Securing a kennel - suggestions needed to attempt 100% predator proof.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by VA Lady, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. VA Lady

    VA Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really love my 3 hens and 1 rooster and want them to be as happy/comfortable as possible. Their coop is pretty small though and with the days being so short there isn't a whole lot of daylight when I'm home during the week to let them out into their run. What I want now is to have their run, a new 10x10x6 kennel, secure enough that I can just leave their coop door open and let them come and go as they please with no predator concerns. They will be completely on their own for at least 8 hours at a time so any predator that comes around will have all the time in the world to work at getting in so this thing would need to be very secure. What I currently have is just the kennel with a top that is only really meant for shade and a little bit of weather control. For now I've added deer netting to the sides of the top to make it secure against any flying predators. Around the outside of the kennel I have an electric fence set up that's around 2 1/2 - 3 ft tall (4 strands of wire). I'm already planning on wrapping the bottom 3 ft of the kennel in hardware cloth and to bury at least a foot of it below. I also want to further secure the top of the kennel - most likely by adding additional kennel fence panels to the top (under the shade cover) so that the whole thing will be closed. I'd really appreciate any tips/ideas on making this thing as predator proof as possible. I'd love to have real peace of mind when I leave and they're running around in the kennel.
    I'm also thinking about upgrading the electric fence - does anyone have thoughts on if electric netting is better than wire? I'm at least going to add a 5th wire and take it up to around 4 ft...

    Photo of current set up:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. jomercer

    jomercer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Some of the kennels I've seen like the one you have considerable gaps around the door and where the panels join at the corners. So those areas would need some reinforcement with hardware cloth.

    How to do that with the door, though, and still have relatively easy access for yourself without dismantling the door barricades to get inside.....?

    I think the hinge side, top, and latch sides of the door wouldn't be too hard with some creative use of hardware cloth secured with wire/zip ties/bungee cords/carabiners/spring clips to secure the hardware cloth. But the bottom needs to be able to swing out and still prevent diggers from getting in.

    Oh, and definitely add those rigid panels to the ceiling to keep the climbing bad guys out, too.
     
  3. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you must close up that roof and put at least 4 feet of hardware mesh or 1/2" chicken wire arount the base of your out door run to prevent small predators from getting in like a mink, ferret, weasel-these pests can slip right through those 2" openings
     
  4. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    I put a bit of thin plywood on my door. I wired the wood to the door and drilled a few 2x4's and bolted to the door. I made sure all corners were covered with wire and placed the frame on 4" cinder blocks all around the frame.
    It worked well for about a year then started falling apart. I got tired of predator proofing and finally got a LGD. This is working so much better!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Your two biggest difficulties (once the obvious weaknesses are fixed) will be weasels and rats. Yes, there are weasels in Virginia; I do not know how many there are around your house in particular but it is really really common for people to have not the first clue there could possibly be weasels in their neighborhood until the first chicken massacre.

    Your hardwarecloth plans are probably close to as good as you're gonna get against those two; I'm just warning you that rats and weasels can definitely get past it if they want, just so you know. Also potentially yer smaller caliber of baby possums and baby raccoons, although *usually* they are not out in the daytime and *usually* don't go too far anywhere that momma can't go.

    I also want to further secure the top of the kennel - most likely by adding additional kennel fence panels to the top (under the shade cover) so that the whole thing will be closed.

    That's for sure a good idea. You might also close in the two triangular gaps under the shade cover (even if something getting in there would still be on top of your other chainlink) because the less you encourage big fat raccoons to prance around up there the less likely something will break.

    I'd love to have real peace of mind when I leave and they're running around in the kennel. I'm also thinking about upgrading the electric fence - does anyone have thoughts on if electric netting is better than wire? I'm at least going to add a 5th wire and take it up to around 4 ft...

    The real benefit of electronet is its easy portability; for a totally permanent installation it has a lot less advantage over just a multi-strand electric wire fence. The main thing is that the verticals of the electronet make it harder for a predator to dive/climb between the strands (that is, it requires the predator to put up with more shock in order to do that). You could get a fairly similar effect by simply adding more fenceposts (fiberglass or plastic step-ins, for instance) or using something relatively poorly conductive to sort of lace your existing wires together (think "make yer own electronet"). I cannot quite see what your corner posts are but if they are step-ins I would for sure recommend upgrading them to t-posts and perhaps bracing them diagonally against the kennel corners so they stay rigidly put and don't lean, in order that you can keep your wire fence well-tensioned and free of sag/wibble.

    You definitely have the makings of a nice setup there [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I would have concrete flooring under the run/coop, and jutting out maybe a foot past the wire on all sides, and not have to dig or bury a wire apron and have it rust out at some point in the future.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    That's true, if budget allows for it, a slab floor is VERY good digproofing. You would then need to add a considerable depth of "something" atop it for the chickens' health/comfort/entertainment, and probably add grade boards to retain the "something", but that is not too hard.

    Weasels and rats can still climb up over your hardwarecloth and get in, though, if they want to.

    Pat
     
  8. VA Lady

    VA Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Virginia
    Thanks for all the great advice! We did get the upgraded kennel after looking at several that were out there. It has fewer gaps around the door and extra supports throughout - the whole thing is very sturdy compared to the others we saw. I'm thinking that with the way the door opens in I can put hardware cloth so it overlaps on the inside lip of it. That way when it's closed it goes all the way to the wall of the coop. I could also put some on the other side on the frame of the door. It sounds like we might need to hardware cloth the walls all the way up too. For the top I'm looking at corregated metal roofing sheets now. I think that would work pretty well in that there would be no gaps on the top at all for anything to get through.

    Roofing:

    http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay...gId=10051&cmRelshp=sim&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

    Also, the weasels sound pretty awful but I'm wondering about the rats... Would a rooster be any kind of a deterrant with rats? This is my boy - he's almost fully grown now:

    [​IMG]

    I like the sound of the concrete flooring for security but if I can get anything else to work other than that I'd like to. Not so much for the cost and effort of it but because a big part of the enjoyment they get from being in the run is from scratching around in the dirt. I was thinking that maybe we could bury the hardware cloth below the the kennel and then I could put around the perimeter of the interior of the coop some 1 foot square brick patio stones (they are very heavy) - if something happened to dig its way past the hardware cloth it would have to dig another foot past the stones...

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_19184-39241..._prd_lis_ord_nbr|0||p_product_quantity_sold|1
     
  9. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    don't dig. lay an apron around the outside. lay wire flat on the ground surrounding run sticking out a good 18-24inches. cover it with some mulch or dirt. Eventually the grass will grow through it and hold it down securely. Save your back.

    You will need to cover that top with wire
     

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