Bright Idea for Protecting chickens or not?

camariaAugust 1, 2008

Hi,

I'm building a 4x8 chicken tractor (portable coop) and I'm worried about leaving it bottomless due to predators. Although the girls are securely locked up at night, I'm away through the day. Our acreage has some really uneven, hilly spots. I've considered installing a wire mesh apron around the outside of the coop to deter digging, but just got this idea.

Has anyone installed hog panels on the bottom of their chicken tractors? The panels are rigid, very strong and I can get them with 4" by 4" spacing between the wires. I know that wire floors are bad for chickens feet, but with 4"x4" spacing couldn't the chickens still scratch at the ground and forage at the grass?

I know a wire floor with 4"x4" spacing won't keep small predators out, like weasels, but since these are nocturnal, the chickens will be safe and locked up from them at night. I'm more worried about foxes, coyotes and dogs digging under the tractor during the day, especially with our uneven ground and this seemed like a better option than running hardware cloth all the way around the outside of the coop. Any thoughts?

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deedeeminn

Having some kind of wire on the bottom is a good idea. My husband just built a tractor and used fencing with 2x2 mesh for the bottom. I think the 4x4 might leave a lot of room for the chickens to get stuck when you move it. That might work fine as long as you're careful when moving it though.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 4:28PM
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msjay2u(7)

My first thought is that 4x4 holes is more than enough room for some sneaky critters to get in. 2x2 should work great because whenever you put it down the grass and such will poke though the holes. They might not be able to scratch in the dirt all that good though. hmmmm.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 9:06AM
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deedeeminn

I was out of town when I made that first post, then checked with hubby at home. He actually used 1/2" mesh on the bottom, making it easy for the chickens to walk around on it. He built ours mostly for putting out in the pasture, so scratching dirt wouldn't apply. The grass will all pop up through the mesh for the chickens to eat. This mesh is pretty sturdy too.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 1:39PM
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