newbie run Q's

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gbeauvin, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. gbeauvin

    gbeauvin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2010
    Hey guys. Does anyone just put a wire mesh bottom on their run rather than doing the apron? I was wondering because I may want to move the coop/run (think large tractor, I guess), but I'd like the run to be predator-proof. Also, is 1/2" square, or 1/2"x1" wire mesh small enough to prevent reach-through, or does it need to be 1/4" square? The guy at the feed store seemed to indicate that both 1/2" and 1/4" were "hardware cloth". Would regular 2x4 or 1x2 welded wire suffice for the floor, walls, and roof of the run if the bottom 3' of the walls were hardware cloth?

    He had some 1/4" square "hardware cloth" that didn't seem near as sturdy as his 1/2x1 welded wire, but maybe it's sturdy enough to keep out a racoon or possum.

    thanks!

    -GB
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:It won't really be moveable the way you are thinking, unless you put nothing atop the mesh, which would be pretty bad for the chickens. Scratching and digging in the dirt is one of their major activities in life, it is a central part of being a chicken, and it'd be a real shame to prevent them from doing that. If you DO put 6-12" of something atop the mesh (and they will still dig down thru it TO the mesh in places!) it won't be moveable. I'd use an apron, myself, unless rats were a known severe problem.

    Also, is 1/2" square, or 1/2"x1" wire mesh small enough to prevent reach-through, or does it need to be 1/4" square?

    1/2x1/2" is reasonably safe; I would not trust 1/2x1" too far, if it's a situation where raccoons are likely. But if it's a large run and chickens will be locked in without fail at dusk, I don't personally think 1/2x1" is unreasonably dangerous. It will keep chicken heads in pretty well.

    The guy at the feed store seemed to indicate that both 1/2" and 1/4" were "hardware cloth".

    Yes.

    Would regular 2x4 or 1x2 welded wire suffice for the floor, walls, and roof of the run if the bottom 3' of the walls were hardware cloth?

    IMO that is a perfectly reasonable compromise. You lose very little safety, as long as birds are locked indoors at night. It's pretty much what I use. Don't go any larger than 2x4" holes though. And remember that baby raccoons and baby possums *can* get through that size hole, although they are generally only nocturnal (as opposed to adult raccoons which sometimes *do* come out in the daytime)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where I live, the possums ARE out and about at night, but if your chickens are closed up in their coop, you should be good [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  4. gbeauvin

    gbeauvin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2010
    Sounds like everyone locks up the chickens at night... would it take hardware cloth all around make it safe to give them run access 24/7?

    -GB
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Are you resistant to keeping them in a coop at night? Or just closing/locking a pop door to the run?


    Hardware cloth would need to be over the entire fence surface AND cover the run, as well as an apron of it, to ensure no predators got your birds in a run. Raccoons can climb, and tear through chicken wire easily.
     
  6. gbeauvin

    gbeauvin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2010
    Quote:Two things mostly, though one or both may be just silliness! Unfortunately due to lack of a fenced yard and numerous stray dogs, I don't think they'd get any free range time, so I wasn't wanting to "coop them up" any more than necesary. That's probably just silliness on my part though, huh?

    The other reason, though, is that I wanted to be able to leave the chicken-door unlocked if I were going away for the weekend With the grandparents a mere 4-hour drive away, we often make weekend trips to visit them (especially in the summer-time... when we may or may not bring the kids back with us :halo:)

    I've been convinced on the apron front, as I don't think it's rat's I need to worry about. The feed mill guy said we get mostly racoons and possums as chicken predators.

    -GB

    P.S. What's a reasonable price for hardware cloth? The feed-mill would sell me a 100 foot roll of 3'wide 1/4" square hardware-cloth for around $110 (or maybe it was $120, I forget), He didn't have any 1/2" square on hand though he said he could get it, I assume the price would be similar. I haven't priced it at the BORG yet.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I would not describe it as "safe". "Less risky", but in most cases not really "safe".

    There are several problems with leaving the popdoor open at night, in cases where it can be avoided. First, the better predators can see and smell your chickens, the more they will *try* to get in for a meal. Second, in summertime chickens not infrequently decide to spend the night outdoors in the run, and the better predators can see your chickens.... well, you know. And third and probably most importantly, the number of people who are *convinced* their runs are 100% predatorproof far exceeds the number of people with *genuinely* predatorproof runs. Go browse the "predators and pests" section of the forum for a while. You will see that a lot of the "something ate all my chickens last night" posts are from people who are just SURE their runs were safe enough to leave the popdoor open.

    So it depends on your priorities and philosophy.

    Just sayin',

    Pat
     
  8. gbeauvin

    gbeauvin Out Of The Brooder

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    In other words, hire the neighbor's kids to open and close the pop door when i'm gone [​IMG]

    -GB (who can be taught, albeit slowly)
     

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