Rodents vs skirting

Being new to having chickens, and working on the geodome run, I had wondered about burying HC under the surface of the ground across floor, or skirting. One person suggested skirting. There is one side along garden fence where I can't go out, but could go down. Would that be effective? Someone told me if you have chickens, rodents, as in rats will show up.
Would rats just tunnel under skirting? I plan to have the natural ground as the floor. Thanks for any advice. I'm currently digging to flatten, but not quite level the area and will be adding Hardware cloth in the next day or so.
Oh, and I could easily dig down around all sides and go L shaped
 

DobieLover

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I have a 20 to 24" wide, 1/2" hardware cloth predator apron around my entire setup. Mice did get into the setup through some gaps at the corners of the aprons and where the door meets the jamb. I've since closed those gaps down to under a 1/2” and I have not had another mouse get into the run or coop. I've never had rats.
 

MROO

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My place backs up to woods, so rodents (and larger predators) are a concern. For your fenced side, you will need to go down. I actually dug an 8 inch deep trench along the edge of my run (the coop is raised, so not-an-issue.) I filled the trench with dry, quick-mix concrete and stray rocks from the yard & garden - a nice clean-up bonus! I then added water right from the hose and mixed it all in place. I did opposite sides at the same time, to keep things braced. If you go deeper, which you may want to do on the fence side, I recommend shorter sections. They only have to sit for a day before you do the next piece, so it moves quickly.

As a follow up - it's been four years since I poured my barrier. I have had foxes, opossums and coons in the yard, as well as my daughter's crazy digger-dog. My largest hen - a Black Jersey Giant - is an awesome mouser (better than all four of my cats,) so - so far, so good!

As a bonus - I've since built up a few inches of soil over the concrete and have kale and marigolds growing around part of the run. The chickens love 'em, so I'm gonna add some more this fall, once all of the maintenance drudgery is done.
 
I have a 20 to 24" wide, 1/2" hardware cloth predator apron around my entire setup. Mice did get into the setup through some gaps at the corners of the aprons and where the door meets the jamb. I've since closed those gaps down to under a 1/2” and I have not had another mouse get into the run or coop. I've never had rats.
My place backs up to woods, so rodents (and larger predators) are a concern. For your fenced side, you will need to go down. I actually dug an 8 inch deep trench along the edge of my run (the coop is raised, so not-an-issue.) I filled the trench with dry, quick-mix concrete and stray rocks from the yard & garden - a nice clean-up bonus! I then added water right from the hose and mixed it all in place. I did opposite sides at the same time, to keep things braced. If you go deeper, which you may want to do on the fence side, I recommend shorter sections. They only have to sit for a day before you do the next piece, so it moves quickly.

As a follow up - it's been four years since I poured my barrier. I have had foxes, opossums and coons in the yard, as well as my daughter's crazy digger-dog. My largest hen - a Black Jersey Giant - is an awesome mouser (better than all four of my cats,) so - so far, so good!

As a bonus - I've since built up a few inches of soil over the concrete and have kale and marigolds growing around part of the run. The chickens love 'em, so I'm gonna add some more this fall, once all of the maintenance drudgery is done.
I have a 20 to 24" wide, 1/2" hardware cloth predator apron around my entire setup. Mice did get into the setup through some gaps at the corners of the aprons and where the door meets the jamb. I've since closed those gaps down to under a 1/2” and I have not had another mouse get into the run or coop. I've never had rats.
I don't know if you are anything like me, but sometimes I get caught in a rut overthinking things, sometimes solutions come right away, especially if you ask someone who has already "done that". Sometimes like right now, you realize something that ends the doubt. I was leaning toward apron, like most people said they use, and realized a few things. If I attached and ran H cloth under the entire floor buried several inches down, frost might be an issue, but the thought that nailed the decision for skirting, is I wouldn't be able to pound anything into the ground inside the geodome without damaging the hardware cloth under the floor, so skirting it is.
 

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MROO

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I don't know if you are anything like me, but sometimes I get caught in a rut overthinking things, sometimes solutions come right away, especially if you ask someone who has already "done that". Sometimes like right now, you realize something that ends the doubt. I was leaning toward apron, like most people said they use, and realized a few things. If I attached and ran H cloth under the entire floor buried several inches down, frost might be an issue, but the thought that nailed the decision for skirting, is I wouldn't be able to pound anything into the ground inside the geodome without damaging the hardware cloth under the floor, so skirting it is.
Skirting works! I dunno about the part along the fence, thouh. That would be hard to skirt. You might want to consider the concrete trench just for that side. Mine has served me well for years ... no skirting, just a solid wall of concrete all the way around the coop, underground where no one can see it, including DD's 60-pound Crazy Dog. She was a digger until she hit that underground wall. Thank Heavens!
 

Chuckie chicken

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For another angle...

I wanted to keep my wood off the ground, wanted a clean edge to mow /trim up to, and wanted to keep predators out. I bought inexpensive 24" x 30" cement patio stones, cut them into 10" wide pieces and put them under the walls. I also laid loose hardware cloth on the grass under the slabs as an added detterent to diggers. I fastened the walls to the slabs with tapcons to tie everything together. So far nothing has tried to dig in.
 

perkolator

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Skirting is sorta the standard. I have pretty much all the common predators around, so I did the skirt - but before I was finished, a mole was tunneling into the center of the run - so I decided to just do the floor too (old coop, rats would use the mole tunnels to get in/out, so this was a priority to address since their presence would likely promote more rattlesnakes in my area). Excavated about 6" down, put down HC, then put the dirt back, then arborist mulch - no issues with any chickens digging down to the HC except for the high-side, since my setup is on a slope and the mulch/dirt migrates toward the low end when the chickens dig.

No issues with any rodents in new setup, haven't even found any droppings. Only thing that's gotten into our coop is a great horned owl that flew into the man-door just before dusk last year (I no longer prop open that door for chickens).
 
Progress. Skirting on 2 sides. I trenched the side along the garden. I Had to pull out this big pc of concrete(again. Did it when originally skirting the garden fence) it's going back in again, too.
 

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Someone gave me this old handmade door. I cut top top 12 or so inches off and made a new top piece, then a casing for it to fit in. Set in in front of the opening to figure out what I'll do next to attach it, then it started raining again. We've had at least some rain almost every day for the last few weeks
 

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