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New Coop and Run Construction

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jywel417, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. jywel417

    jywel417 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2009
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    Hello,

    I am semi new to BYC and the forums. I currently have 3 one month old Sex Link chicks (2 black, 1 red) and 4- 10 day old Buff Oprington pullets. I am starting to work on my coop and chicken run. I live on 5 acres, most of it wooded and know I have possums, assume there are raccons, haven't seen many skunks, but im sure there are coyotes as well. My dobes run the property from time to time and we haven't had any wildlife encounters yet, except for deer. My question is, on building the chicken run I have read where many of you talk about running wire mesh 3 feet out from the run to prevent digging. Do you think it could be just as effective if I used chicken wire all around, on all 4 sides, roof, and bottom? That way the entire bottom of the run is protected from any diggers. Any pros/cons for this? I am already considering putting padlocks on my nest boxes that will be on the outside of the coop to prevent any unwanted company by raccoons or other wild life. Any suggestions for construction, etc are welcome. I have looked at most of the coops on the coop pages, I think we are looking at building the coop to be 8x8? Originally was going to be 4x8 but now there is talk of 8x8. Oh, as far as location I am in East Tennessee. Thanks again for any help/suggestions !!!
     
  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. I would go with a woven wire or hardware cloth for the wire that you bury, the chicken wire will rust away in very quick period of time. Just remember that chicken wire keeps chickens in and almost nothing out. If you plan on locking the hens up each and every night the chicken wire for the sides and top are fine, if not you will need a much heavier gauge and make sure absolutely every thing is "air tight" coons are very intelligant and crafty creatures. One area in which people overlook is the gate, they will have a lock at the top and the coon will squeeze in at the bottom where it gives a little.

    2. The locks on the nest boxes is a must, the more secure the better.

    3. 8x8 coop is a great idea. The difference is cost is not that great and you will be very happy you did.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Unfortunately there are two serious problems with this idea: 1) you will be preventing the *chickens* from digging, and scratching around in the dirt and digging dusting holes (to stay cool in summer, and to rid themselves of lice and mites) is such an important part of what chickens are all about it seems unfair to deprive them of it. And 2) chicken wire is usually not very strong and raccoons, dogs, etc can rip it apart if they so desire.

    Also, if you bury wire on the floor of the run, you will not know when it has rusted away to the point of uselessness... until something digs in and eats your chickens. (Yes, even galvanized wire WILL rust, especially if you bury where gravel and such nick the galvanized coating and the soil is nice and damp).

    I would STRONGLY suggest using something much heavier gauge for the run. If you want inexpensive, consider using heavy-gauge 2x4" welded wire mesh, and then for the bottom 2-3' of the run fence add another layer of 1/2" chickenwire inside the 2x4" wire to prevent reach-throughs.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. jywel417

    jywel417 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for such quick replies, I don't believe I will be able to start on the coop and run until this weekend since I am a student at UT Knoxville and work Part/Full time at a local veterinary hospital, which doesn't leave much day light in the evening for construction at the moment. I was afraid of the weakness of the chicken wire, I had seen a coop locally where the builder was in construction and got left over thick wire mesh for free and had used it to build his walls of the run out of and that is what I would like to do in an ideal world, but at the moment I am pretty sure I can't afford to do a large chicken run in made out of the wire. If I do the larger galvanized wire around the walls and roof of the coop would chicken wire, if I can't find anything else in my price range at the time, be acceptable to run around the pen as well for extra security from predators. Where I am there is supposed to be a concrete pad where my mother had chickens when she was growing up. She is going to come out to the house this weekend and help me see if the pad is still in tact and if so I was thinking of putting the coop/run on the pad and then laying dirt for the chickens so they can still scratch and dust bathe but have the security of the concrete underneath them. I guess an additional question I have is if I go with the 8x8 coop should I make the run also 8x8, or 10x10? They will be allowed out to wander when I am home and can keep an eye on them and whatever wild life might be out and about but would like to keep them fairly safe and secure when I am gone for the day. I really appreciate all the tips and advice, it has been years since my mother had chickens and this is my first chicken experience.
     
