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what's best to reinforce chickenwire?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dftkarin, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A friend made me a temporary chicken tractor - a 3'x5'x2.5' tall framed box that he covered on all sides with chicken wire. My chicks are 3 weeks old and spend part ofthe day out in my backyard in the tractor but they come indoors to sleep under a lamp still at night. I would like to fortify this tractor (a la Andy Lee's chicken tractor book) with sturdier welded wire and a tarp so that my 4 pullets can live/sleep in the tractor for thenext month or two until I get my coop built. I could get a roll of hardware cloth, borrow a staple gun, and get some more secure latches for the two doors - but I wonder if I'm laying this over chicken wire already - what size/strength welded wire would I need to use? I see Lowes sells 2"x4" welded wire, 50 feet, 3' wide for less than $30 - would such wide holes be okay if there is already 1" chicken wire already underneath it? Also, I assume I should add a roost but I'm not sure exactly how to go about doing that - there are no side boards to nail a roost to. Can I build a free-standing roost? Or stick part of a ladder on a slant in the tractor?
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    A lot of predators, especially raccons, rats and weasels can get through anything bigger that 1/2" x 1/2" welded hardware cloth. You'll also need those U-shaped poultry staples or batten board and screws to attach the hardware cloth. Some people use pig rings to attach it, I haven't tried this but it sounds workable.

    Click on my home page below to see how we used hardware cloth. I'm so glas you'll be doing this, it makes a world of difference!

    There are lots of ways to build free-standing roosts, I'd use a 2x4 as the perch part with the wide part up. How many chicks?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  3. suburban farm girl

    suburban farm girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm pretty new, but have spent a lot of timing reading the advise and experience of the others on this board. Hardware cloth both reinforces whatever you already have up and makes a smaller opening to deter predators. (Stories about raccoons reaching through chicken wire and ripping the heads off chickens were enough to convince me that hardware cloth was a really good idea.) 2"X 4" sounds like a really wide opening. I think ours was only about 1/2" square. You could possibly get good use of it if it can be positioned over your existing chicken wire so that the wire of the hardware cloth is blocking the opening of the chicken wire. Unless you overlapped the hardware cloth, I think you would still have quite a few large openings raccoons could get their paws through.

    If you are dealing with raccoons in your area, (and probably other determined 4-legged predators), they could tip over the tractor to get at your chicks, hardware cloth or not. For them to be really safe, I think you would need to make the tractor semi-permanent - dig a trench around it and bury hardware cloth in the ground, and also attach the tractor solidly to the ground with posts of some kind so it can't be tipped.

    I had to keep our chicks inside our house, and got really tired of that really fast. I was very eager to get them into the coop when it was ready. It sounds like you are in the same place. I have heard so many stories about people coming out to find their chicks dead, that if you are not able to make the tractor absolutely secure, I would encourage you to do your best with keeping the chicks inside at night where predators can't get to them.
     
  4. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are two different issues though, right? One is just the strength of the fencing - will it be strong enough so that a big strong dog or racoon can't rip it apart or push it in, etc...and then there is the size-of-the-holes- issue - because a sneaky racoon can reach in between the wires and grab and injure or kill a chicken, right? And if I already have chicken with 1" holes, it doesn't really stop either issue.

    So if I bought 1/2" welded wire and covered the whole box, added more secure latches to the two doors, and then stapled a tarp over one end and the top - would that be relatively safe?

    A few doors down the street from me are some folks with a Andy Lee style chicken tractor with chicken wire (!!!) and they have not had any casualities while the birds were in the tractor - for two years now. They did lose two birds - one to a dog and 1 to a bird, but the chickens were out in the yard both times. So that makes me wonder if maybe things are a little safer around my neighborhood.

    Is a heavy duty staple gun expensive? It seems like a practical thing to own maybe - if its not too expensive.
     
  5. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    People say to use bungy cords to attach tarp so it has some give yet is really taunt. Make sure it is the kind of tarp with grommet holes around the edges to pass the bungy cord thru. The staples would probably tear and not hold if water or snow gathered on it.

    You can get a heavy duty stapler from home stores for about $19 but i think a box of galvanized poultry staples that you nail with a hammer would hold up much better against an attack.

    Regarding it being tipped over or something, i am sure you can find a way to place it in a space where it will be inaccessible. If it were me and i thought it was a little fragile, i might stack some cinderblocks around the sides of the coop or something around the sides and pavers all around the run for diggers. Or maybe you have some heavy outdoor furniture or ornaments that it could be sandwiched in between. I'm not sure what's around that you could use. But there are a lot of creative ways to reinforce something if you give it a bit of thought.
    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  6. raizin

    raizin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Electric fence twine. just put three layers, one at 4inches off of the ground one at 10 inches and one at 2 feet. get a small battery operated fence generator(they usually use "D" batteries) and you are done. No more predators from the ground. Then just bungy a tarp to part of the top and your chickens can get out of the rain. Place the tarp on an end so the chickens don't get water blown on them from the end. Hang the tarp over the top and partway down the sides and put the roost on that end.
     
  7. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there a simple and inexpensive way to add an electric element to a fence? I have longingly looked at electric poultry netting, flexinet, sheep netting - but it seems so much more expensive and bigger than I need. I live in a condo with a pretty tiny yard and my tractor is 3' by 5' and 2.5' tall. I love the idea of being able to run a few electric lines around it - but is it really do-able? I tried searching online for for the terms you used but couldn't find anything as simple and small and inexpensive as I need. Can you help?
     
  8. raizin

    raizin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you can get the electric fence twine at any farm supply store. It is just twine with 3-5 tiny wires braided through. It is very easy to handle and easy to cut. As far as a power supply look under electric fence. Again, you want something that is battery powered so it is very portable. I can't tell you what that will cost. I bought one for the fence to keep the cows away from my grapes and just ran a line over to the chicken coop. It was only $110. But, I do know the little battery ones are much cheaper. The twine is around $15 for a small roll. Let me know if you find a generator.
     
  9. raizin

    raizin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop

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