I need some advice on using correct wire for chicken coupe

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Hi.. I have an old tobbaco barn and in it lives about 125 chickens and some chicks. On the front of this I would like to build maybe a 9ft by 20 ft. outside pen. I just want to be able to open the pen and let them out. I'm planning on digging down some and bury about a ft. of the wire. What kind of wood and wire should I use? I want to do this once and not every year. This will be about 12ft. high also. On the front will be a screen door. I'm sick of the hawks coming and helping themselves for dinner. Thanks again for allllll of your ideas. James the chicken man not FRANK heee-heeee

-- JAMES (onemaur@yahoo.com), May 04, 2002


I said it before not long ago. The easiest way to work woth chicken wire is to use 2x4s and create frames to staple the wire onto the 2x4 frame and then nail the frames together creating a lid and all.

-- julie (jbritt@ceva.net), May 04, 2002.

If you have no predators, use chicken wire. But if you have even one raccoon...chicken wire won't keep out a raccoon! tore a hole in my chicken wire to get in.

I finally went to chain link fencing (also called cyclone fence) and wrapped that in 48 inch chicken wire to keep the chicks in, but welded wire works just as good.

Get Livestock Guardian Dogs, use chicken wire and let the dogs do the rest!

-- westbrook (westbrook_farms@yahoo.com), May 04, 2002.

I use regular chicken wire for my 2 outside pens and string heavy nylon cord, criss scrossed from the fence to the chicken house. This has kept the hawks and eagles out. We have racoons around but I shut the chicken house at dusk and have not lost any chickens. The nylon cord lasts about 3 years. Then when it begins to break I replace it. This has worked for the hawks in OR, and here in WA too, but here the eages are the worst. I let the ducks and chickens free range on the property most of the year, but during the summer, when the eagles are nesting along the nearby river, keep the chickens in their yard, and the ducks penned in the orchard.

-- Duffy (hazelm@tenforward.com), May 04, 2002.

9 x 20 is not too large an area, why not put in a concrete floor? It's going to be outside where it will get muddy when it's rainy, and for that many birds they are going to keep it all stirred up as dirt, anyway--nothing will grow there. That will make it much easier to go down to the ground with wire and really anchor it to the concrete instead of trying to bury it. Yes, it's more work and more expense, but if you only want to do the job once, it's how I'd do it. And of course if you have to do the job twice it's probably because you lost birds . . . You could put sand down to make it more bird friendly and let them scratch and dust themselves in it.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (jlance@nospammail.com), May 04, 2002.

Ditto about the chicken wire and raccoons . . . raccoons can tear through it as can dogs. We have chain link fencing to keep OUT predators and have wrapped it with 1" poultry wire on the inside to keep IN the chickens. We dug down about 6" or so when putting up the chain link fence--not enough to deter a persistent predator willing to really dig, but good enough for our dogs (who aren't really diggers).

The dogs are a mixed blessing--they kill raccoons, but given half a chance, they'd wipe out the chickens. {sigh}

With the screen door, make sure it's not a super-simple latch. I have heard stories from neighbors of raccoons who have opened eye- hook latches before . . . those guys have frightening manual dexterity.

-- Julie in NC (jwoessner@rtmx.net), May 04, 2002.

I think that you might have been asking about the size of wire. Use the inch chick wire around the base, if you have chicks, and the two inch, higher up. Babies can fit through the two inch chick wire. We use hog wire/field fencing and then put the chick wire over that.

-- lacyj (hillharmony@hotmail.com), May 04, 2002.

Just my 1/2 cents worth here James. For my ducks I don't trust chicken wire or chain link. Of course if you lock up your chickens at night in a secure 'house then its not a problem. Also I know that chickens roost up on perches whereas ducks rest on the ground. So my ducks are more vulnerable than chickens. For my secure overnight pens that attach to the duckhouse I use 1'X1/2" welded wire and the tops are roofed. It's a common misconception that you have to bury wire to keep out predators. All you have to do is lay a 4 ft section on the ground the length of each side of the pen and leave 24 " on the outside of the pen and 24" on the inside. No worries mate! LOL Sounds like an interesting project and you've had some neat ideas already. :) LQ

-- Little Quacker in OR (carouselxing@juno.com), May 04, 2002.

Chicken wire is only good for keeping the birds IN. It's no good for keeping predators OUT. Dogs/coyotes, etc. go thru it like it's melted butter. 'Coons/'possums can stick a paw in the one inch wire and grab a bird. Snakes can crawl thru. And so it goes.

I've attached 1/2 inch hardware cloth to the chainlink. Nothing can climb it or reach thru to grab a bird. Any type of wire, such as chain link, across the top, will keep out the hawks and owls.

-- ~Rogo (rogo2222@hotmail.com), May 04, 2002.

The one thing you MUSN'T do is hot-wire it. If the police find out you've hot-wired a coupe, they'll arrest you for "grand theft auto".

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), May 05, 2002.

Jeez Don, that was really bad! LOL LMAO!!! but funny! And it took me a while to "get it", LOL LQ

-- Little Quacker in OR (carouselxing@juno.com), May 05, 2002.

Try putting a motion dector light setup out by the coop. Remove one side and connect it to a radio turned up high with loud rock music. when ever a pred. comes by the light and sound combo we chase away everything but snakes even the 2 legged types. Make sure its connected to a light switch so you can turn it off when your out there.

-- steve buvkley (grandpa_steve@hotmail.com), May 09, 2002.

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