New Run To Be Constructed SOON!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LittleBits, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] We will soon be making the run bigger and would like your opinions, pros, cons, and insight as to what would be best.

    Still working on the new coop, roof is on now. Trying to get things done before cold weather comes. Hard since there's not much daylight when DH gets home.

    This pic is a possible plan of the new run. Coops are outlined in red. The windows are not shown. Run may turn out to be 14x26 - not sure. 8x26 would still give them 18sqft each of outside.
    [​IMG]

    Explanation: Big Coop will have some storage space walled off. On the West wall, there will be a small chicken door. The large door will be within the walled off area for storage and used for my access into their feeding area. The door between the Little Coop and Big Coop is just a homemade hardware cloth door. The chicken door is on the west wall of the Little Coop. There is a Little Run right outside with a regular door for access to/from the Big Run. The Big Run door is on the East edge, next to the South wall of the Big Coop.

    Some specific questions I have:
    1. The run needs to be at least 6' high as we are both tall. Even with that, DH won't be able to stand up straight, but he very seldom goes in there! Would 8' 4x4s be good for posts or could we get by with something cheaper? What might that be? Maybe 6' 4x4s but then we'll lose some height when they're set into the ground.... How far do you think these posts should be set into the ground?
    2. What type of fencing between the posts would be best? Chicken wire, welded wire? Field fence? I've looked at pictures from Southern States and TSC, but I'm not sure of the difference between the welded wire and field fence. Is there anything else that would work but be cheaper?
    3. How far apart should the posts be with each of the above?
    4. Predators haven't bothered them but once, when something got in the coop at night and we lost 2 and 1 died a week later, but we shored up the coop that same day, but not the run. Might be none of them has been very hungry yet, either, but with winter coming, that may change. Right now it's those green metal fence sticks and chicken wire with a 2x4 stapled to the bottom. Not exactly predator proof at all. There's netting over the top, but it is so worn now that it has holes and tears all over.


    Ground is harder than rocks, so digging (for us, that is!) is almost next to impossible. Not many $$ to use, want to do our best with what we have.

    5. What about regular chicken wire at the bottom, and into the ground (if we can get into the ground) and up the side of whatever we use for the fence? How far into the ground to prevent predator digging?
    6. Are 2x4 inch holes too big for the upper part of the fence? I've seen lots of pics on here with what appears to be the welded wire type fencing with 2x4 holes. Seems they usually have some type of wire at the bottom as well, over the 2x4 holes...
    7. What kind of construction would be best to hold up the top of the run- and would regular chicken wire suffice for this? Would it hold up against leaves and snow if it were supported throughout?


    Any and all suggestions, plans, etc. are most welcome. I've thoroughly enjoyed looking through coop pages and now it's time for us to do something more permanent with ours, especially with winter coming. Everyone on here has been so helpful as we try to keep these chickens!
    Thanks so much!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Hate to tell you, but you got your East-West arrow backwards.

    1. The run needs to be at least 6' high as we are both tall. Even with that, DH won't be able to stand up straight, but he very seldom goes in there! Would 8' 4x4s be good for posts or could we get by with something cheaper? What might that be? Maybe 6' 4x4s but then we'll lose some height when they're set into the ground.... How far do you think these posts should be set into the ground?

    You are going to have three corner posts. You can tie back directly to the coop for the other corners. I’d use something reasonably substantial for them and brace them back. You could get by with those 3” to 4” wooden posts but you’d really need to brace them well before you stretch any wire. You can get examples of how to brace those corner posts online.

    A normal recommendation is to set the posts 1/3 of their length into the ground, but with adequate bracing and by setting them into the ground really well, 24” would be enough. How are you going to set those corner posts, tamping in rocks or using concrete? Concrete is the best way for a good set. I grew up building and repairing fence so I just tamp rocks in but there is some skill involved in that plus you need a good iron bar to tamp with. Concrete is probably cheaper than buying that iron bar.

    As for height, I suggest you put a support down the middle of your run that is higher than the 6’. Otherwise that wire top will sag and get both of you. You’ll probably need that support for snow load anyway.

    2. What type of fencing between the posts would be best? Chicken wire, welded wire? Field fence? I've looked at pictures from Southern States and TSC, but I'm not sure of the difference between the welded wire and field fence. Is there anything else that would work but be cheaper?

    The bigger the opening s the more predators can get through. The smaller the openings the more the fencing normally costs. It’s a trade-off. You need to look at the length and height the roll of wire comes in too when planning it. A lot of wire comes in 5’ heights but you will have a 6’ high fence. What I did was use that 2”x4” welded wire and put chicken wire along the bottom 18” or so inside the fence. The 2x4 welded wire will stop most predators of any size and that cheap chicken wire will add quite a bit of protection down low. It’s not totally absolutely predator-proof but it is pretty predator-resistant.

    3. How far apart should the posts be with each of the above?

    The spacing of the intermediate posts is not real critical if you are just stretching wire. If you are using horizontal lumber in your fence design, it becomes really critical. I normally use and 8’ spacing to hold cattle. With what you are doing, I would not worry about a 10’ spacing. Just stretch the fence tight.

    4. Predators haven't bothered them but once, when something got in the coop at night and we lost 2 and 1 died a week later, but we shored up the coop that same day, but not the run. Might be none of them has been very hungry yet, either, but with winter coming, that may change. Right now it's those green metal fence sticks and chicken wire with a 2x4 stapled to the bottom. Not exactly predator proof at all. There's netting over the top, but it is so worn now that it has holes and tears all over.
    Ground is harder than rocks, so digging (for us, that is!) is almost next to impossible. Not many $$ to use, want to do our best with what we have.

