run size and fence height

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bantamkelley, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. bantamkelley

    bantamkelley Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2011
    I have plans for a run that is 16x16x16x9 (lenghts and widths). One 16 foot side is a 6 ft high wood fence, Another 16ft side is a 4ft chainlink fence, Another 16ft side is fencing that I'll have to put up and the last 9ft side is the 6ft high coop. I was going to use square fencing ( 2 rolls high ) followed by a bottom layer of chicken wire. Do I need to add fencing on the 4ft side? If youre confused feel free to ask
     
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Four feet tall fence won't do a whole lot to keep the chickens in. Predators will be able to handily reach through the mesh in chain link and help themselves to chicken dinner.

    Are you planning to put a skirt around this fence to prevent digging into the run?

    Chris
     
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also forget the chicken wire and go with hardware cloth around the bottom.
    sharon
     
  4. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed chfite. 4 foot won't get it. That's not ever a good jumping height for a dog.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    What I think you have is a coop that is 9 feet wide and makes one end of your run. Then you have two 16' long sides to the run, but they are not parallel. They sort of fan out so that the last side furthest from the coop is 16'. I think your question is whether the 4' high side is high enough? I'll assume your run is not covered.

    If it is not covered, it is not predator proof. Plenty of things can climb a much higher fence and many things can jump a 4' or 5' fence. That does not mean the run is worthless. Many of us have runs that are not covered and are meant more to keep the chickens in and slow down or partially protect from certain predators. I'm pretty sure my run will stop dogs and coyotes, but some other predators could get in. I know a fox or raccoon could climb in and they are sometimes active during the day, but they are most active from dusk to dawn. Mine are securely locked in a Fort Knox coop then.

    A 6' high fence will usually keep most chickens in. They can jump/fly over that fence if they are properly motivated, but usually they don't. Motivation may be provided by something scaring them, like when I walk into the run with something in my hand other than a feed or water bucket. A really frightening camera, for example. Or a chicken may be trying to get away from a bully or a hen from an amorous rooster. With a run the size of yours, they are more likely to run away, but if they feel trapped in a corner, they may go vertical. And once they learn they can get out, they may start doing it on purpose. I've had that happen with 5' fences.

    Another thing that can happen is that chickens like to perch. If there is something solid at the top of the fence, like there probably is on the chainlink side, they may hop up there just to perch. Then who knows which side they may hop down on. And, no, they do not understand they can get back in the same way. Once they are out, they are locked out of the run.

    I'd be reasonably comfortable with a 6' high fence in a run that size, but realize with proper motivation, they can get out. It will slow down most daytime predators, but won't provide much protection at night or against climbing animals. I'd like it a lot more if there was not a top rail or something solid they could perch on. The 4' side, I'd be really concerned about, especially with a solid top rail.

    With mine, I took some 4 foot wide 2" x 4" welded wire fencing and extended the fence straight up. I overlapped this wire about a foot on the top of my existing fence and left the other three feet sticking straight up. If you attach it at the top and bottom of that 1' overlap, it will stand up straight from its own stiffness. It does not give them a top rail to perch on and raises it enough that they have real problems flying out. Another advantage is that if a fox or raccoon tries to climb it, the wire is flexible enough that it will bend back over them, making it harder for them to climb in. This does not make it predator proof. They can still probably get in over your coop or maybe at the corners, but it makes it more predator resistant.

    My run is built out of 2" x 4" welded wire, with chicken wire along the bottom 18". This chicken wire will not necessarily stop all predators from reaching in, but it will make it a whole lot harder. The main advantages are that it keeps the chickens from poking their heads through the fence to get to the grass growing outside where something can rip the head off and it keeps baby chicks from going through the fence and getting away from Mama's protection.

    I may not totally understand your situation, but maybe you can pick up something from all this rambling that helps. Good luck!!!
     
  6. bantamkelley

    bantamkelley Out Of The Brooder

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    Ridgerunner was spot-on when he described my run. The only predators the pasture behind has are fox, coyotes, and the occasional hawk. Can one of those fake owls keep away the hawks ir us that a wives tale? Should I use 2 rolls and the 2in square wire? Is that enough? Or should i just build a regular coop and range them in the back yard almost daily?
     
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wonder how electric wire around the top of the run would work against climbing critters at night? I guess it would deter chickens from perching up there too. For me around the bottom would be in the way.
     

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