what to do, what to do?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by crozierk, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. crozierk

    crozierk Hatching

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    So here is my situation. Im moving into a house on acreage, and behind the house is a fenced in run(just metal wire and Tposts) with a small three sided shed built of old fence sections. I plan on tearing down the shed and building a coop there, and I think I have some decent ideas as far as that goes, so that's not an issue. My problem is on how to predator proof the run as best as is reasonably doable within a decent(maybe 200 dollar) budget and a week or so of work. Doesn't have to be anything extravagant, functionality is the name of the game here. I don't know the exact size of the run, but Id guess maybe 30-40 feet long and about 10 feet wide. Fence is maybe four feet high, my main predatory concern is dogs(I know other predators are a concern, just based on the area Im most concerned about dogs and various small animals like racoons). Is a tarp a viable option to cover a part of the run to allow the chickens to retreat into, or will it just get torn through? I really just want to be able to walk the length of the run inside and not stoop down, and I would prefer to not raise the fence any higher, so I am most interested in a way to cover the pen but remove the top with ease. Any suggestions or ideas? Im not new to chickens, but my experience is all based on commercial poultry raising and so I am a little unsure of how to go about managing a small non commercial flock. Thanks for any help yall can give!!
     
  2. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Songster

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    What type of wire fencing is the existing run? A standard woven wire field fence will keep out dogs but some select dogs can jump or climb or dig under fences. I would at least erect a beam down the center of the run and up about 7 ft high. From there you can drape netting or mesh down to the 4' high fence perimeter. Not fool proof but it will be a quick and easy cover to keep birds in and most predators out. Hardware cloth or cheaper chicken wire over the exsiting fence with a skirt will help fortify the run. If the birds have a chance to free range then you can reduce the size of the run and make a more fortified solid roof up at 6 1/2 ft. high. Netting may be the best choice for large run areas and no free range. Not a big fan of tarps since they hold water and wear out fast but that may be another option.
     
  3. crozierk

    crozierk Hatching

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    I never even thought about a beam, that would be fairly effective and quick to do. I'm contemplating building a really solid coop and small run area with a solid roof, and then maybe the netting idea for the rest of the run with an option of free range. I wouldn't mind letting them roam, but that's something I'd have to decide on once I talk to the neighbors and stuff.
     
  4. Baymule

    Baymule Songster 8 Years

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    I would be leery of anything that could be torn into like netting or a tarp. Predators can and do strike during daylight hours. I live in town on a small lot, but have a Fort Knox coop and run. My run is a hoop type run, made by bowing cow panels over and covering with hardware cloth. Your potential run sounds too big to cover with hardware cloth-the cost would be in the stratosphere! I like the suggestions by 4 the Birds!
     
  5. crozierk

    crozierk Hatching

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    My other thought was to get some sort of lightweight metal fencing with smaller
    Gaps and lay it on top of the run and wire it shut on one side and just clip the other side. Then I'd have a fully covered run but I could open it easily for access if need be. I was already planning on skirting the sides with something, but figuring out a solution on covering has been stumping me. I'm renting the place, and the owners don't care if I have chickens, but I just don't want to make a huge elaborate run just to be told it has to be taken down when I leave. That's the main reason I was looking into cheaper and quicker methods. What I'm thinking of doing now Is putting in 7 foot posts like 4 the birds suggested, and then maybe wiring metal panels to the fence and then stapling them or somehow attaching them to the posts, to create sort of an a-frame looking set up. Also,
    If the coop is completely inside the run and on a paver block base, how important is it that it be elevated? I don't mind building it up off the ground, but since the block base is level and and already there....
     
  6. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Songster

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    You will get pretty tired of any type of removable roofing to access the run! A simple A-Frame or TALL flat roof with panels would be great. This will provide a lot of good shade for the birds and you can remove the panels when you decide to move from the rental. Same thing with the elevated coop. You want easy access without getting down on your hands and knees daily. You will get tired of that quickly! Of course the ideal coop is a tall walk-in coop with head-room. Smaller coops are best raised. Hope this helps!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  7. JackE

    JackE Crowing 8 Years

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    For around $300, you could get 100' of electrified poultry netting, and a 110V charger from Premier. That will give you a 30X20' run, safe from all ground preds. It's the easiest run to set up, and can easily be expanded. I have 600' of it, and it has been the answer for me to the fox and occasional dog, I get running through here.
    Jack

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  8. crozierk

    crozierk Hatching

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    My coop I am planning on making a walk in height, probably 6-7 foot. I just found out my buddy has a Pile of metal fence pieces and some corrugated tin laying around, so I am going to buy that off of him for pretty much nothing. Any thoughts on using those metal panels in conjunction with the posts to make an a-frame? Then I could get some sort of netting or fabric to help keep out wind and rain and then leave the other half open.

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/feedlot-panel-cattle-16-ft-l-x-50-in-h
    This is what I mean when I say metal fencing, just for clarification purposes.
     
  9. crozierk

    crozierk Hatching

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    Edit: *When I say open, I mean covered with the fencing panels but not covered with anything to protect from the elements.* also, any thoughts on stocking density? I know about 4 sq fr per bird in the coop, but what about run size? Right now it's all grass, but I know there's slim chance of keeping it that way with a flock confined in the area. I was thinking somewhere between around a dozen hens would be comfortable in that space( 30x10 or so), maybe a few less.
     

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