predator proof coop??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kimf, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. kimf

    kimf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Getting ready to start building our coop and run. Reading all of the horror stories with raccoons, opossums, hawks and owls. We have all of them in our suburban yard! I know the hawks and owls can only be dealt with by a covered run and limited, if any, free range time. [​IMG] We have decided to bury the wire for the run so the raccoons and opossum can't dig under. How deep do we need to go? Is 3-6 inches good? I can't imagine trying to dig out an 8x16 area any deeper. Now that I think about it...digging out 8x16 is pretty yucky too!!! [​IMG]
     
  2. Barred Babies

    Barred Babies Red Roof Farms

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    Are you talking about digging 3-6 inches of the the entire run???? [​IMG] [​IMG] There's no need for that. Just dig a foot or so hardware cloth all around the run. [​IMG]
     
  3. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I buried my bottom fencing 6", using a plastic coated wire for corrosion control based on experience. I used a pickaxe to dig the trench. (Yes, I have a vintage pickaxe which I replaced the handle)

    As soon as you invent a predator proof coop/run, they invent a better predator.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Consider type of wire used. Mesh size important if weasel about. I used to have "pet" racoons and oppossoms while keeping chickens. Neither predator digs but both are very good at reaching through wire to grab birds. Make certain roosting / nesting birds are not close to wire after dark. Racoons are very good at prying open door doors so make certain upper and lower corners are good and stiff. Hawks can be defeated with chicken wire covering run but racoons can not. Heavier wiring need to stop racoons. Owls easy to beat so long as birds go inside coop at night. Owls usually like to enter buildings through elevated hole but covering all access at night will be further insurance.

    Foxes and coyotes dig. Both also very good jumpers once they figure out it can be used to get into open air runs.


    Consider standard size rooster for a measure of hawk protection. Hawk will be inclined to target young birds and hens leaving rooster to jump hawk from behind. Dog can be a major help if you have one.


    Think layers of protection, not just one that is impermiable.
     
  5. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Many people argue that just laying wire on bare ground around the perimeter, rather than burying it, is more effective. Burying it loosens the soil for any critter that would attempt to dig. Some people put wire down, then big rocks on top of the ground. Kind of a rock border for the whole chicken yard. Good look, and secure, but a weed haven. I would think placing the wire a foot or 18 inches out would be sufficient.
     
  6. kimf

    kimf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So if we don't have coyote or fox, do we need to worry about digging the fence in?

    Plan to cover the run, so not so worried about that. But out Owls are quite active at dusk. We see them swoop though the yard almost every night. Definately limit the free range time!!

    I am sure we have rats/mice around, but have never seen any. Big worry is raccoon, opossum, hawk and owl.
     
  7. pooh731

    pooh731 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    predators are like idiots, no matter how hard you try there's always one that's better. I say prepare as best as you can and be vigilant.
     
  8. suburbanchickymama

    suburbanchickymama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey! I've got lots of the same predators so after tons of reading and advice on here I decided on doing the entire run in the 1/2" hardware cloth - including the cover. Instead of burying it I did about a 12" apron extending out from the run and then covered that with gravel. I lock up the girls at night in the coop and all vents and things to the coop are secured with hardware cloth, too. I was most worried about the entrance to the run being secure so the door butts up to a wood surround so there is no gap. The hardware cloth is expensive but really shop around and hopefully you can find it somewhere for less. Here I found it at a place called AgriSupply for half the price at Lowe's or Home Depot and still much less than TSC. I'm pretty new at this still, but nothing has messed with them yet! And I watch a raccoon family out my kitchen window and have hawks and owls perch on top of the run. Before we finished the run/coop a neighbor saw a fox inside the coop! I've been tempted to not lock them up at night but I never give in and drag my butt out there and lock them up. Better safe than sorry! Good luck!!!!!! You'll love them!
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I see owls at day as well. They have yet to pose risk to my birds until after dark. Only great horned owls have been a problem for me. I also have barred, longeared, screech, saw-whet, and rarely barn owls.

    You have coyotes, red foxes and possibly grey foxes. You will eventully see them when chickens come.
     
  10. kimf

    kimf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are leaning toward sand in the run.....could we do the hardwire cloth on the ground thing and cover it with sand? I figure the sand will spill out some anyway....[​IMG]
     

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