Using Windscreen Tarps to keep out weasels and raccoons?

Hey all, first time poster here.

Moving our chickens to an old dog pen for the winter and trying to make sure that it is safe from weasels and raccoons. The pen is sturdy chain link with concrete foundations so nothing can dig underneath it. We know that chainlink is not tight enough to keep out weasels though, so we are looking at either wrapping the whole thing in hardware cloth or using a windscreen tarp on the non-south sides of the pen. This is cheaper and would block a lot of the cold wind we get as well. Would this be effective in keeping out raccoons and weasels though? I'm worried they would rip the tarp and hop right through. Not sure how prone weasels are to ripping through material so I thought I would ask everyone here. Thank you in advance!
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
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Holts Summit, Missouri
I don't think a common tarp would be able to stop a raccoon from chewing through. 'Coons can chew/rip through chicken wire, so my guess is that tarps won't protect your birds for long.
Squirrels are known to gnaw through tarpaulins (the stuff that covers trucks) and that material is tough!
Use a tool for proper job. We do not know job yet based on information given.
 
Thanks for the replies so far. Here is some more information.

The pen we have (inherited it when we moved in to the place) is this (https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/stephens-pipe-steel-dog-kennel-10-ft-w-x-10-ft-l-x-6-ft-h?cm_vc=IOPDP1). We are planning on one of two options. 1) running 1/2 inch hardware cloth around the sides and top, secured with zip ties. Like I said above, the fence was built to go straight down to concrete blocks that make up the base of the pen so nothing should be able to dig underneath. 2) the other option is to wrap the sides with windscreen tarp like this (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KVU6RAQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A2BR1T00HZZGL3&psc=1). We would be sure to tie it tight, all the way down to the bottom of the fence and use hardware cloth on any parts the tarp wouldn't cover, including the south facing side so we maximize the rib the chicks get. But the idea would be to use the tarp to cover the chain link fence to prevent weasels from slipping through the holes and raccoons from reaching through the holes to grab the chickens like I have read many places they can do.

My worry is that even if we manage to cover all the holes with the tarp weasels will just tear a hole through it and then squeeze through the chain link fence holes. If that's the case then we would just go with hardware cloth, and Bute the bullet on the price.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
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First get chickens to roost up and near center of pen so raccoons will not be able to reach sleeping chickens. The raccoons will still be able to climb corners of kennel even with tarp. What will be used to deny racoons climbing over top?

Weasels could climb over hardware cloth so other approaches better there unless they have to climb more than a couple feet.I have pens that do nothing to weasels yet they not a problem.

I have a chain link pen just like yours, among many others. My emphasis is on keeping predators away from pen.

Are you in high traffic area for raccoons and weasels?
 

50-45-1

Crowing
12 Years
raccoons and weasels are mostly nighttime hunters. most situations it will be easier to secure the coop in the overnight hours than secure the entire run.will your coop be locking the chickens inside at night? this would be my first concern. safety at night when they are most vulnerable.
i would definitely go with the hardware cloth plan and still use the tarp over that if you need windbreak.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
23,921
13,436
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
@ChickenBoyDave my understanding is the kennel itself will serve as the coop. If correct then it is a relatively large coop approaching a chicken house in size because you can walk around in it.

The kennels are hard to critter proof. I have one just like @ChickenBoyDave plus four more that are made of stiffer material forming 2" x 4" welded panels. The latter can be made relatively raccoon proof if I installed a firmly attached roof. To control cost I omitted the roofs and did a combination of hot-wire to deny approach on ground plus dogs. Former does nothing for critters like weasels and latter is very expensive despite how effective it can be against all predators including weasels.

When it comes down to it, weasels are not a frequent visitor. Raccoons can be. You might be able to make weasel visits more rare by reducing the amount of feed available at night for mice that weasels are likely to visit for in the first place. My raccoons first visit first for feed. The raccoons issues I have had generally involved raccoons coming for feed over multiple nights before they go after chickens.

The door is going to be a particular weak spot for stopping entry of a weasel and if door not fitted tight enough for a raccoon as well.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
21,827
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Florida
My Coop
My Coop
:welcome :frow Where do you live? If you could post a picture, that would be helpful. I would personally use the hardware cloth. I don't use zip ties because after awhile the zip ties will succumb to the elements. I use wire. I used zip tires originally but they ended up breaking and coming off after awhile so now I use wire. I actually use hog rings now. I can only give you my opinion. Try whatever you want. Covering the top is good to protect from many predators especially aerial. You could put the privacy fence screen over the top of the enclosure. Good luck and have fun...
 

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