Rookie coop design wire question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by neighborhoodchickens, May 29, 2007.

  1. neighborhoodchickens

    neighborhoodchickens In the Brooder

    May 29, 2007
    Hello, this is my first posting (to any forum ever!) and question since my 4 chicks arrived 3 weeks ago. Their new coop is 'under construction' at a fast pace as they are quickly outgrowing their in-house accomodations (though I will miss them when they move outside..).

    My question relates to protection against predators in the run. I've read through many posts but haven't seen this exact question and I'm getting more nervous about predators the more I read so I want to do this part much as is possible anyway.

    The coop and run are fully enclosed with 1/2" sq. wire and a metal roof and it will sit on grass. At the request of the local animal control officer I am burying wire 10-12" around the 4x8' run (he recommended 6"). The coop design I have recommends 2x4" welded wire for the floor but I'd like to skip this if my buried wire will be sufficient. It seems that the girls will enjoy scratching around a lot more without the wire floor but I don't want to put them at risk as I don't know what animals can dig below 10-12".

    I live in an urban setting but there are racoons, skunks, and a ground hog that visit my yard regularly.

    For all of you experienced folks do you think I can skip the wire floor or should I add it for extra protection?

    Thanks in advance for your help and thanks for this great forum! I've learned tons already..
  2. su-geek

    su-geek In the Brooder

    May 12, 2007
    With the buried wire you should be good (as far as I have read). My coop has two attached runs, one attaches to the house and the big chicken run (with .5" hardware cloth) and the other is the big chicken run with 1.5"^2 holes and .5" hardware cloth on the inside (8'x8'x4' total + top). They free-range when we are home but, otherwise we move them once or twice a week around the yard (or coop is mobile, should I add some spinning rims??) I also added an electric fence to the outside about 5" above the dirt, but my charger (ordered online) is a POS and was DOA. Even without out the electric fence the racoon, owl and hawk have not been a problem, the dog next door on the other hand required me to add fencing on the property line (too bad I like the dog's owner too! *it's still a puppy so it gets a bit of an excuse).

    After all of that stuff be sure to lock the hens up at dusk (mine go in after the sun goes below the rooflines).

    Good luck and have fun!

  3. barg

    barg Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    Something it took me a little while to figure out.
    People on this board have various numbers of chickens ranging from a few to alot; as a result they have a wide range of coop styles.
    So my questions are, will they free range? Will they be locked in a secure wooden structure at night?

    I am about to get my chickens outside this next week.
    My chickens will be locked inside a secure wooden chicken house at night. during the day they will have an attached run to live in.

    I have not burried any wire, I will not let my chickens free range. Those two things are impractcal where I live.

    Many people give their chickens access to the run at night, the house is not secure.
    As far as I have read, that is when you need to worry about wire underground.

    Virtually all wild preditory animals are nocturnal (In suburban settings) oppossum, skunks, racoons...
    So I belive that, if your Not going to let them free range or let them have access to the run at night, and have a secure house for them at night, your pretty well covered.

    Anyway I'm bableing on too much.
    The point is, it all depends on where how and in what you keep them.
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
  4. neighborhoodchickens

    neighborhoodchickens In the Brooder

    May 29, 2007
    Thanks for your both raise questions I hadn't considered. The actual coop is 2' off the ground and has a wooden door that can be closed at night. Since I was going to leave food and water outside in the run I was thinking they might like the door open as the warm weather has finally arrived in Massachusetts. The girls will not be allowed out of the run unless I am in the backyard and if they start to wander (my yard is not fully fenced in) I will build a mobile run.

    I suppose locking the coop at night will eliminate the animal problem but I'd like to give them run access as weather permits so I'm back to the floor wire question...
  5. urbanhomesteader

    urbanhomesteader Songster

    Feb 26, 2007
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Have you considered putting in the wire bottom and then topping it with dirt, so the girls can still scratch? I imagine if you wanted you could even lay sod in there and it would grow just fine through the wire.
  6. barg

    barg Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    Wire on the floor is considerd by many to be bad for chickens feet.
    I'm not sure sod is going to grow very well under a shaded coop with chickens scrathing and pooping on it all the time-- im counting on my chickens to kill the crabgrass I have.
    To cool the chicken house on hot nights, Ide add openable windows with wire on the inside.

    Gl [​IMG]
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    If you're burying wire a foot deep around the perimeter of your run, I don't think you need to also put wire on the run "floor." It sounds like you used 1/2" hardware cloth for your run walls and you have a solid roof. That sounds like a great run! We need to put up a new run. I want yours! [​IMG]

    As long as you don't have latches that are easy for a raccoon to open and your wire is attached firmly enough that a big raccoon can't pull it loose, it sounds like you are all set!
  8. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Sounds like you have all the great makeings of a being a good chickener! LOL I am a bit said...the coop is raised off the ground...but has a dirt floor? Im not sure I understand...but if that is so...and you have fencing all the way around the coop, burried of course, and stapled or nailed to the coop outside walls sounds secure. Now, if this is how you have will they stay warm?

    im confused I think.

    As for leaving food and water in the run...this WILL attract predators. Better to have the feed and water in the coop, or take it up every night. They will need water during the night tho. They cant call out.....MOM..I need a drink of water! LOL Like the kids do!I would love to see pics of your design.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I don't have any buried wire, but i found that just laying a "skirt" of wire around the bottom of the cage is good enough.
  10. neighborhoodchickens

    neighborhoodchickens In the Brooder

    May 29, 2007
    Thanks again for all the responses... I can better explain the coop setup by saying I took one look at the 'Playhouse Coop' seen on the design page (red 'raised' ranch with white trim and a green roof) and I knew that was the coop for me. I'm probably overcompensating for living 'downtown' with 100 yr old houses and modest backyards but I wanted something that was pleasing to look at since I'm the first in my neighborhood to raise chickens. And having spent much more than I would have on an addition to the house (it just seems that way) I'm in this for the long run!

    The enclosed 4x8' run has the coop inside at one end, elevated about 2'. It's fully secure with sliding door access and a ramp to the run. My naive vision was full access to the run that would be secure and safe in the warm months. In the winter I'd close the door and hang a light as needed.

    With all of your advice I'm thinking a good compromise might be a 10" wire skirt inside the run, leaving a considerable wire-free zone in the center where the girls can scratch and dig. There's grass there now but not for long which is fine with me. I guess I'll have to think about closing the door and screening in their window instead of using plexi-glass. I'll put water at least up in the coop and figure out what to do with the food as I go.

    I just hope I can stay in the house those first nights and not feel like I should be camping next to them!

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