1. veggielizard

    veggielizard Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2015
    Hi everyone! I am a proud new owner of some chicks! So excited to begin this process.
    We are currently building the coop and run, have the framing and part of the coop completed. I had a question on predator proofing the run floor. The hens will be in the coop with closed door at night, and let out in the daytime. Do I need to bury hardware cloth in the run to keep out predators? We have a border of cement blocks that will stop dogs/coyote etc. But I wasn't sure about rats? I have not noticed any in the area, just mice. It would be kind of hard to do at this stage since we have the framing and digging out 18" would surely sift everything. We are planning on keeping food and water out in the run, so not sure what it would attract. Has this been a problem for anyone?

    Thank you!
     
  2. Bradfordj

    Bradfordj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Some people on here will tell you to take every extreme measure possible. My coop and birds (150 of them) are completely loose 1/4 mile down the road from me. haven't lost one during the daytime yet. We do have a few rats in the area. Night time is when I'm most concerned, and since they are locked in the coop I don't see an issue. That being said it depends on your location and threat level predators pose in your area. Are blocks above ground or dug in? Are there dogs outside during the day or people home? (That really helps keep predators at bay). To me the answer to your question is circumstantial. Hope that helps!
     
  3. veggielizard

    veggielizard Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2015
    The blocks are above ground. But I am home most days, and we do have a dog. Thank you for the information!
     
  4. bdjh

    bdjh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Winnipeg
    +1 to Bradford

    Take precautions reasonable for your area.

    We keep water in the run, but leave the food inside just to keep it form getting rained on. Outside food would likely attract mice at night.....I pity the mouse that tries to get into our run with the girls outside.....that thing would be torn limb from limb within seconds. We don't have rats, so I have no clue about them. I agree that your biggest concern will be at night.....and as long as the girls are locked up tight, you should be fine.
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! I'm in the 'build it strong' camp. Nobody ever complains that they overbuilt their coop and run! Your situation will determine what critters are out there, and be prepared. Dogs, raccoons, possums, foxes, rats, mice, weasels at least. Hawks in the daytime, owls at night. Some folks also deal with coyotes, and bears! Night time safe coops are essential, and then a good run for days. I free range , and have had some losses from hawks. The birds then spend days in their run until the hawk leaves. Dogs and sometimes foxes will hunt in the daytime, and can take out your entire flock at once. Sorry, I got long-winded here. Safe at night will solve 90% of your predator issues, in my experience. Mary
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    There is no need to dig under to place a barrier. We just ran hardware cloth partway up the run and then folded it outward at the bottom, securing it with landscape fabric staples. The hardware cloth goes about 2 feet up the sides of the run (and the coop). At the bottom it runs out another almost 2 feet. The grass has grown through it so well that it isn't visible, but it's hard at work keeping little critters, as well as larger ones, out. Our ground is almost impossible to dig through, so this was the most viable option for us. It is "sewn" with wire to the fencing on the run. On the coop we used large washers with screws.
     
  7. bdjh

    bdjh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We did the same with chicken wire......seems to work well. No critter is going to think to start digging 3 feet away from the run....they're going to dig right beside the run wall, and if they hit wire, they SHOULD give up.
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    My dog sure gave up quickly! She got a little overexcited the first time the chickens were in the newly finished run and immediately tried digging under. She broke and bloodied a toenail! It's been a year since that happened, and she is now the most calm and reliable dog around chickens I've ever seen. She must have associated the incident with them, not her own actions. She doesn't even bother them when they are out free ranging!
     
  9. KirstenColorado

    KirstenColorado Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2015
    Love the varied advice/geographical areas here! I'm having a hard time deciding what to do....obviously a newbie here! Here's the scoop: the little house/nesting area will be locked up off the ground with cedar wood walls at night. The lower section comes from a small ramp/ladder to a fenced in and covered Our ground is pretty much clay and rock, yet we're having a huge vole, raccoon, fox and snake (bull and gardner) issue in the area (Colorado, just in between pine forest hills and prairie land). We do have lots of wild bunnies and deer, so critters can survive. The local feed/tack shop I got them from said I should use a special kind of chicken wire, dig down into the clay, reinforce up the sides of the small covered run and then pack over with the fill dirt/clay. Pretty extreme, huh? But geez, I love my Pip, Squeak and Squawk! Thoughts?
     
  10. Bradfordj

    Bradfordj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saskatchewan, Canada
    If your birds are anything like mine I wouldn't worry about a little snake lol. I would bury hardware cloth or chicken wire. Doesn't need to be terribly deep at all. You can either line the whole bottom or trench the perimeter of your run. Basically when a critter digs it's claws will get caught up on the wire and deter them. Personally I would trench the perimeter. Then watch for signs of digging look to see if it's detering the critters and worst case if it's not you can re evaluate at that time. I say this because I think trenching 2 feet on the perimeter is way easier then excavating the whole run and returning all the material. We have snakes fox Cayote rats mice the whole nine yards I have nothing buried and see no signs of digging. That being said though, never ever in a million years underestimate the ingenuity of a racoon. Lol hope that helps your decision making! Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.

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