Weighting down the wire apron around my coop and run

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Minflick, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. Minflick

    Minflick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't dig a trench in which to bury my fencing apron. For a multitude of reasons, but mostly because I have rock hard clay AND several tons of 1" granite gravel all over our property (fence to fence, front to back) some prior owner had dumped. About the only time I can really dig holes here is in the winter rains, other wise I can spend hours with a post hole digger, the soaker hose, and still only get 6" down, and that nearly killed my hands. Not doing that again!

    So. I have to have an apron going out, if I don't want to floor the run with my wire fencing or plumbers cloth, and I just think that would ruin the fun of the birds to have the wire on their run floor. I can do the fencing apron out 18"-24", but I'm wondering how MUCH weight do I need to have on the apron. The only predators I've seen in our yard have been hawks (run will be covered), crows (ditto) and many, many industrious raccoons. My run will be about 7' x 13', so that's a lot of pavers to put down, and I'm sure I need solid coverage to foil the little ********. I'd just as soon not use cinder blocks for the ugly factor. I was thinking of using the planter blocks. The big ones are about a foot across the front, and about 6" high, as best I recall. They weigh quite a bit... Would that be enough? Could I get by with the smaller stepping stone pavers, or are they too light weight?

    Advice please!

    Thanks,

    Melinda
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    You could just buy cinder block pavers and lay them all around the perimeter...would that work for you?
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I understand not wanting to use cinder blocks for sure.

    You'd only need to bury it about an inch or two...or is there grass growing where the apron is? You could even bend the edge of the wire down and push it into a slit in the ground to hide the edge.

    I just laid mine, 2x4 welded wire fencing, over the grass cut very short, put a few gardening stakes in where it wouldn't lay flat enough for the mower to go over with out getting dinged. The grass grows up thru it tying it to the ground pretty well.

    I think if it goes out that far and lays pretty flat not much is going to try to pry it up. A pic of the situation might help folks suggest more helpful solutions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  4. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too laid mine on top of the grass. I took wire clothes hangers and cut them in pieces and made a u shape and hammered it into the ground to hold the outer edges down so I didn't hang my toes on it. After a bit the grass grows over it.
     
  5. Minflick

    Minflick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL... Grass... As IF I had grass! Coastal redwoods mean any grass I did have would be spotty at best, AND our water board has asked us to not water any lawns we have as they are such water hogs. My best sunny area is my front driveway, where I park my car and have a few tomato plans in pots. I don't mourn my non-existent lawn, as my water bill is already uncomfortably high, but I do faintly envy those of you with lovely lawns in your pictures.

    I can take a picture to show you guys Monday. But until then, you'll have to take my word for it that what I have on my ground above the 'soil' is leaf litter and wood chips (must have been an old load laid down before we bought this house), then very hard yellow clay intermixed with that aforementioned TONS of 1" granite gravel. It took me 6 hours the other day, and 2-3 days of a soaker hose softening the ground, to dig a small and shallow trench around 5 feet long. And it killed my shoulders, and gave me blisters on my hands. I give up, I'm not doing that again.

    The last time I had to dig a good hole, it was the winter before last, and it had rained for a week. My chickens arrive in 3 weeks, so I can't wait for the rain that may or may not fall. I'm going to fill in what trench I dug, so it's all the same and the wire doesn't have to go up and down, and make the frame for the run, and start laying out the wire on Monday. I've got screws and washers to hold the wire fencing and the plumbers cloth to my wood frame, and I have J clamps to hold the wire bits to each other with out bagging out. (Rabbit cage tools) I'll get the heaviest pavers I can haul in my car, and probably make several trips to get enough of them. I will eventually try planting some nasturtiums and other shady stuff that won't hurt the birds if they eat some, but mostly, the pavers will be in plain sight until I get more leaf litter. And if, per chance, we get RAIN this winter, I can try digging a trench a bit at a time then. Some areas of the yard are worse than others, but in the worst areas, the rocks are barely under the leaf litter, and the leaf litter is less than half an inch thick, and the rocks and clay together are rock hard. I think even a back hoe would not have an easy time of it.

    Melinda
     
  6. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If its that hard the predators should have an equally hard time. I would just turn the raw edges under so that the chickens didn't hang their feet on it and let it be.
     
  7. Minflick

    Minflick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Which raw edges? I'm confused... The bottom edge of the fencing? Or do you mean the overlap somewhere? I have both 1/2" plumbers cloth (but possibly not enough to enclose the ENTIRE run, and 2"x4" wire fencing (also possibly not enough to enclose the entire thing). But I know many things can get between the 2x4 fencing, so I'm thinking that's only going to be the top of the run and upper walls, anything lower down will either be both layered together or just the plumbers cloth.

    Eh. It's just going to have to have an ugly apron with ugly cement pavers... Such is the price of keeping my soon-to-arrive birds safe and happy at my house.
     
  8. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    FWIW... I rototilled around the edge of my coop.... laid 2x3 wire, and pavers over to hold down the wire and provide an extra barrier.... If you have 'coons, you will want strong wire on the run... very strong wire... they will climb anywhere to get to the chickens and eggs...
    For added deterrent, I put in an electric fencer... I have heard, but can't confirm, one ZAP will have them thinking to never come back... which would be a good thing.......

    My coup build is linked in my profile "My Coop"

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  9. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah... my apron is made from strips of hardware cloth that I had to cut in half so I have a raw edge.
     
  10. Minflick

    Minflick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welasharon - Ah, OK. I just could not picture in my mind what the heck....?!

    Dave - I no longer have a rototiller, but I used to, and DH nearly killed it rototilling some gravel that was much less robust than this gravel is. Not an experience I would care to repeat, and even more so with a rented tiller! I've SEEN our raccoons... They are not small, and my birds will not be out and about unless I am in the yard with them. They will always be shut in the run and in the closed coop at night.

    I'm mostly resigned to having the visible apron and the pavers... I'll just see what planting I can put in place later on. Planter boxes, if need be!
     

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