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What to Use on Top of Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mak, May 27, 2010.

  1. Mak

    Mak Songster

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    We are just about done with the coop part of the project, and are starting to think about the run. We will use hardware cloth for the sides but also want to enclose it fully on top. Do we need to use hardware cloth for that, as well, or would something cheaper work as well, since it is up higher off the ground? If hardware cloth is the best thing to protect the chickens, we will use it, but if we could use something cheaper, that would be nice!
  2. sillybirds

    sillybirds Songster 9 Years

    Aug 5, 2008
    It depends... If you're just trying to keep your chickens in and birds of prey out, then netting is fine. If you want to keep out stronger predators, such as raccoons, then you'll need hardware cloth. I think it also depends on whether you're going to be locking your chickens up in a secure coop at night or not. If so, then the top doesn't need to be as secure, in my opinion.
  3. fiddleblue

    fiddleblue Songster

    Jul 19, 2009
    Use 4 inch by 2 inch wire fencing. This is less expensive than hardware cloth, because the mesh size is smaller, but just as sturdy. The main reason for using hardware cloth, from zero to 3 feet in height, is to keep chickens from being able to stick their head through and get their head lopped off by a predator or their head entangled til they strangle. Up above where their head won't be going through, use 4 by 2 wire mesh to keep costs down. Use none of the thin chicken wire nor any plastic fencing.
  4. KKatknap

    KKatknap Songster

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    We use horse fencing...which I think is the same as the 2"x4" fencing mentioned above. Works great. Keeps the hawks & raccoons out!
  5. woodward farms

    woodward farms Songster

    Aug 15, 2007
    northwest indiana
    just know what your trying to keep out.
    a squirrle, a mink, a weasel will all make it past 2*4 mesh ceilings...
  6. NancyinAlaska

    NancyinAlaska Songster

    Dec 26, 2009
    Willow Alaska
    I don't know how close you are to the coast, but............................ I go to a place in Anchorage that makes fishing nets and go through their remnant bins. I got enough fishing net scraps to piece together over 2 large runs for my chickens and turkeys, and only paid $25. It works very well, stretches with the weather, and has held up to ice, snow, and rain. I don't think even a fox could get through the stuff, it's really tough, and basically "unbreakable".
  7. andyhandel

    andyhandel Hatching

    May 28, 2010
    I want to try hooped PVC pipe with shade cloth and or tarping.[​IMG]
  8. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    We get a lot of snow here, so I covered my run with a solid sheet of metal. It is a remnant piece of siding from a friend's pole barn. We had some hail and the insurance guy was going to toss it after replacing it. I don't think the chickens mind the pock marks. It is framed with 2x4 on 24 inch centers. Anyways, it's great for keeping the weather out of the run as well as the beasties. And best of all - it was FREE.

    Whatever you decide, make sure it can handle some snow load. You won't want to be out there in a blizzard fixing a collapsed run. And wire/netting *will* collect wet snow.
  9. Whitewater

    Whitewater Songster

    Jan 18, 2010
    Because we need to think about smaller animals coming in from above, ie, wild birds, squirrels, snakes (for eggs, for seeds, for water . . . whatever!) we're covering our combination coop/run top with hardware cloth. Actually, we're covering the whole run with hardware cloth, and what's not covered in wire are cedar siding walls. . .

    Because we ALSO live in a climate that gets a ton of snow and rain (and other interesting weather, like tornadoes!), we are putting a true roof on over the hardware cloth using 2x8x8 boards and Sun Tuf polycarbonate sheets (the manufacturer claims they're 110% "indestructable no matter what") that will cut down on UV exposure as well as provide protection from snow, rain and hail, primarily, though of course it's another layer of predator control too.

    Ventilation of the coop will be provided by the space between the hardware cloth and the Sun Tuf sheets, basically, the entire 6x3 top of the coop will have a good few inches, we hope it's enough. If not, we can always cut windows out from the cedar!

    The Sun Tuf sheets are expensive ($25/sheet, including their own spacers) but worth it. In fact, they are the only thing on this coop/run that we're buying new!


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