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What fencing/wire for the run? Can the run have a roof?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CountryFried, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. CountryFried

    CountryFried Out Of The Brooder

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    I have the usual predators (fox, raccoons, etc), and I'm getting ready to "build" my coop/run.

    I have two options, and I need to figure out which way the run is going...like today, LOL. My babies are quickly outgrowing their brooder.

    My preferred run area is 30x11, covered completely. Is that OK, or do they have to have open area at the top? (My son seems to think they need to see the run overhead?)

    And what kind of wire/fencing should I use for that size? I plan to bury the wire about a foot down, and then I have 7' of "walls" to the roof. (It's similar to a pole barn or carport where I want to put the run, the coop area is at one end, and there is a solid wall along one 30' side)

    Should I go with ½" hardware cloth for the first 2-4' and then could I get away with a wider opening welded wire?

    Thanks for any advice, I would like to buy the wire tonight, cuz these babies really need more room.
     
  2. chics in the sun

    chics in the sun Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is better for the run to be covered, either with a solid roof or with wire. I've never heard of them needing to see the sky - cause if they can see the sky, the hawks can also see them!! It also sounds like it will be plenty tall to allow for lots of light, even if it has a solid roof over it. Not sure what type of wire to use. The stronger the better.
     
  3. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    If you have all of those predators around then you definitely need hardware cloth for the first two feet from the ground. I would really suggest four feet though since a raccoon can tear right through chicken wire. I know it is more expensive but better to be safe than sorry.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Covered completely is definitely best (safest, and in no way whatsoever bad for the chickens) AS LONG AS you can engineer it so it will not collapse when a) you get a foot of wet snow or b) three portly raccoons do the hungry dance up there some night. This is not necessarily quite as easy as it sounds -- you need either an actual real honest-to-gosh roof, like building a shed with no walls; or you need an almost-as-strongly-supported top of some STRONG wire mesh, i.e. NOT chickenwire. For an 11x30 run, either option (or you could do part roof and part mesh) will cost a significant bit. But if you can swing it, it is SERIOUSLY worthwhile!

    It is not necessarily worth burying the foot of the run fencing, and if you DID bury it I'd suggest deeper than just a foot since most digging critters can fairly easily dig deeper than that. Have you considered an 'apron' arrangement, where you take a 2-4' wide piece of sturdy wire mesh fencing (not chickenwire) and just lay it ON the ground around the outside of the run fence, securely attached to the foot of the run fence, and the free edge pegged down or covered with rocks/pavers/turf/whatever. This is pretty much as good (except vs rats but then honestly it is almost impossible to truly keep rats out anyhow) and WAY less work in most soils [​IMG]

    Do you really want 7' high walls? Unless you want to leave the possibility open for someday converting a pole-barn-built roofed run into a shed for machinery or large livestock, you would save money and require a bit less seriously-engineered structure if you made the sidewalls 5-6', or even 4' if you did a peaked or shed-style roof on *rafters* rather than trusses so you still have clear headroom inside.

    What wire to use is a matter of personal taste, conscience and pocketbook. The most secure thing is probably either (one can debate the merits of either [​IMG]) all 1/2" hardwarecloth everywhere altogether; or heavy gauge 1x1 mesh with 1/2" hardwarecloth added on the bottom 3' of the run fence. But those things are *pricey*, especially the all-hardwarecloth option, and also the hardwarecloth is hard to see thru (you can paint it black but you will spend a lot of time *re*painting it over the years)

    Definitely it is safest to have something no more than 1" mesh, ideally smaller, covering the bottom 2-3' of the run. IMHO you don't sacrifice much if any security by using 1/2" chickenwire if you can get that cheaper; even conventional 1" chickenwire is not really so bad, when being *added to* an existing secure run fence. Really, even just a decent grade of 1/2" plastic garden netting will do about 90% of what you want it to... all you are really trying to do is prevent, or slow down, "reach through" by either chickens or predators. It's a different role than your main fencing material needs to play.

