spring is coming, and we'd like to get chick's this year. but we'll be off site.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by deadendacres, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. deadendacres

    deadendacres Out Of The Brooder

    79
    4
    31
    Jan 28, 2015
    Indiana
    Ok, I'm slowly chopping away on the new property. But our house there isn't in the near future.

    But, we'd (I'd) like to get the chickens up and running. Problem is, we can't be there every second. 2-3 times a day, yes, but not a watchful eye constantly.

    We have coyote, fox, coon, possum all the main threats. Oh and birds of prey.

    While I'll be the first one to say, this is a horrible idea, not much will change once we are there 24/7 as far as predators.

    On to a bullet proof pen and coop. Maybe?

    What I'm thinking is hog panels (feed lot panels) for fence covered with chicken wire. Metal roofing over the pen and log construction of the coop.

    I've got a picture in my mind, but I'm very bad at conveying it.

    Suggestions, words of wisdom , tell me h low bad an idea it is. I really just want some feedback on this.
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

    5,642
    5,365
    421
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    If you can be there to let them out in the morning and close them in just around dusk EVERY day I think it is totally do able so long as you make a nice secure house and run.
    I would caution that chicken wire is not going to keep critters out. They can and will bite right through it as well as reach in (raccoon).

    If you look at the coops pages you will see some very well built runs that can withstand the kind of predators you will have around. This one has some very nice pics of the apron of hardware cloth. I think with the critters you will have around it is a must. I would suggest perhaps chain link and a layer of hardware cloth or ( I know I will be blasted for suggesting it ) chicken wire.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicksntexas-coop

    With hawks and such you will need to make sure you cover the top of the run. I know it is difficult but totally needed to keep critters from coming in the top.
    I have seen a fox clear a 6 foot fence like it was no issue at all.
     
  3. Eggmachine11

    Eggmachine11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    169
    2
    63
    Feb 8, 2015
    MO
    You should probably consider picking them up.
    A long drive can put them into stress and kill them.

    They will need free range time.Depending on,how big your coop is,and how many birds consist in your flock.
     
  4. deadendacres

    deadendacres Out Of The Brooder

    79
    4
    31
    Jan 28, 2015
    Indiana
    My thought is the food lot/hog panels as a structure fence and chicken wire on top of that. To make the holes smaller. And the whole run would be tin roofed. The coop would be all solid log construction, so it'd be pretty impenetrable.

    I'm thinking the run would be 32'x16'
     
  5. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

    5,642
    5,365
    421
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    OH MY that is a nice sized run.
    If you can get them for a reasonable price and can be there for the gals at dawn and dusk I think they should work. I just wonder about the 8" spacing.
     
  6. deadendacres

    deadendacres Out Of The Brooder

    79
    4
    31
    Jan 28, 2015
    Indiana
    I want to go bigger on the run but that'd be the minimum.

    The panels I'm looking at are 2" increasing to 4" so I figure if I can cover it with chicken wire, it outta keep most critters out.
     
  7. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

    5,642
    5,365
    421
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Oh I thought you were looking at the 8" square stuff. That opening size should do well for you being 2" and 4" being the larger size.
     
  8. deadendacres

    deadendacres Out Of The Brooder

    79
    4
    31
    Jan 28, 2015
    Indiana
    Thanks, that's what I was thinking. Outta be fairly secure.
     
  9. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    14
    70
    Sep 17, 2014
    Southern Oregon
    With the predators you noted chicken wire will not keep out the raccoons. They will rip it and tear it apart. We used hardware cloth and attached with washers and screws where needed in the run area. Buried it 1 foot down and 8" bent out at the bottom. We still have our chickens vrs some friends that have lost theirs twice from the raccoons getting through the chicken wire. It was more expensive but in the long run worth it. As far as locking them up at night, raccoons will come in before dusk if they know they are there and the foxes will come during the day. Just trying to prevent you from finding a pile of feathers later on.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,545
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I did something similar for my grow out pen, but I used horse panels. 5 foot tall, with 4 inch openings. I wrapped them in chicken wire and covered with netting. I lost several chicks to barn cats getting in the netting, but your metal roof should take care of that.

    The problem is, the chicken wire keeps chicks in, but not predators out. Coons will easily go through chicken wire. My sweet, non-prey driven, elderly German Shepherd dog nosed her way through chicken wire to get a hamburger we'd fed to the birds. The smaller rectangles at the bottom of a hog panel won't let a coon in, but the 4x4 could fit one, believe it or not. A possum could get in there, as well as a fox. You'll need to go with a stronger cover, like hardware cloth or rabbit cage wire. You might also look into running a hotwire around the perimeter.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by