I found this Q&A on Yahoo Answers and thought it was great information that would certainly help others with their own chicken coop plans. Read the comments for further advice on fox barriers for your chicken building.

 

Question:
We are planning to build a chicken coop and run and note that it is recommended to place a solid barrier below ground level to prevent foxes and other predators from digging their way in. How far below ground level should the solid fox barrier be? ie how deep might they dig? Should we also place a chicken wire roof over the run as well or is that not necessary?

 

Answer:
I have chickens. I have a building with a 8 x 12 foot coop inside, with a small door(a piece of plywood on a rope than slides up and down to open and close it) to an outdoor run. The run is made from an old dog kennel(chain link fence). We have fox and coyote around here, and have never had anything try to dig under the fence. If you really are concerned about it, I would say two feet deep would be more than enough. The other option is just to be sure they are closed up inside each night. I do let the hens free range sometimes, and last summer I forgot to close them in at night, and they went out early the next morning and six were eaten by the coyotes!! We had some pheasant netting so we did cover the outside coop with it, but I am not sure that was really necessary either. Most people dont put anything over the tops of their runs around here(Minnesota, USA). Good luck, chickens are fun!!

 

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  • Ginny H

    I have chickens. I have a building with a 8 x 12 foot coop inside, with a small door(a piece of plywood on a rope than slides up and down to open and close it) to an outdoor run. The run is made from an old dog kennel(chain link fence). We have fox and coyote around here, and have never had anything try to dig under the fence. If you really are concerned about it, I would say two feet deep would be more than enough. The other option is just to be sure they are closed up inside each night. I do let the hens free range sometimes, and last summer I forgot to close them in at night, and they went out early the next morning and six were eaten by the coyotes!!
    We had some pheasant netting so we did cover the outside coop with it, but I am not sure that was really necessary either. Most people dont put anything over the tops of their runs around here(Minnesota, USA). Good luck, chickens are fun!!
    References :
    Owner of 5 brown egg laying hens

  • Jake C

    To avoid having to dig really deep, you can put the barrier at a 45 degree angle and reduce the size of the barrier by half, say 6 inches. Also, if you're worried enough to be thinking about an underground barrier, definitely go with the roof. I find that shade cloth from a hardware store works well, but you could do halves on the roof.
    References :
    Years of owning chickens.

  • Christine D

    We had 8 chickens and just recently have lost 3. The first two were victims of a falcon. The third a victim of a gray fox. As I write this, the fox has made a den underneath our shed and is sleeping there now. I am trying to figure out what to do with him and my chickens. We let them free range in the yard and lock them in their coop at night. However, this fox attacked one of the chickens during the day and so did the falcon (while we were home and our 2 dogs in the yard). I called Fish and Game. They told me that I should dig at least a foot below ground level for the solid barrier or we could put electric fencing up. The wire roof over the run is a must as a hawk or falcon could easily get to your chickens without this protection. We didn't know any of this as we are new to raising chickens. We are learning as we go along. Hopefully you and others can learn from our experience/mistakes. Good luck with your chickens. They are fun to raise and the eggs are delicious.
    References :

  • killerrobot66

    To be safe I'd say about half a metre-ish
    Foxes are very good at digging and rarely give up on the scent of a prey.
    They're adaquet climbers so decent roofing would be a good idea also.
    Garbage can attract them so dispose of it carefully in a bin rarther than just a bag.
    References :
    Personal expeiriance :(

  • Kristina

    It is HEART-BREAKING to find your beloved chickens ripped apart – trapped in their quarters with no escape, as predators had a great time with them.

    BEWARE that predators come in many varieties. IF you live where there are creatures of the wild we urge you to fence the chicken-run top in AND bury wire (or trench a border of wire or concrete or cement blocks to prevent digging under – to provide barriers at ground level and above for these helpless birds.

    Over time we have experienced the following:

    1. a black snake getting in through normal-sized chicken-wire and swallowing a mid-sized (teen-aged) chicken whole

    2. Some predator (Fox or Opossum?) biting through older wire and breaking it, and killing chickens

    3. Dogs/coyotes/foxes digging under surface level stone/cement block barriers around the outside chicken run

    4. the potential of Chicken hawks coming in from above the run (so we fenced it in too)