protecting from digging & climbing predators

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hfchristy, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm hoping to add some freely accessible outdoor space outside our duck house. (I think species isn't relevant for this issue, so posting under "coops" instead of "ducks"...)
    We currently keep the ducks in a secure duck house at night and herd them to a tractor for the daytime. This works pretty well, but there are times when I know we'll be out past twilight and need to either lock them up mid-afternoon, or lock them OUT until well past dark. I was thinking that I might be able to fix up an old dog crate to give them a few square feet of daylight & fresh air and a place to put their food/water on these occasions. This would also make it a lot easier to ask friend's to take care of them, since they'll be able to come over when it is convenient instead of first thing in the morning and smack in the middle of dinner.

    I'm thinking to put small grid hardware cloth around the sides of the crate, but am unsure about the roof and bottom of the crate.
    Is the hardware cloth necessary in these areas, or could I get by with chicken wire, or just the cage itself?
    The birds would really love access to the dirt, so a small grid wire on the bottom would be a shame.

    The walls/ceiling of the crate itself have openings about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. I know that's plenty big for a raccoon's hand, but I'm not sure whether that's a problem in the portion above the ducks' heads.
    The floor has much bigger openings. I think about 4 inches square. Will the digging predators break through that? What about that sitting on top of a layer of chicken wire?
    One other possibility would be flipping the cage upside down, so that the floor would have the 1x4 inch openings, and just put serious hardware cloth across the big "roof".

    Thanks!
     
  2. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    If you flipped the cage over so the 1/4" openings were the roof, then you could bury the wire in an "L"shaper 18" down, then 6-12" out.This should deter any digging.
    Good luck!
     
  3. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It doesn't have any side with 1/4" openings. They're 1"x4" on all sides except the one intended to be the floor, which is 4"x4" since when you use it for a dog, there's a pan that slides in there.

    The whole crate is only about 2 feet by 3.5 ft, so it doesn't seem worth the effort of all that digging to only gain such a tiny bit of space. If that's really necessary, then I think I'd just scrap the whole idea.

    Which predators are likely to try to dig their way in?
     
  4. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    Yeah, the ducks probably wouldn't mind simply going into the coop early. Foxes, weasels, and dogs are a few predators that dig.
     
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Grifton NC
    Quote: Or, you could just lay the same wire flat on the surface, and accomplish the same thing without moving a ton of dirt

    But as stated above, a dog crate isn't adding enough space to make anything worth the effort
     
  6. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It would mainly be so that they can still have access to food/water without making a mess of their bedding.
     

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