Starting my coop: predator-proofing question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SoManyHats, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all! We're putting together our coop, finally, to prepare for pullets we're getting next week. I have a question for all you wise and experienced people. We'll be doing deep litter over a dirt floor. My plan was to dig a trench 18" deep around the outside and bury chicken wire fencing to protect against digging predators. However, when I went out to the site, the ground (under an old car port) is a mixture of super compacted clay and gravel. I can't even get a shovel more than a half an inch into it. So I'm thinking no animal is going to be burrowing through that. However, to protect against anything on the surface digging under the base, I thought I could lay the chicken wire across the ground and cover it.

    So, am I being naive to think that nothing will burrow through that "soil?" Any other suggestions? The rest of the coop is plywood and 1/2" hardware cloth.

    Thanks in advance! I'm really excited to get my girls next week. :weee
     
  2. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Make it so the wire lays flat on the ground and run it up thr fence so it's in the shape of an "L" Use hardwire cloth chicken wire isn't strong enough. I would extend it out at least a foot from the fence.
     
  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    I agree with jetdog. An apron is better than burying the wire deep and you don't really have to bury the horizontal part, especially if you live in a place where grass grows. I live in the desert where we have no grass so I buried mine a bit so that we could plant on top of it and walk around on it (even though our soil is probably as hard as yours). I also agree that you should use hardware cloth if possible. We don't have any smaller weasel-type critters in my town so I used 2" X 4" welded wire, which has thwarted several attempts by coyotes to dig under. You can read more about how I predator-proofed my coop in the My Coop page link under my avatar.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  4. Eggz

    Eggz Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree with all of these answers but remember to get tightly nit wire mesh to help stop rats [​IMG]
     
  5. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone! Gallo - your coop is amazing! I'm using 1/2' hardware cloth, which will keep most if not all small predators out. We'll see.[​IMG]
     
  6. cd2675

    cd2675 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all. I have a question regarding this as well. The area my coop will be in has all sorts of tree roots running under where the floor will be. I'm trying to sort out the best way to create the flooring. Some ideas in my head for spring construction are:

    1) Lay hardware cloth down inside, staple it to the framework, cover with sand floor (or shavings or whatever I use)
    2) Lay hardware cloth down OUTside as was picutred in this forum, in a trench around the coop 6"-12" out, but then how deep do I go?
    3) Raise the floor with floor boards about 6" above the ground level, creating a small step going into the coop/threshold, and put hardware cloth around the inside seams of the floor

    The issue I'm struggling with is not necessarily the cost (although cost effectiveness is always a plus), but more so the most effective while not "suffocating' the tree roots running through there. One thought I dismissed was laying down cement covered in sand/shavings over the roots for this reason.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Trenching is not needed

    Go out 12-24 inches, and lay it right on the surface, then cover with a thin layer of soil to allow grass to grow up through it.

    Digging is just wasted effort when you can stop them at the surface
     
  8. cd2675

    cd2675 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2013
    Thanks for the input!!
     
  9. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't put hardware cloth in the ground on the inside no matter what bedding you use. Chickens will always scratch down to the ground. Mine regularly dig through almost a foot of deep litter to find the dirt. If you put down hardware cloth inside, they will just catch their toes in it all the time..
     
  10. cd2675

    cd2675 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2013
    Oh my! I hadn't even thought about that. THANK YOU!!!
     

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