Will pots of plants on apron around run reduce effectiveness?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by speckled6, May 4, 2017.

  1. speckled6

    speckled6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2017
    Southwest WI
    Hi all,
    Not sure if here is the best place to put this but I thought I'd try it since it involves the design of our run for the chickies.
    The plan is to put an apron of hardware cloth extending about 2 feet from the base of the run on the outside, but I'd like to line the outside of the run with pots of beneficial herbs for the chicks to make it pretty and give the girls something fun to pick at if it grows through the hardware cloth on the run.
    My concern is that having the pots there (up to about 9-12" in diameter or we may go with raised bed boxes, not for sure on that yet) will shorten the 2 feet to 1 foot of apron and potentially create an opportunity for them to discover an access point by going out a bit further to dig.
    Maybe I'm giving the nasty buggers more credit than they deserve, but I want to make sure my chickies are safe so I wanted to get some thoughts on this idea.
    I know they make 3 ft widths of hardware cloth and if it comes down to it, I'll go that route, but didn't want to impede on the husband's lawn anymore than I already am (with a 10x15' coop and 400+ sq ft run planned).
    Any insight if the 2 ft will work even with planters taking up about 1/2 the width?
    Any other suggestions, I'm open to any ideas.

    Some helpful info: We have a mixed flock of 30 birds, all standard size, just 3 weeks old now and still in the brooder in the garage. We have 1 roo for sure because we ordered him, but may have several more in the mix and will cull when the time comes. We have over an acre in the country surrounded by farm land and 3 dogs (2 black labs and 1 chocolate lab) that we must keep out as well since one already mouthed one of my girls (she's ok, but my heart stopped hardcore for a few beats). The run will be in a T formation off the short side of the of the coop b/c that's the space we have to put it and will butt up against our garden on 1 side (the outside top of the T).

    Thanks for any suggestions or input. I really appreciate it.
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    I think it should be ok with the pots on a 2' apron, because any pests that try digging at the base of the pots will still have a good foot of apron to navigate around, and most of them won't realize they can move back further to get around it. Even if they do, most of them will only dig so far before giving up. I had a rat try to burrow under my apron (18") and it went about 8" before quitting.

    If you do want to do a 3' apron and are worried about how that will look with the lawn, keep in mind that you can let grass can grow through the apron to hide it without lessening the effectiveness of the apron.
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    It should be just fine but if you're worried just leave a gap in the pots every couple of feet. Any predators will likely be drawn to those closer spots and will try digging there where they will be furthest from the apron's edge. Additionally, make sure you tack the edges of the apron down well so that it lies flush with the ground to help prevent nosey noses from realizing where the edge is.
  4. speckled6

    speckled6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2017
    Southwest WI
    Awesome! Thanks so much for the replies, I feel much safer about it now.
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    I lay down boards on my aprons to weigh them down. The pots will have a similar effect, I think it will improve the effectiveness of the apron.
  6. speckled6

    speckled6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2017
    Southwest WI
    I hadn't thought of that. Thank you!
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If you cover too much of the apron, especially near the outer edge(like pavers from wall to outer edge) it can defeat the purpose.
    They'll just start digging at outer edge and go underneath the apron.

    But your plan of 2' of apron and some pots near the wall, with gaps in between pots as talkalittle suggests, should be fine.

    If you get the HC down tight against the ground, and the ground is nice and flat, you/he should be able to mow right over it.
    Might be worth peeling back the sod and burying the apron a couple inches.
  8. speckled6

    speckled6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2017
    Southwest WI
    Thanks so much for the reply. I do plan to keep the pots close to the fence and will put some space between them as suggested to lure the critters in so I can foil their evil plan to steal my Chickie's!

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