outside run construction


In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 10, 2011
So my dh has been busy as a bee getting everything ready for my 6 week old chicks big move this saturday. I have been researching everything, and I told him to get hardware cloth for the outside run, instead he bought 2x3 galvanized garden fencing!!!! Then he said he was going to put chicken wire on the inside. I told him I didn't think it was enough and he said "nothing is going to get through there..." Is this going to be enough? I am scared that I will be coming home to missing birds

Here it is so far:

He put the fencing on the ground and bent it up around the wood and stapled that in place. Then he will cover the entire thing with fencing and put the chickenwire on the inside all around the sides.
You will soon here from many BYC folks chicken wire keeps chickens in but doesn't keep predators out. Can you put down an apron of fencing laid flat on the ground, out about 2 feet? that will stop the digging, but 2 by 4 is large enough that some critter or another can reach through. I have welded wire on my coop, half inch by one inch and I feel pretty secure.
My issue would not be so much with the chickenwire (being used here just as reach-thru protection) but with the 2x3 garden-grade fencing. IME that stuff is worthless for keeping predators out. I have used it for a number of (non chicken!) projects around here, such as garden fencing and my cat run, and I occasionally break welds apart on it just by accident. And I am by no means a particularly strong person. I've also had a bit of "casual" raccoon damage on the yard-and-garden-grade 2x2 mesh used for my cat run -- the coons didn't have any particular reason to want to get in (happened at night, when cat flap is locked and cats are indoors) they were just 'fooling around'. I suppose it is possible there are heavier-gauge better-welded versions out there but I've sure never ever seen them.

If it were me I would replace the 2x3 mesh with something else -- if you want something to use alone, either hardwarecloth or good quality 1x1" welded wire mesh (although there is a bit more reach-thru danger with the 1x1 if nothing is added to it), or LIVESTOCK QUALITY 2x4 mesh with something smaller mesh added to it vs reach-through and with the chickens locked into the coop every evening BY dusk without fail.

As far as chickenwire for reach-thru-proofing, I don't personally think it's THAT terrible, although certainly hardwarecloth is better. The thing is all you're really trying to do is slow events down so chickens can NOTICE a coon is there and get away. (And also keep chickens from poking their heads out thru the larger mesh to nibble grass etc). Although raccoons can certainly rip chickenwire apart, it will take them a bit of time and commotion to do so, and if they do that with your reachthru-proofing then all they've gained is a 2x4 hole to reach thru, they can't actually get IN. So I think it is not an unreasonable option if budget is limiting.

As mentioned though I think the 2x3 wire probably IS a real problem, as raccoons and dogs and most other critters can just take it apart and get totally into the run.

Also definitely do a digproofing apron as previous poster mentions.

JMHO, good luck, have fun,

I used 1/2x1/2 18 gauge welded wire on the first two feet of my run and 1x1 welded wire the rest of the way up including the roof. As an apron from predators and only because I grow them here, I used a rock border about two feet wide all around. I also used screws and washers with the occasional staple here and there to save on screws. Coons will rip staples out with no problem unless supported with screws. You can see my coop here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=467206&p=7
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Very nice run. You have a great set up for your birds.

The 2X3 wire will stop the critters from coming thru the fence and the chicken wire will keep the fuzzybutts in, Relax. You do need to skirt the run (attach wire to the run base and lay it flat as a digger will try a hole right at the base of the fence) and probably deer net the top against birds. With this set up and locking your birds in at night, you should be just fine.

Checking the netting occationally for signs of a coon coming in at night but a secure coop will stop them from getting to the chicks. Make sure there are no gaps for a critter to get in the coop, like what appears to be over the door, and hardware cloth the vents (which you have a lot of, don't you
) and windows opening (bug screen only stops bugs) Make sure you have good door latchs because coons have many simple door latchs. Try stepping into the coop, close the door and see where the light comes in other than wired openings, ie. eaves, floor panels, etc and see if a predator can get in or if it's a weak spot. (then see if your locked in

If you don't want to open and close your coop daily, you can get a fancy pop door with a timer or simply wire the top with heavy wire, then the chickens can come and go as they wish
and you can sleep in. Be sure all wire is securely fastened (screws with fender washers work well) don't count on staple gun staples to hold up against a determined critter. If you can grab the wire and pull it loose, so can a predator.

Now relax and enjoy your birds, we all occationally lose a bird but life happens. Stressing over them affects you and the birds
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