Predator/Slaughter-proofing, hardware cloth vs welded/woven wire

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Intheswamp, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, if you're not going to predator proof your coop, for instance your chickens will have free-choice free range, I can see where it doesn't really matter whether hardware cloth, welded or woven wire, or even chicken wire is used to fence a run or to cover coop windows with being as the pop door (if there is one) will probably be permanently open. As an "understood", chicken wire is considered (rightly so) as nothing more than something to contain chickens, not repel predators...it is at the bottom of the food-chain in regards to fencing.

    BUT...

    I see some really nice backyard coops that are built so very well and the owners must be proud of them. They were built with predator-proofing in mind. These usually incorporate an attached run. With all the detail used in construction I see hardware cloth (and even chicken wire) used as the perimeter defense/fence. 1/2" hardware cloth is really nice (and expensive) and definitely has it's use in coops and runs. But, it is a known fact that dogs and some raccoons can tear through hardware cloth fairly easily. Welded wire is cheap and is much more durable and predator resistant than hardware cloth.

    It seems to me the better design would be to cover the coop/run with 2x4 welded wire (woven wire would be even better). To that a layer of two feet tall 1/2" hardware cloth along the bottom to prevent coons from reaching through and grabbing a chicken would finish it nicely. (I would install the hc cloth first and then the 2x4 wire). Over the windows I'd do the same thing....1/2" hc and 2x4 welded wire. If you've already covered the coop/run in hc then just running a 3-4 foot tall piece of the heavier fencing around the bottom of the perimeter would enhance protection tremendously by providing a stronger fence against dogs chewing through.

    I see people refer to their coops as "Fort Chicken Knox" or whatever and they are covered with hc or chicken wire. Don't be *too* comfortable with that, it's not impenetrable by any means. Welded wire, too, can be penetrated...but it'll take a LOT more effort from the attacker.

    Another dimension to protection is using an electric fence which really kicks up pretection. Oh, and don't forget an apron...

    This is just something that has been bugging me and thought I'd pen it down. No matter how fancy, how utilitarian, what features and bells and whistles your coop has....if the fence isn't predator strong then all is for naught...one day you may very well walk out into a slaughter-yard. Sometimes, though, even welded/woven wire isn't enough so we just have to do the best we can.

    Now, if you free-choice free range then you know your environment and the risks involved. It seems it would still be a nice to have a secure area to lock down the birds should a marauder come into the area. :)

    Best wishes,
    Ed

    A couple of links...
    Dog Vs. Hardware cloth...
    Reconsider Effectiveness of Hardware Cloth
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Some excellent points, Ed. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. Thanks for sharing. :)
     
  3. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used hardware cloth on my coop. Then for the run I used stucco construction wire. It looks just like chicken wire but it is twice as strong, it's cheaper also.
     
  4. TerryH

    TerryH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree with your assessment Ed. We double layered our entire run. 1/2" HWC on the bottom with chicken wire on the top of the walls with 2x4 welded wire over that. I did the doors with 1/2" HWC and 2x4 over that as well. Little overkill for us but I wanted to keep the wild birds out of the run. So far so good.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    redsocks, it was just something that has been bugging me for a while. Figured I'd voice it. [​IMG]

    LF, what type of predators do you have around you? I know that the stucco netting is pretty stout stuff, but I'm not sure whether it's stronger than hardware cloth...seems it's maybe 20-gauge??

    Terry, you did your coup and run up right. I followed your build and you planned and constructed it with lots of thought and workmanship. Very nicely done!! I agree with you about preventing wild birds from entering. I'm still debating that for my run but will probably go the same route you did and use chicken wire for the upper area. My run will be uncovered so the perimeter fence will also include 2-3 strands of hot wire...just to keep the critters honest. I'm still trying to decide what to do about the open top run in regards to avian predators...may go with avian netting, chicken wire, or ????. We'll see. :)

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
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  6. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Btw, that's an excellent example of dual-layer protection.
     
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  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I too have buit very well; hardware cloth, woven wire, solid as we could make it. Mary[​IMG]

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  8. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice, Mary, really nice. I bet you sleep good at night with a solid coop such as that!!! :)

    Ed
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Free ranging is another story sometimes; after MANY months of no losses; two Belgian d'Uccle youngsters three weeks ago, an EE bantam and a Chantecler hen yesterday, and tonight a missing Jersey Giant pullet. Not so good here right now, but some hope that the JG pullet will turn up in the morning. Maybe. I think the flock will be in tomorrow while I regroup. This is not how to reduce numbers before winter!!! Mary
     
  10. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry about the losses, Mary. Sounds like you have something hiding in the shadows...daytime predation...canine maybe? The good thing is that you have a very secure area to keep the birds in until hopefully you take care of the predator situation.

    If the chickens don't go to the predator I feel the predator will come to the chickens. Traps? Cameras (for ID info)? Shotgun/rifle at ready?

    Hope you work this out quickly.
    Best wishes,
    Ed
     

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