Running Hardware Cloth below grade?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by miken7791, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. miken7791

    miken7791 Out Of The Brooder

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    Newb here. Building Coop and Run, I went out to start pricing some materials and I read on some of the forums that chicken wire is worthless against predators so I was looking at Hardware Cloth but it is a bit expensive and I was going to run it below grade but it seems to add quite a bit more cost.

    My questions are:

    Is it necessary to put HW Cloth below grade? I was going to put it about a foot below grade to prevent any digger predators from getting in.

    Is HW cloth necessary when below grade? Could I enclose the run with HW cloth or even 2x4 cattle fence or combo there of and then put chicken wire below grade because between the dirt and the wire, it would seem to deter any digging predators.

    I apologize if this has been covered before and I did a search but could not find anything about putting anything below grade.

    Thanks in advance,

    Mike
     
  2. WildfireSmitty

    WildfireSmitty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chicken Wire is not useless, I free range 800 broilers and use to have a major Coyote problem ( I have watched coyotes run off with my chickens multiple times a day) I fenced an acre plot with chicken wire, and have yet to lose a bird to a Coyote again (going on 5 years now) They are still around, I see them often, and hear them often.

    If you check your fence often it does the trick. You need to make sure the fence is right to the ground or in your case below grade. I didnt go below because it was a lot of work for an acre. (plenty of posts) If there is a hole a yote will find it. and he/she will keep coming back multiple times a day.(especially when they have young ones)

    2x4 cattle fence wont keep out minks/ferrets or other smaller preds. Not sure if you have them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I don't have my hardware cloth buried underground. Our ground is ridiculously hard to dig and hard to work with. I used a 4' wide roll, and ran it up the sides of the run 2 feet, sewing it to the chicken wire/cattle panel framework, then folded it out at the bottom and ran it about 2 feet on the outside of the run. Our English Setter, Molly, tried to dig under the run and she broke her toenail and bled all over the place. She decided those chickens weren't worth it, so I know that the apron worked.

    I am using those cattle panels. We pounded 8 steel posts into the ground, arched the cattle panels between them and wired them into place, then covered the arch with chicken wire to keep out overhead predators. As I said, we then used hardware cloth up two feet out and extended out two feet on the surface of the ground. Been working perfectly...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    [​IMG]T
    This is our run.
     
  5. miken7791

    miken7791 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2015
    Thank you for the input, here is my design:
    [​IMG]

    It is not quite to scale but the Coop will be 4 x 8 and the run will also be 4x8, I raised the coop so that I could utilize the space underneath for the food and additional run. I will let them out occasionally but dont have fenced in yard to let them roam. Just concerned about racoons, opossums, dogs or cats digging around the run and coop so trying to figure out if I need to put chicken wire or HW cloth below grade to deter them. Don't want to lose any ladies and have to put the kids thru that
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Looks pretty good, but remember that chickens don't think like we do. Although the space under the coop will indeed provide the with additional space and a place in the shade, they will also poop under it and some will lay eggs there. So make sure you have some kind of practical (and by that I mean more than just a tiny opening) to be able to get under there for your chores. And occasionally a sick or injured chicken will hide there, so you need to be able to access her as well. Is it at all possible to make the run a bit larger? If you are only going to let them out once in awhile, they'll appreciate some additional space to flap their wings and run around without running into each other. It will work fine if you just have a couple of chickens, but chicken math is sneaky!!

    As I said, I didn't put hardware cloth below grade, so I can't answer your questions there. Mine runs on the outside as an apron, then up the sides of the run a couple of feet.
     
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  7. ladyearth

    ladyearth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I remember reading that some people do >
    we just did theHW cloth apron out 12 inhes, covered with dirt some then bricks over the apron, too
    Then ran the rest of hardware cloth up the sides. then poultry wire up the rest of way to make run 6 ft tall. Bought the pwire in 6 foot wide roll by 150 feet long. ordered the wire cause no one carried big roll Used tall T post to attach all to....
    But we did use CATTLE Panels .. which are I believe 51inches tall
    then 16 feet long.The run is kind of big. Like 2 cattle panel long an approx 2 cattle panel wide that all attaches to coop.. later we put in a 100 by 100 foot fenced area....too.....fence is 2 by 4 inch wire... so far Roo has protected his 3 Gals....knock on wood
    they have lots of places to run to inside their 100 by 100 fenced area..... Plus we are outside so much.
    you know I think the wild birds warn each other when aerial predators are around. Plus Roo watches everthing...
    Roo makes grunt noises when he sees something
    Night time they are locked in their fort knox coop.....and the gate is closed on their hdwe cloth run.....and pwire roof.....
    ... I keep telling them they have it too good... Plus Roo has 7 WILD new Gals in the house almost 6 weeks old.. Cant wait till I can let them overnite in the other coop. soon as it is warm enough. Electric is not run down to the kennel coop yet
    Just a saying God luck
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    In the photo I posted, if you click on it you will be able to see the hardware cloth running up the sides of the run. You can also see that we did the same thing all the way around the coop, attaching it to the coop with large washers and screws. The chicken wire is visible on the top of the arch, and that's done a great job at keeping out the hawk that seems come by on occasion just to see if we let our guard down, as well as smaller wild birds who might get into the run. I've often said that I don't believe in any setup being 100% predator proof! As soon as I start thinking that way, then sure enough there'll be some wily booger that will find a weak spot somewhere in our defenses. So in addition to making things as safe as possible, your best protection is to keep checking for places where you may have had an unseen predator trying to get in, leaving a small tear somewhere that the next critter can make a little bigger before you know it. Diligence and fast repairs if needed are the best protection.

    Like you, ladyearth, I like the solid, thick wires of the cattle panels. But we both know they have limits, so we have done what we can. We planned on covering the apron of hardware cloth with rock as well, but doggone it, the grass grew up through it so well that Ken can mow right up to the sides of the run, and the hardware cloth is totally invisible. So we took the lazy way out and left it. I like the apron very much!
     
  9. PapaChaz

    PapaChaz Overrun With Chickens

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    you could actually use 2' chicken wire as an apron around the perimeter of the run. Tie/sew it to the bottom all the way around, stretch it out tight and stake it down with landscape cloth staples. just as effective (and a whole lot easier) trenching and trying to extend the wire below grade.

    you can cover it with mulch, plant flowers, etc, but it will be there to keep any 'diggers' from going under
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    You are quite right, a chicken wire or even closely woven wire fence will work to deter digging predators. But for me that still left the issue of the sides of the run, so it was just as easy to make one almost continuous run with the hardware cloth and run it out at the same time we were running it up. BTW, you are moving right along!! Looking good over there!
     

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