Need help with my moat design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by happydog, May 27, 2010.

  1. happydog

    happydog Songster

    Nov 22, 2009
    Western NC
    We've got tons of slugs and grasshoppers so I want a chicken moat around the garden. The garden is large, about 120x150. That will make a really huge moat which means it'll need approx 1000' of fencing. And that begins my problem... see, I'm married...

    I have to keep the costs reasonable so here's what I'm planning:

    Lowes sells a plastic garden fencing that's similar to plastic chicken wire but a bit thicker and stronger. It's 4' high. I have some locust posts I can use and thought I'd alternate them with some metal posts. For coops, I'd like to go with a simple hoop design since I'll need several to house the different kinds/sexes/ages of poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas.)

    Predators: we have coyotes in the vicinity though I've never seen any here. In fact I've never seen much of any wildlife around here, but we've only been living here a month and we make a lot of noise, lol. We're on 17 acres, bounded by woods and some houses. But I know if I put chickens in, every raccoon in the county will beat feet to get here so they need to be secure.

    We don't have any LGDs yet but plan on getting a couple shortly. In the meantime the fence will have a couple strands of electric. My thought is to fortify the fence and then I can get away with cheaper housing. The coops will be fairly small since the birds will have access to large runs. The runs will be planted with a variety of chicken goodies, greens, grains and root vegetables, etc. and can be closed off so they can be rotated.

    Does this sound like a doable plan or just dumb/overly ambitious/naive? Do you think the plastic fencing will work or is that just a waste of money that'll need replacing in a month? I can't afford 1000' of expensive fencing for this project, since we're paying a bunch to put in perimeter fencing right now.

    Here's my inspiration for this setup:

    I'd really appreciate any advice. Thanks.
  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I wouldn't count on that plastic fencing to be "stronger" than chicken wire at keeping out predators. In other words, it won't. It will keep your chickens out of the garden, though (if they don't fly over it, that is).

    If I were you, I'd build stout, secure coops for your birds and lock them in at night when predators are more likely. During the day, they'll be at risk of something getting through the fencing you're using, but unless you have stray dogs roaming around, there are fewer daytime predators (other than hawks) to be worried about.
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    I second the coop design - with a garden that size you don't need a fence -

    Chickens can't read maps or compases - so when they escape they can't tell which way to go - so they just stay put!

    I used to worry all the time about mine escaping - until one day they did - & then came right back at dusk - every one of them.

    Most preds are not out in the day time - except maybe a fox or neighbor dog - coons will not.

    The chickens have a natural instinct to put themselves away at night - if you build a couple strong secure coops they will be safe & I promise you they will not wander away in the day & not come home.

    Most of the time they barely leave sight of the coop!
  4. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Songster

    Nov 3, 2009
    Maryville, Tennessee
    You don't know my chickens. When I let them out, they hightail it right over to the neighbor's yard. Don't know, maybe he has tastier bugs! [​IMG]
  5. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Quote:LOL sound like mine! He's got bird feeders out back and that's where they head.

    I tried building a moat around my garden last year. I used the run fence (chain link) as one side and then plastic fence on the garden side. The plastic was laid at an angle and attached to the run fence with zip ties. At the bottom it was held in place by landscape timbers. The problem was the "door" in and out of the garden. If you didn't secure it were it took 10 minutes to close up and open up, that danged Houdini chicken would figure out how to get everybody in the garden and eating the garden. I love 2 gardens last year.

    This year I moved the garden and fenced it in all by it's self. And gotten rid of the troublemaker chicken.
  6. I really like the chicken moat idea, thats great!

    It is definately doable.
    Always remember, anything worth doing is worth doing right.

    I would think the exterior fence of the moat would need to be the strongest part of it, the interior fence is just to keep the chickens out of the garden.
    Id either start looking on CL for rolls of used chainlink, or just bite the bullet and buy some 2" x 4" "horse wire", which I believe would give the most bang for your buck besides chainlink.

    Like the one guy said on his blog, if the fences are high and close enough, it excludes lots and lots of predators.
    If you have a few smaller coop houses placed around that they can get into and you can close at night, they should be pretty safe.
    If you want hoop houses, Id get cow panels or driveway mesh from homedepot/lowes.

    If worse comes to worse, I would use metal fencing for the outside , and if you feel you could pull it off, use the plastic for the inside.

    You are right about the animals, they will find your chickens.
    However, all of this can be accomplished rather cheaply from Craigslist or by calling/shopping around.

    If I had the means and place to do it, Id definately have a chicken moat!
  7. happydog

    happydog Songster

    Nov 22, 2009
    Western NC
    Thanks for the input. That makes a lot of sense to make the coops the secure part instead of the fence. I'll just make really secure little coops.

    How about field fencing? I've got the kind that's got small openings at the bottom and bigger openings at the top. I think it's made for pigs. Would that work for a run if used with electric?


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