  5. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Make the run as big as possible.

    If the "house" portion of the coop is predator proof and locked each night the run does not have to be a Fort Knox situation. Most chicken predators are night time predators.
    In my 40+ years the only predator problems I have had during the day where air borne and stray dogs. Air borne are easy to keep out of the run, simple deer netting works fine. Stray dogs...can be a huge problem and if they are a issue in your area invest in a good gun.
     
  6. jywel417

    jywel417 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Awesome !! The coop should be very break in proof by the time I am finished with it. At the moment I have a paint ball gun that I got when I moved in a year ago and a dog was wandering on the property making my girls go nuts and almost go thru the HUGE plate glass window. I figured that way I wouldnt break the dog's skin but it should sting like heck and if it had an owner it would be obvious. I haven't seen the dog in almost a year though. I do have a gun for other predators though and if I am not mistaken, it is legal in TN to shoot dogs, etc if they are attacking your livestock, I will check further into that but I am not afraid to get rid of any pests that might be trying to get at my flock.
     
  7. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it is legal to discharge a gun on your property I will bet ya $20 it is legal to shoot a dog chasing, killing, harrassing or mauling your livestock (and that is how most state laws are written just as I worded it).
    The problem I had when I lived in rural Illinois wasn't so much the neighbors letting their dogs run at large it was dogs that were dumped in the country by city folks who apparently thought we country fok would take in ever stray that came along.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Remember that raccoons will go through 4x4" mesh, so I'd suggest using 2x4" or smaller. Even if it means making the run 'topless' (maybe just deer netting) for now and shutting the chickens in the coop at night.

    But if you can get 2x4 mesh, using chickenwire along the lower 2-3' for extra protection (vs reach-through) is pretty sensible if you ask me. It will also be ok for an apron (vs digging) although not nearly AS safe or AS reliable as 2x4 mesh would be.

    if I go with the 8x8 coop should I make the run also 8x8, or 10x10? They will be allowed out to wander when I am home and can keep an eye on them and whatever wild life might be out and about but would like to keep them fairly safe and secure when I am gone for the day.

    Bigger is always better. If you are POSITIVE you will stick with only 7 chickens then 8x8 isn't a bad run size, but, really, you will not regret building it bigger.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  9. jywel417

    jywel417 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2009
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    Thanks for all the words of wisdom !! It is nice going into the coop building stage with an idea in my head and then advice from people on what does and does not work well. Right now we just have the 4 orphs babies, 3 link babies,and one of the clients at the vet has a brother who has a large chicken flock on his farm and has offered to let me come pick out as many as I want. From what I am told they are silkies that lay EE color eggs. I will be interested to see what I get and will def have the vets at work check them over for me just in case. I trust the ppl I am getting them from but figure better safe than sorry. So I guess where my rambling is going is that in a couple weeks I will have 3 silkie? hens and 1 roo to add to the currently growing flock, tho the babies all say the brooder boxes in the bathroom is a brilliant idea really (its the only room in the house I could actually block the cat out of without blocking the dogs out of their room. House has a VERY open floor plan which was wonderful until I realized it really cuts down on my critter project rooms . . . tho im sure my bf won't mind that one at all haha


    oh lord, its late and i just rambled on and on, sorry guys
     
  10. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    I would suggest you consider chicken escape more so than predator's getting into the run if you are locking the chickens inside at night.

    I have 10 chickens with a 9x10 indoor space and a 10x10 outdoor space. I've already had one chicken dig her way out of the run. They dig all around my fence. And my fence is 5 foot high, but if I didn't have chicken wire across the top, I know they could and would fly out.

    I worry more about my chickens getting out and being prey to hawks and the neighbor's dog in the daytime while I'm gone to work than I'm currently worried about the night predators getting in.

    Just something to consider. Best wishes. [​IMG]
     

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