1. charliel231

    charliel231 New Egg

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    Mar 23, 2012
    Hi, I haven't had chickens since I was a kid and am getting back into it this year for my children (who are still very young). I built a nice coop to house 6 hens but have questions about the run I'll be building. I have many predators in my area (coyote, fox, fishercat, hawks). My plan is to fully enclose the run which will probably be 10'x5' and 5' high. Here's my question. Should I fully inclose the run ground/floor with wire, or just sink the wire a foot or two down around the edges? I'd like to leave the ground open for them to dust but I'm not sure if a foot or two of wire around the edges would keep digging predators out. Here's a photo of the set up with a run to be built off the back of the coop. I appreciate your thoughts and suggested designs?[​IMG]
     
  2. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are many solutions. I use 12x12 concrete pavers around the perimeter. It also provides a nice walking surface.

    Some use rocks. Just make sure they are heavy enough not to be rolled away.
     
  3. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've used 2"x4" welded wire fencing as a skirt around the outside of my mobile runs that extend out 14". I also live in a predator heavy area. When a fox or other larger predator digs it is at the point of where the run fence meets the ground. If you stop them from digging at that point there are very few that can figure out to move away from the fence to dig. Sinking wire into the ground is not much of a barrier for a large predator that can dig down a foot in a matter of minutes. Where are you at that has fishercats?
     
  4. xtetra

    xtetra Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2012
    I live about an hour south of Syracuse. Our vet told me last I was there that the Fishers and Martins are moving down from the Adirondacks.

    Back to run designs....I was planning on some sort of fence bellow the run like Charlie231 said. Obviously if I do then I'll need to put some stone/gravel/sand on top...but if I don't and I do what ECBW or Jaxon did then what should I put on the floor of the run? Drainage is OK there but I was thinking a little extra gravel or something? I live right by a creek so I could get plenty of pebbles and/or sand. Was kind of worried perhaps there may be something in creek sand that the'r lil' feet may not like though.

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated... [​IMG]
     
  5. xtetra

    xtetra Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2012
    Ooops...Syracuse NY for those who may never heard of it...
     
  6. charliel231

    charliel231 New Egg

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    Mar 23, 2012
    Hi Jaxon, Thanks for the recommendation. I'm going to ask around to find out what others are doing in my area but I'm leaning toward the design you suggested. We live in southern Maine. Last year I saw my first fishercat when canoeing with with my wife and dog along a river back. The cat just stared at us like he/she was sizing up my dog before running off. My neighbor also caught a fisher on a game camera. So as you could imagine, I want to fortify my hens. Thanks again.

    Charlie
     
  7. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had martens where I grew up. My folks had hardware cloth tied to rebar that extended out and around all exterior doors a couple of inches. They also had cloth around all windows. If the coops were outside of the runs, they also had cloth stapled around the bottom 12" of the coop with 2"x2" fencing attached to the cloth extending out about a foot along the ground. The skirts were pinned to the ground with wire staples and after the vegetation grew up you never knew the fencing was there.
    Permanent runs are always problematic. They quickly become devoid of vegetation and after chicken poop builds up the become smelly. They require a lot of maintenance to keep up. Sand is not a bad option, but if the soil is clay it can turn it into something like concrete when it gets wet and mixes with the clay. Any chance you could figure out a movable run that would give the ground a chance to recover before putting the chickens back on it? Chickens love to dig and it is something I enjoy watching. If it weren't for a movable system I doubt I would own chicken.

     
  8. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i don't have a suggestion, but wondering what a fishercat is
     
  9. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A fisher cat is a member of the weasel family. Very handsome, not many in the U.S.

     
  10. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    I agree that burying wire at least 18" under ground would be an effective solution. If you can afford hardware cloth use it. I ran extra wire along my fenceline about 2 feet up the side and 18" down into the ground.

    Remember that gates are a potential source of predator intrusion. I dug a trench and poured concrete under my gate to keep any predator from digging under it.
     

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