    Unless you do something, many predators can just push their way under the fence where it meets the ground. Often they don’t even have to dig at all. What I suggest, especially in rocky ground, is that you use an apron. Lay maybe 18” of wire flat on the ground outside your run and attach it to the bottom of your fencing. You can use hog rings or just weave wire through it, sewing the two pieces together. You don’t absolutely have to cover it but if you take the sod off, then put that back on top of the fence to bury it maybe 2” that wire will stay down and out of lawn mowers or weed eaters. The idea is that a digging predator goes up to the fence, starts to dig, hits the wire, and does not know enough to back up. It works pretty well. I used 2x4 welded wire left over from the fence.

    5. What about regular chicken wire at the bottom, and into the ground (if we can get into the ground) and up the side of whatever we use for the fence? How far into the ground to prevent predator digging?

    See above.
    6. Are 2x4 inch holes too big for the upper part of the fence? I've seen lots of pics on here with what appears to be the welded wire type fencing with 2x4 holes. Seems they usually have some type of wire at the bottom as well, over the 2x4 holes...

    See above.
    7. What kind of construction would be best to hold up the top of the run- and would regular chicken wire suffice for this? Would it hold up against leaves and snow if it were supported throughout?

    You’re not sure what size run you are going to have so I can’t get specific. Depending on how wide you make it will help determine how to brace it. Depending on how wide you decide to make it, I’d consider building a support down the middle of the run (or maybe 2). To keep costs reasonable, I’d probably use a treated 2x4 as a post and splice another 2x4 on that to raise it if I needed to so I could walk under it. Run a 2x4 along the top of those posts the length of the run to support the wire. That means you want to space those supports 8’ or 10 to match how long those horizontals are. Then run the wire from one side across the support and on to the other side. You’ll need to overlap that wire a bit and tie it together, hog rings or sewing it together with wire.

    Chicken wire or welded wire across the top? It’s a trade-off. The heavier the wire the better predator protection you’ll have. The more you brace it the stronger it will be. Leaves and snow load will probably break the wood, not the wire.

    Many of us use a philosophy of building a predator-resistant run and lock them in a predator-proof coop at night. It’s not 100% foolproof but it works pretty well for most of us and helps keep costs reasonable.

    Good luck with it.
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: If the ground is truly "harder than rocks, digging by predators isn't going to be a problem.
    A simple wire apron laid flat on the surface will stop them.

    As to digging for posts, if your ground is fairly level, that's not a necessity either.
    Build your fence wall just as you would any wall, and it will work just fine

    I like to space my uprights every three feet to make it easy to stretch the wire
    If you feel a need to anchor it to the ground, simply drill holes and drive in long peices of "rebar"

    Also,, mine is 6.5 feet tall, with no top.
    I used 6 ft fenciing and just left a gap at the top. If I decide to cover it, headspace won't be a problem. These two are both 12 X 18
    [​IMG]
     
  4. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
     
  5. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2013
    Kentucky
    My Coop
     
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    My posts, as well as the top and bottom boards are all treated 2 X 4's.
    It's built just like you would build a wall in a house, and is free standing

    I build them laying flat on the ground, and attach the wire before I stand them up

    You dont need buried posts or heavy duty corners, because you're not straining Hi Tensile fence.
    It only needs to be taut between each post, and the thin wire can't stand the stress

    I used 2 X 4 welded wire, and you could use any smaller wire to add more security around the bottom

    The rebar I referred to is used like a big nail, driven through a hole in the bottom 2 X 4 with a large hammer, but really isn't needed.
    Mine have withstood several hurricanes without moving
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I used 8’ long round wooden posts, maybe 3” to 4” diameter for corner posts. Bearfooot, it looks like your “corner posts’ are just two 2x4’s probably screwed together. Is that right?

    Weasels, racoons, feral cats, fox, bobcats - do any of these climb to get into the run? All these climb, also possums. Not sure about a skunk. Weasels can squeeze through a mighty small hole. To be honest, you can’t afford to keep a weasel out of your run. They only need a real small opening.
     
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Yes, some places have two together, and it can be screwed or nailed

    Hex head lag screws work well for joining sections if you think you might ever need to take it apart, and you can wire it in smaller sections too.

    I know some have done it that way, in 8 ft sections, so they could undo a few screws and be able to get their tractor right up to the coop

    They don't show in the pictures but there are a couple of braces in the top corners that help keep that end from moving back and forth, and one 12 ft 2 X 4 in the center across the top just as a spacer

    I've never had anything climb in, but three sides of my yard is high voltage electric fence, and I have 4 dogs now and have had as many as 8 at once in the last 10 years or so

    Possums are the worst problem overall, but I keep a trap set most of the time and they can't resist sardine oil.

    The dogs alert me if anything else comes around
     
  9. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Guess an old telephone pole would work, cut to size.

    Yeah, forgot to list possums. Plenty of those everywhere... ugly, nasty critters.

    Thanks so much for your help!
     
  10. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Thanks so much.
    Armed with all these instructions, I feel better about starting the run - and trying to talk the better half into something other than chicken wire stapled to 2x4s at the bottom and leaning on those green metal stick posts around the run!
     

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