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Dog Proof Coop — The Grow Network Community
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Dog Proof Coop

MelindaMelinda Greater Atlanta AreaPosts: 120 ✭✭✭

Hi all. About six years ago I had a mess of chickens, then we moved to the city (they were given to another local farmer who could use them). We have since moved again and are able to have hens here.

The problem: I have since adopted a dog with a high prey instinct. We had an average coop with a few hens and she destroyed it to get to the hens. She is part pit bull and part boxer. Beautiful and sweet, but I really need to be able to keep her away from the chickens. (We have two other dogs, but they were ok with the first coop.)

Does anyone have links to coop plans that will keep doggies like her out? I’m starting to think I need a chain link fence sunk three foot down, instead of the chicken wire. Thoughts?


  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,053 admin

    For a run, you could use chain link or preferably welded hardware cloth. Chicken wire only keeps birds in. It keeps nothing out. Make sure that the dog can't get over the top of your run. If you have to, close that over as well. We had one large dog climb a cattle panel. Foxes can climb 6' fences too. Then there are winged predators. Keep all of these in mind when securing.

    Around the edges of the coop, if you don't want to dig down, place a skirt of hardware cloth 2' out around the perimeter. Either cover this with a bit of dirt to keep it in place or put some bricks or stones on it here & there to keep it in place until grass grows through it. This will keep it in place & you can then remove your weights.

    We have done this with most of our runs. The plan is to do it with all since it works so well.

    We use the 1/2" size. It keeps wild birds out (that bring with them mites & lice) and keeps everything else out (raccoons, skunks, cats, rats, foxes, dogs). Only mice & weasels can get through that.

    As far as a base to most of ours, we are using insulated garage door panels. At the moment, they are heavy tarp covered. We are considering putting a hard roof on each because snow load can be a factor here. But first, we are experimenting with roof styles and so far, hip roof is working best. We keep these unheated and close up most of the ends in winter with a little room for ventilation.

    Maybe look for used garage door panels? You could build these up quite high if you need to, they would be easy to clean, and some even have small windows. The birds love windows!

  • MommaMoMommaMo Posts: 91 ✭✭✭

    We used chain link on our coop. The perimeter base is wooden planks. The roof is corrugated tin at a slant so the rain rolls off. It keeps the cayotes out.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 580 admin
    edited March 23

    Agree with @LaurieLovesLearning -- there's a lot of confusion about chicken wire, but its purpose is to keep chickens away from things, not to keep predators away from your chickens. We live in an area with heavy predator pressure, and we've got a fully enclosed run made of 1/2-inch hardware cloth. It's more expensive, for sure, but it's strong and it works. (Our next-door neighbor, who has a much less sturdy and secure coop and run, loses birds often and is constantly having to replace them. :( )

    To thwart the diggers, we also have what's called a fence apron (Laurie refers to this in her post, too -- also called a "skirt") -- made with the same hardware cloth -- that extends around the perimeter of the run. Ours is 1-1/2 feet. Some people bury their apron down and then out away from the run, but since we live in the Rocky Mountains and have an abundance of rocks available to us for free, we just have the apron sitting on the ground and covered in heavy rocks all the way around. It has worked fine for us, but YMMV....

    I wish I could direct you to coop plans. I'll keep my eyes open....

  • toreytorey Posts: 1,314 admin

    Also agree with @LaurieLovesLearning and @Merin Porter. We had a dog that would break into the chicken run. Not to go after the chickens but she was so jealous when we gave them kitchen scraps, she would rip the chicken wire to get the scraps. It took a couple of times of finding the chickens out to realise that the dog was the culprit. We wove pieces of rebar into the fencing and hammered them into the ground. That kept her out but might not be sufficient for other animals.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,053 admin

    @MommaMo Tin is a great idea, unless you have guineas in a rain or hailstorm! 😬 I can just imagine the panicked noise. Haha!

    You would also have to be very mindful of ventilation so there is no overheating. How is yours set up to avoid that? I like our set up, but am always looking for potentially better ideas to incorporate.

  • MelindaMelinda Greater Atlanta AreaPosts: 120 ✭✭✭

    Great ideas! Thank ya’ll!

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