    For your main fencing material, if you are not going to go with the deluxe all-hardwarecloth or all-1x1-with-hardwarecloth-added models, it is just a matter of how much extra you want to pay to be HOW comfortable that strong or small-caliber predators will not get in. Some people use heavy-gauge 1x2 cage wire, which is not bad stuff at all. Some people use TIGHTLY AND CORRECTLY INSTALLED heavy gauge chainlink (but beware, there is a lot of flimsy crappy chainlink out there that dogs can just rip their way through -- and yes, much of it is sold as dog kennel panels [​IMG]). If you can get heavy livestock-type 2x4 welded wire mesh, that's not really so bad IMO... weasels will slip right thru, and small baby raccoons and possums too, but if you are locking your chickens into a secure coop every day by dusk, WITHOUT FAIL, then weasels and coon/possum babies are pretty darn unlikely to be a threat. (ADULT raccoons do hunt in daytime sometimes).

    I would suggest you go around to farm stores in your area, or wherever else you would get your fencing material, and price different materials. This will probably be a big factor in your decision [​IMG]

    Things that I do not at all recommend (because they are just so easy for raccoons, dogs, coyotes etc to rip through): chickenwire of any type. That 2x2 or 2x3 wire mesh they sell as garden fencing (it is really light gauge and weak wire, and usually poorly welded too). "Corn crib" 2x4 mesh should also IME be viewed with suspicion as it seems to often have a lot of crappy welds that animals can rip apart -- but maybe it isn't all like that, I can only speak to what I've bought and seen. And anything plastic is a definite "forget it".

    Note that even if you put a solid roof on your run -- which is terrific, really cuts down on mud if you do it right, etc etc -- the chickens will still get plenty of sunlight because the sun always (or, for low latitudes, "almost always" <g>) shines in at an ANGLE, same as it shines through your house windows despite having a roof on your house [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. CountryFried

    CountryFried Out Of The Brooder

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    Ah, let me clarify, LOL

    It IS an existing building, it's my workshop. I'm converting a room at the back into the coop, and I want to use the covered area for my run.

    [​IMG]

    The metal wall to the left is the room I'm making into the coop, and where you see the tables in the picture is the wall I referred to in my post. The roof just happens to be 7' high, so that's why the height.

    In the picture, I'm planning the run to go from the edge of the room (that's the white pole to the left in the picture) all the way to the end, along the brown poles in the center of the roof. (Hope that makes sense) That's completely covered with metal roof.

    In the future, I will probably make stalls for goats/pigs/cows/something from the brown poles to the white poles, with the pens extending out into the yard.

    If I were to use plywood, would three feet of wire at the top of the run, with the 11' end all wire be enough ventilation for the run? (Sorry, kinda planning this in my head as we go, I want to leave the option open to have other critters "stabled" there, as well)
     
  6. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    One side of my property is fenced with 2"x4" welded wire from home depot. TSC carries it too. It costs around $30 per 4'x50' roll. It also comes in bigger rolls. It has held up really well to all of my dogs. One of which weigh 70lbs and likes to bounce off of it. Often. The rolls are 5' tall. So if you used the welded wire on the top 5' of the walls and 1/2" hardware cloth at 2' high that would be perfect.
     
  7. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
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    The metal wall to the left is the room I'm making into the coop, and where you see the tables in the picture is the wall I referred to in my post. The roof just happens to be 7' high, so that's why the height.

    In the picture, I'm planning the run to go from the edge of the room (that's the white pole to the left in the picture) all the way to the end, along the brown poles in the center of the roof. (Hope that makes sense) That's completely covered with metal roof.

    In the future, I will probably make stalls for goats/pigs/cows/something from the brown poles to the white poles, with the pens extending out into the yard.

    If I were to use plywood, would three feet of wire at the top of the run, with the 11' end all wire be enough ventilation for the run? (Sorry, kinda planning this in my head as we go, I want to leave the option open to have other critters "stabled" there, as well)

    I see what you are saying there. They will essentially have a giant dirt floor coop outside the normal coop.
    Yes that would work and you would have plenty of ventilation.
    In the coop where they sleep will be where you need to make sure they have plenty of good ventilation since that is where they poop in concentration.
    Also don't forget to skirt or bury wire under all of your plywood walls.​
     

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