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Run construction - Is wood fencing secure enough?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by trailrider330, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Up until now, our chickens have always free-ranged; however, I have decided that I am in need of a few runs to keep some breeds separate during breeding season. They would be locked in the coop at night and we are not planning on using automatic coop doors.

    My first thought was to purchase some kennel panels, cover the lower 2-3 feet with hardware cloth, bury an additional 1-2' of hardware cloth under ground to deter diggers, and cover the top to keep out birds of prey. I figure the whole set up could run me about $1500, unless I get lucky and find what I need on CL, but I have been searching for almost 6 months with no luck.

    However, I recently came across some new, 6' high x 8' long, wood stockade fencing, similar to what is pictured below, for an awesome deal. I would still bury hardware cloth around the base to keep out predators, and then cover the top to keep out birds of prey. This set up would save me a significant amount of money (almost $1000.00).

    [​IMG]

    Based on what I have seen on BYC, some people strongly caution against using this because "predators can chew through the side". If that is the case, then shouldn't we all have to worry about predators chewing through our coop walls as well?

    What are your thoughts? Pros? Cons?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    The biggest con to me is the lack of visibility, both for the birds and for me. Sunlight wouldn't get in unless the sun was directly overhead. I like to be able to glance out and see my birds, just for pleasure and to see that everything is fine - you would not be able to do that.
     
  3. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My neighbors recently bought a 10x10 dog run for their ducks, from TS for $299. It came with a free cover. They ran chicken wire around the lower 24 inches to prevent reach-ins (they learned the hard way to do that), and 2x4 welded wire over the top as a ceiling, below the free cover "roof". Since your chickens will be secured inside at night, that sounds like something that would work for you. Dogs and hawks are really the main predators most folks have to contend with during the day time hours. A skirt is easier to do than all that digging.
     
  5. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. My problem is I need 4-5 separate runs. At $300 a piece, that would cost $1200-1500 just for the pens, not including any hardware cloth. At the price I can get the wood fencing for, I can make all the runs I need for under $200. I would still need to buy about $100 of hardware cloth plus netting for the top, but it is a HUGE savings. I am just trying to make sure my chickens will be safe if I go with this option. Either way, at least I hope this option would be safer than free-ranging, right?
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well, we free range here...lol. Knock on wood, but I've never lost a bird to a predator. Our birds are secured inside their housings (3 different coops) each evening. I do have runs, and my runs are pretty secure, but they're rarely kept in their runs past 8 a.m. I know we all worry about predators, but even my vet has said that free ranging is the healthiest way to keep chickens. Of course if you're having a predator run, then it's not too healthy for the ones you're losing...lol!

    All of our runs were constructed from 2x4s, with 2x4 welded wire as the main "fencing" and hardware cloth around the bottom 24 inches.

    Sunlight is important to good health for many reasons, so an all wood run just doesn't appeal to me. I'd rather build the runs myself to save money...do a search on hoop coops (using cattle panels) if you're trying to be really budget conscious... Or if using 2x4s, then go with tent shape...two 8x8 panels to create the "tent" walls...
     
  7. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're lucky! Unfortunately, we lost half of our hens to predators just this past year while they were free-ranging in broad daylight. One to a hawk and the rest to a fox who didn't stop killing until my neighbor came out of his house with a gun after hearing all the ruckus. We've also been hearing a TON of coyote in our area and have seen a couple in broad daylight. They didn't take a single rooster though, so then I had too many roosters for the poor remaining hens, so some of them had to go too. Planning on rebuilding my flock soon. I still free-range, I just need a way to keep some birds/breeds separate during breeding season.

    The pens need to be built off the barn I house them in. The barn is separated into 6 pens. I don't think a hoop coop is my style, though I have considered building one or two for meat birds and as a bachelor pad.

    So is the bottom of your run double-layered (hardware cloth and welded wire) or does the hardware cloth go up 24" and then the welded wire goes up from there? How big of a hardware cloth skirt do you have on your run? Do you have any pictures you could share?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Pens built off your barn will cut down on cost if you build them yourself, since you only need three walls and a ceiling...two walls on one or two if they're in a row. We built our original run on the back of one of our garages/outbuildings. Here's the view from the backside of the run...how we "mounted" it to the wall of the building.

    [​IMG] if

    I don't know how many birds you'll be placing in each run, but lets just say you did 8x8 areas (standard 2x4s). That would be very simple...especially doing several in a row. Our biggest run is 16 x 36, and is totally covered with 2x4 welded wire. This pic is from when we first built it. You can see how easily we could divide it into several 8x16 pens.

    Because of the 16 ft. depth, we actually sunk landscape timbers (cheap posts) at 8 ft. intervals. Then I built 8 ft panels (6 ft. height) that we just screwed into place. But if the runs were just 8x8...or even 8x10 if you used 10 footers, then just 2x4 frames screwed together would work great. Frame a door into each back panel...

    We used welded wire everywhere, including "ceiling", and then just overlapped 24" of HW cloth along the bottom perimeter of the walls. I just tacked on a skirt of welded wire...didn't bury. It's worked for us. We have lots of red tail hawks here...those and stray dogs are our biggest daytime predator. But our yard/property is fenced, and we have our own dogs, so that keeps 4 legged predators away. We do have lots of coyotes, but they never come in close. Raccoons are prevalent too, but other than babies, I've never seen adults out in the daytime.

    Anyhow, hope this helps. We've got three coops, and did each run a little different.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    This is our serama coop, and we did the run very similarly to the big run I posted already. This run is only 8 ft. deep, so much easier to build (if not roofed at least...lol).


    [​IMG]

    And lastly, here's our smallest run. The run was built independently of the housing, with the one end not wired, and then just set next to the housing and screwed in place. This is the only run I used all HW cloth on, and that's because it's small, only 4x6 (wired the space below the housing for more space). Individual units set side-by-side would be doable for your situation too...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  10. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the pictures teach1rusl. Those do look nice. Perhaps it is time for me to go back to the drawing board and figure out what something like this would cost.
     

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