bengalcats1

    Bengalcats1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You've been VERY lucky that a hawk hasn't taken a chicken......I had a net over top and still one managed to get in my run, it was a tiny but deadly coopers hawk. I do think she should cover the run, you can use the netting and wrap it around the trees, just an open run is to tempting and they will fly out, mine had no prob flying over a 6 ft fence
     
  8. Coop de Grille

    Coop de Grille Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is what it looks like:

    [​IMG]

    With all those trees there is no way to cover it. I like the idea of an electric fence, can I buy that at Lowes? Will that zap the chickens too if they try to fly on top of it or touch the fence? Right now there is a dog house in there but that will be removed. There wont be anything in there they can climb on.
     
  9. Celtic Chick

    Celtic Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:You've been VERY lucky that a hawk hasn't taken a chicken......I had a net over top and still one managed to get in my run, it was a tiny but deadly coopers hawk. I do think she should cover the run, you can use the netting and wrap it around the trees, just an open run is to tempting and they will fly out, mine had no prob flying over a 6 ft fence

    Yes, we are. I saw a hawk sitting on the ground under a tree about 6 feet from the edge of the fence, just sitting there watching them for a few seconds before taking off. I think it was after some rodent. We are overrun with mice, voles, squirrels, ground squirrels and chipmunks, so I think they are content to go after them rather than our birds, who are way larger than the hawks, not that that matters at all. We've even seen cranes eating field mice out in the back. And the hawks just love picking off my songbirds at the feeders. [​IMG]
    I have a lot of bushes, cages and other forms of cover for my chickens to run & hide under too.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Oh ok, sorry to have misunderstood. Hardwarecloth will last "reasonably ok" with burial.

    However 12" deep is cutting it mighty fine (while still giving yourself a whole lotta work) -- a considerable number of dogs WILL dig down that far. I would not trust less than 18" deep to be all that fully secure.

    I bought it in 3 ft wide rolls and was planning on two feet above ground and one ft below. I guess I should reverse that and bury 2'?

    Don't bury it at all. Do an apron. Really, it works just as well for what you want and is MASSIVELY less work. Lay 2-3' wide fencing horizontally on the ground outside the run fence, attach it securely to the foot of the run fence, bend the outer edge down a bit so it's not obvious, and peg or weigh the whole thing down or cover it with turf/mulch/gravel/rocks/concrete-rubble/pavers/whatever.

    My neighbor down the road has chickens and none of the neighborhood dogs have really shown an interest in them.

    Well, I sure wouldn't trust that, it is really common for people to have no trouble at all with a dog until, one day, suddenly they do; but, it's a free country. You might want to browse the "something ate all my chickens" type threads in the Predators and Pests section of the forum for a while though to get a sense of the sorts of things that happen.

    I think I should replace the rusted 2x4 fencing with new 2x4. I can't afford to do the entire run in hardware cloth but I do have enough to bury around the entire perimeter.

    I would not necessarily discard the 2x4 just b/c it is rusty-- if it was relatively thin-gauge and is clearly *weakening* from the rust, then for sure replace it, but if it were heavy gauge livestock-type stuff, that can stand a considerable am't of rust before it gets materially weaker. As per the above, I wouldn't bother burying the hwc, an apron is far easier and works as well.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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