1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

New Coop, Need advise about coon-proofing!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by urban dreamer, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

    593
    0
    129
    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    What is the best way to keep preditors from digging under the coop? We are building our second coop (mind you I've only had chickens for a month [​IMG]) and I am unsure if I should have the chicken wire burried or on the outside or use bricks along the outside, blah, blah, blah. I have ALREADY caught a possum and at least two racoons around our chicken coop! I want to make sure the girls will be safe. The ground we have the coops on is uneven and so there are little gaps. I can't just have chicken wire strung out everywhere (nice urban neighborhood and the coop needs to be as "pretty" as possible to keep picky neighboors happy). So how do I ensure that nothing can dig under the coop and get my chickens while at the same time making it look good?
     
  2. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you really don't want wire on the outside ground of your coop due to looks, maybe you could do buried concrete paver bricks.

    I keep my desert tortoise from digging out of the yard in a couple places by placing the concrete pavers upright on their side, not flat, and buried 3/4 of the way down. You can only see about 3 to 4 inches sticking out. It really discourages her after a few inches of not making any headway and she goes and finds another more suitable spot to burrow. It still looks attractive. It is a lot of trouble and probably not as cheap as wire, but it might work with predators too, and it is more attractive.

    I had a bunch of the pavers free from a neighbor. I have this all around the edges of my veggie garden the same way, and I found a photo in my files of it where it appears in the bottom left of the picture. The pavers are kind of pink.

    [​IMG]

    My coop sits on an old concrete patio so I didn't have to worry about predators digging under.

    But neighbor dealt with the digging issue by putting down hardware cloth on the ground, placing paver bricks around the edge on top of that, and then filled in the spaces with soil and sand, about 2 to 3 inches over the top of the remaining wire. She made the run and coop over the pavers she used as a footing. She has had no problems so far and you couldn't tell she did it. Here is a pic I took of her coop shortly after she finished in the spring.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, is your coop floor wood or is it dirt? If it's wood, and well built, they shouldn't be able to get in that way, but if you don't want ANY thing to get under, including the chickens, you could wrap the base with hardware cloth, burying it several inches, then put lattice wood over it on the outside so it looks kinda pretty and disguises the hardware cloth too. (lattice won't keep any determined predators out by itself as I'm sure you know if you've already been reading and seeing things like opossums and such) It'll be a little tricky to cut it to the right angles on uneaven ground, but it's quite possible, and any areas where the lattice is up too high or something you can place some garden stones or some such. When I was a kid, we painted rocks to match and contrast the coop, it was fun and pretty. LOL I'd forgotten that but it was actually cute.

    You could put a low 'wall' of the lattice wood around the base of a run to disguise it from neighbors too, just don't forget to use hardware cloth that is too small for raccoons to grab your chickens through. It's pretty horrible how they can tear chickens apart bit by bit that way.

    If it's a dirt floor, yeah, bury the hardware cloth nice and deep! Actually, if you can get some old chainlink fence buried that's even better against raccoons. They are quite determined.
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is how we did ours, in 18 months it has held, despite being in a heavy predation area. We're careful about getting the birds in well ahead of sundown and let them out only after sunrise, too. We check the run before opening the pop door, and it's roofed. I agree about 1/2" gauge hardware cloth- it's necessary!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-LynnePs_Run
     
  5. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

    593
    0
    129
    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    These look great!!! I will talk to my "master craftsman" hubby and see what would be best for our yard and our budget.
    Heres a pic of the coop in progress:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    First thing would be to seriously reconsider that chickenwire. Hardly any (*if* any) chickenwire sold these days is heavy enough gauge to keep out a determined raccoon or dog. Welded 1x1 or smaller mesh is good, if heavy enough gauge and galvanized; otherwise anything up to 2x4" welded mesh (heavy, galvanized) is reasonably good if you add osmething smaller mesh on the lower 2-3' to prevent reach-through.

    For digproofing, you have three basic options. One is to have a concrete slab floor, or the equivalent -- expensive but good for indoor housing, but not so good for the run (you can do it if you *have* to, but natural ground is better floor for run). Second option is to bury HEAVY GAUGE GALVANIZED fence wire, no larger than 2x4" mesh, down to 18" or deeper under the fence. This is an awful lot of work, and it *will* eventually rust through. Third option, which I'd suggest is the best for the run, is to lay an apron of 2x4" or smaller HEAVY GAUGE GALVANIZED fence wire horizontally on the ground, 2-4' wide, all around the run. Secure it well to the base of the run fence. To secure and hide it, either cover it with very large pavers or rocks or concrete rubble, or pin its edge down well with tentpegs and cover with sod, mulch, pebbles, or just let the lawn grow up through it.

    Good luck, have fun, please seriously consider replacing that chickenwire before you lose chickens,

    Pat
     
  7. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

    593
    0
    129
    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    Where is the best place to buy the hardware cloth? I know where I can get alot of chicken wire.
     
  8. Splash Giants

    Splash Giants Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    0
    109
    Oct 28, 2009
    Good Evening,
    Heres what I do. I buy 1/2 x 1/2 welded wire and I cut it about 20 inches wide and shape it like the letter L and burry that about 4 inches under ground and when the coon or predator hits it they will stop because they cant get through that wire and set you a live trap close by with dog food in it and that will help also.
     
  9. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

    593
    0
    129
    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    Goodness, I didn't think hardware cloth was that expensive. Chicken wire seems to be working for the make-shift coop we have now...
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Oh yes, chickenwire ALWAYS seems to work just fine, right up to the very moment that suddenly it doesn't <pile of bloody feathers>.

    Browse the Predators and Pests section of BYC, you will see what I mean.


    Pat
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by