Rocky Ground

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ridgefire, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. ridgefire

    ridgefire Songster

    Jan 8, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    I'm in the planning process for building my chicken run this spring. I have a 24x24 pole barn with a 8x24 lean to type add on. I am planning on building a wall in the lean to part to make their coop. The plan is to get 15 chickens. We just want the eggs and the enjoyment of watching them, and 15 is the minimum order I have found.

    OK here is the problem. We live in the country with about 80 acres of woods behind us, so yes we have predators. I am trying to figure out how to secure the run to keep them out. My ground is all shale, there is about 2 inches of dirt before hitting rock. It takes a jack hammer to set posts. How do I keep predators from getting under the fence? We have coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, red hawks, and even bald eagles in the area. There are black bear in the area, but unfortunately I don't think there is much I can do to keep a bear out if they really wanted in. I realize with eagles in the area the chickens will never be allowed to free roam the yard, which is too bad cause I have a huge garden for them and over an acre of yard.

    I am planning on making a door to the coop to be able to secure them at night, but what do I do to keep them safe during the day, I'm afraid that predators will be able to just squeeze under the fence.
  2. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Songster

    Jan 1, 2008
    I live on a wooded area, get a dog.
    Seriously, as soon as I got a dog all the wild life left the area. And I am on a wildlife preerve with many predators.

    I don't know if you have a fenced in area or not but I do and my dog plays outside, not a big dog, and my neighbor says that the dog smell keeps the other animals away.

    It does help that I am home most of the time. I have hawks etc. also so I cover my run but they still just sit in the trees watching.

    Maybe you can secure all around the bottom of the run with pipe like you get when you erect a chain link fence, that might help. Other than that you have a little problem.

    All you can do is all you can do. [​IMG]
  3. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Songster

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    I had my hubby scrape the top layer of dirt off and we built our frame down in the ground then I attached hardware cloth to it and had it come out about a foot. We then dumped the dirt back on top and inside the pens.
    Now my main run is made out of fencing that separated our horse pastures. I did the metal poles that you get to put up chain link fencing and ran that around the bottom. So far it's worked nothing has dug in the pen in the years I've had my birds.
  4. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    Quote:Good advice about the dog, we have a Christmas tree field directly behind the house and when we first moved in there were coons and possum in our yard. After a few days of the dogs marking the perimeter I haven't seen a single one of them. (knocking on wood) I've heard that human urine works too but dog is better...
  5. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Crowing

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    We too have a lot of predators, but since we have started using a radio whenever they are outside seems to have helped. We haven't lost any chickens to the foxes or coyotes in the last year.
  6. you may want to rim the out side of the entire run with rocks. Finding them should be easy if you are already in a rockie area. We live in the woods, with preditors and it is like living in a stone quary. Anything you plant has to be in raised beds because you can not dig. I tried planting a rose bush directly in our ground once. 1gal pot, 2 hours and a pick ax, I kid you not. :eek:

    I ringed our entire kennel section of run, it has the pipe frame so on uneven ground you get gaps. Inside and out with med to large stones. With alittle landsacping and arranging it doesn't look half bad and seems to keep the coons and foxes out so far.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I second the vote for rocks. A bunch of large rocks piled against the bottom of the fence, especially if they are atop a foot or two of heavy-gauge 2x4 mesh skirt laid on the ground out from the fence, will stop any but the strongest and most determined predator. (Or weasels, but that's a different issue).

    Your bigger problem is likely to be getting the run fence secured sufficiently against WIND. If you *can* jackhammer postholes in that would be great (at least for corner posts!), but if not, the kind of buck fence that will hold in stock is not going to do you so much good for a chicken run I don't think. You might end up having to go to something like rigid panels (either chainlink kennel panels, or something similar knocked together yourself out of wire mesh and p/t 2x4s) that is attached to trees, buildings etc where available, and weighted down REAL GOOD by lotsa rocks piled on a bottom 'foot' at intervals elsewhere.

    Good luck,

  8. Jamulian

    Jamulian Hatching

    Dec 15, 2007
    If you use chain link the posts only have to be 12" deep. I used 1" stucco netting and turned it out 2'. It is pretty inexpensive compared to hardware cloth and easy to work with. You can get it at the home depot for about 60.00 The roll is 150'x3'. Throw some gravel, dirt ,rocks over it to hold it down. If your ground is that hard I don't think it would be easy for anything to burrow under.

    I am about to add an extension to my run area and thats how I am going to do it.

    Good Luck

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