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Underground protection for chicken run??? Help please.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Redley, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Redley

    Redley In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    Golden, CO
    We are beginning to get our chicken run all ready.
    As you can see in the pictures below, there is a 12-18" concrete slab surrounding the outside run. The coop itself sits on top of a concrete slab.
    Inside the 12" concrete square surrounding the run appears to be cinder blocks.
    My question to you chicken gurus...do I need to put up some type of underground netting to keep out digging chicken killers?

    I am thinking that I will attach fencing to the bottom of the coop anyways. This used to be a dog run, so the fencing sits on the concrete, but it not buried at all. I think that is plenty of space to allow racoons/foxes...etc to get their paws/heads/bodies under the fence and potentially get into my coop.

    Your thoughts?
    Should I get hardware cloth to put underneath the coop?
    Will fencing material work (I have extra so it would be very inexpensive)


  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    You can attach a hardware cloth apron to the base of your run, extending outwards flat on the ground about 2 feet or so. Then stake the apron down with landscaping staples or rocks, whatever you have available. The predator tries to dig at the base of the fence, hits the wire, and doesn't realize it needs to back up to the edge of the wire and start digging from there.

    Something like this:


    In your case, though, it would be a good idea to extend the hardware cloth apron up the vertical side of your run about 2 feet or so to reinforce the chain link. The openings in chain link are large enough for critters to grab chickens through the wire and pull pieces of them out. When frightened, chickens tend to pile up in the corners of their pen and are easy pickings for grabbing paws of raccoons.
  3. chickensbythesea

    chickensbythesea Chirping

    Jan 1, 2011
    I'd at least put a hardware cloth apron around it, if you know what I mean. Not only could something skitter under that fence, a raccoon can easily decapitate a flock through holes that big.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If it were me I would start by buying a sack or two of concrete premix and using it to fill the voids between/under the cinderblocks or broken slab or whatever it is there. Pour as much of the dry powder as you can down there, reaming it in well, then gently water it in and top off. (Wear a mask when dealing with cement mix!). Otherwise it is a rat/mouse farm just waiting to happen.

    Then after it's set hard, you can top with 6-12" of whatever you're going to give the chickens to walk around on/in... dirt, sand, roadbase, compost, wood chips, whatever. You will need some retaining boards around the edge to keep the stuff inside the run.

    Once you have done that, if the WHOLE ENTIRE run is like what the photos show, and it is well anchored down at the edges so the chainlink cannot be pried up, you would not need any further digproofing.

    HOWEVER if ANY of the run is earthen where the chainlink meets the ground, or the chainlink is not really super-solidly buried in the ground, then I would recommend some kind of digproofing apron as mentioned in previous post.

    And for sure line the bottom 2-3' of the chainlink with something small mesh (ideally 1/2" hardwarecloth) to prevent reach-through "incidents" of various sometimes-fatal types.

    Good luck, have fun,


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