protecting from predators..need some help


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 16, 2011
Hi everyone. I'm pretty new to this forum, but everyone has been so helpful and I want to thank you all. I'm building my first coop and was wondering what I should do. Should I dig a trench around the walls of my outdoor pen and bury treated lumber or place chicken wire just under the fence 1/2 on the inside 1/2 on the outside or should I do both? Also around where my soffet is I have about a 3 - 4 inch opening where the roof meets the walls. Should I put chicken wire around that area or is it ok. My father in law said it should be fine since I am using vinyl siding on the outside and the predators would have a pretty hard time getting in. I'm just worried that he might be wrong.
I was also planning on using linoleum on the floor, but read it could harbor mites and lice. Anyone use linoleum and have that problem? Any opinions on these things?
Sound like you're really getting into this. One thing I did when planning my latest coop was to simply Goggle chicken coop pictures and stole the ideas I liked best for my situation. (I start chicks in the spring, enjoy the fresh eggs in the summer, and butcher in the late fall due to our severe winters)
I would suggest you raise the whole coop off the ground, maybe make it a sheltered part of the run. I used this line of thinking for my coop and our cabin, if it's on the ground something will hide under it (skunk,mice,bugs,moisture), if it's raised and a chicken or dog can walk under it, critters are less likely to set up housekeeping.
The trench I don't understand. We either bury some of the wire to prevent digging under or let it come down to the ground and leave 12" to 18" on the ground around the outside to keep dogs, fox, etc from digging under. Also, depending on your run size, keep it narrow enough and tall enough to throw deer netting or fruit tree netting over it to keep out areial predators.
Soffets are up to you but be sure you have a lot of airflow as coops get hot and chicken poo fumes can get pretty intense for you and your birds. The vinyl flooring is popular and should not be a bug issue if you glue it down and set your walls on top of it. It also is easy to clean (see the thread about using sand on the floor)
Outside access egg boxes are real handy and you don't risk startling your birds and one getting hurt if it's dark when you collect
If you insulate the floor, remember to cover it on the underside as squirrels like to steal it and the chickens will peck at it, especially foam board, if the have access under the building. Also pitching the floor to the door helps when you do a major hose down cleaning
It's fun building your own coop as you can add your own personality and flair to it. Please post a photo as we would love to see it (maybe we'll steal one of you ideas for next time)
Oh also if you build out of chipboard, don't freak out if it's full of flies when it's finished. For some reason the fresh cut wood & glue attracts them but they stop after a few days. Hate to have you freak out like my friend did, he found 3" of dead flys inside a week after he finished it and left it closed up. Just shop vac'd it out and never had the problem again
Chicken wire isn't of much use as protection from's just not strong enough. Use welded wire instead. You can fashion an apron of wire attached to the baseboard of your run, laid flat on the ground, and extending outward 2 feet or so. Stake it down with landscaping staples or anchor it with some rocks, patio blocks, etc. When a predator tries to dig into the run, the usually start digging right at the base of the fence, hit the wire, and don't realize they need to back up beyond the edge of the wire to begin digging.

You should cover any gaps in the coop with hardware cloth. Better be safe than sorry.

I just painted the plywood floor in our coop and let that be that. Simple.
I cover all coop openings with 1/2" hardware cloth. Raccoons and possums can drop from trees onto coops. They also climb run fencing. Could one climb the run fencing to get onto the coop? They get into people's attic spaces, so they're pretty good at doing those types of maneuvers. If you just cover the openings, you don't need to worry.

To prevent digging in, you can also have wire attached to the bottom of your run walls that lays on top of the ground. Are you planning to use something stronger than chicken wire for the run walls? Chicken wire isn't very good at keeping out things like dogs and raccoons.

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