Posts tagged with ‘Hardware Cloth’


Can I build The Garden Coop on a slope?

Monday, September 13th, 2010

You can build The Garden Coop on a slope fairly easily because the frame of the chicken coop rests on piers. As long as your piers are tall enough on the lower end of the slope, you can use those to compensate for the height difference and keep the frame level. I recommend 16″ (400 mm) cinderblocks positioned vertically for this purpose. Our coop plans describe this in greater detail.

You also want to make sure that the hardware cloth is long enough to still be buried on all sides of the chicken coop by a foot or more. This is part of the process of making sure your chicken coop is predator proof and secure from tunneling critters. Again, our coop plans describe how to do this. If your slope is drastic, you can add some framing on the low end below the basic frame to help attach the hardware cloth to.

Level Floor Of Chicken Coop On Slope

Above is a picture of a Garden Coop that Christine S. and her son built on a slight slope in their backyard near Seattle. The photo is a little grainy but should give you an idea of how to use the piers to keep the frame level. The picture below is of their finished chicken coop, wrapped with hardware cloth and chicken wire.

How To Build Chicken Coop On Slope

Have you used The Garden Coop chicken coop plans to build a coop on uneven ground? What worked for you, and what didn’t? Share your tips and suggestions below.

Urban foxes in Melbourne, Australia (and how to protect your chickens)

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Apparently, people, there is a growing problem with urban foxes in the major cities of Australia. I learned about this from a customer who wrote for ways to keep his flock secure from these foxes in a mobile chicken coop like The Garden Ark.

To hear what I proposed pertaining to predator proofing his portable poultry pen, please press play. . .

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(runs 4:18)

Or read on. . .


Make It Your Own: Mike and Dara’s Garden Coop

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Portland Chicken Coop Family Portrait

I got a nice message the other day from Mike and Dara P. of Portland who built their backyard chicken coop using The Garden Coop plans.

Their coop works beautifully in their city backyard and fits well into their neighborhood. It also makes a great backdrop for their family holiday card!

In the note they sent, they shared tips from their experience building The Garden Coop as well as some of the ways that they customized the design to work for their situation. Here are some excerpts:


Is the zinc coating on galvanized hardware cloth harmful to chickens?

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

If you keep small birds as pets, you may have heard that you shouldn’t use galvanized hardware cloth when making your own birdcage. The reason is that high levels of zinc can be toxic (this is true for humans too). When hardware cloth is galvanized, sometimes little globs of it will be left near where two wires cross. Small birds that use their beaks to climb and maneuver around their cage can eventually break these off and swallow them whole.

This is not a problem with chickens, however, both because of their much larger size and because they don’t climb or chew on the cloth with their beaks.

What about plants? Plants actually need zinc, though as with anything, too much can be harmful. You’ll notice with your hardware cloth that, over time, the finish begins to get duller. This is the zinc gradually weathering off the wire, washing down to the ground. This process happens so slowly that it should not create a harmful buildup of zinc in the soil.

Will hardware cloth rust if I bury it?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Because pests and predators will often try to tunnel under a barrier to get to the chicken goodness on the other side, some coop designs, including The Garden Coop, call for burying the hardware cloth down about a foot or more on all sides. You might think the wire would rust faster down there because of the moisture, yet because it’s exposed to less oxygen in the ground, it actually tends to last even longer. I’ve read of hardware cloth being unearthed intact after 30 years in the ground. So this shouldn’t be a concern.

Make It Your Own: Tony J.’s hybrid coop

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

I had just finished putting the wheels on one of my first Garden Arks this past July, and as I rolled it out of the garage to snap a few pictures to add into the new plan, a neighbor happened to be strolling by with his baby and dog. He stopped to introduce himself, and we started talking coops (everyone does that, right?). Although this was the first time we’d met, it turns out Tony had been considering The Garden Coop design online. . .

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I started selling plans for The Garden Ark, and when my first sale came in, I was thrilled. I even thought about framing the PayPal receipt the way brick-and-mortar shops display their first dollar—alas, another tradition made less charming by e-commerce.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, I was surprised to get an email from Tony with photos of his finished coop. Turns out he was that first customer! He explained that he’d bought the plans for The Garden Ark, but wanted to bring in certain elements he’d seen on The Garden Coop.

The results are pretty cool. (more…)

What’s the best kind of chicken wire and fencing?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Fencing of some kind is essential around your coop and/or chicken yard to keep your chickens in and to keep pests and predators out. Pests (mice, rats, snakes, etc.) want your chickens’ dinner. Predators (dogs, raccoons, foxes, hawks, etc.) want your chickens for dinner. There are a several kinds of wire and fencing, and I’ll talk about a handful of them here:

Galvanized hardware cloth. This is the best material for enclosing a chicken coop or enclosed run. In particular, you want 1/2″ galvanized hardware cloth (usually 19 gauge). Smaller openings could be too brittle, and larger openings will not deter against rats or snakes. Hardware cloth comes in 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-foot rolls—with 3′ and 4′ being the most common — and in roll lengths anywhere from 5, 25, 50 to 100 feet.

The mesh is made by weaving or welding steel wires together, then hot-dipping it in zinc (galvanizing it) to protect it from rust. It’s a stiff product, but you can bend it by hand, cut it fairly easily with a pair of wire snips, and attach it to your frame or posts with 3/4″ galvanized poultry fencing staples. Once bent into shape, hardware cloth holds its shape well. Avoid using staples from a hand-powered staple gun. They rust easily, and if/when they slip out, they will get pecked at. Galvanized staples shot from a pneumatic staple gun, on the other hand, work great.

See our online Buyer’s Guide for more specific recommendations on hardware cloth, wire snips, and air-powered staplers for your chicken coop project. 

Chicken wire. Maybe because of its name, this is what most people think to use first on their coops. It’s made of thin wire woven together to create hexagonal openings. It’s relatively cheap but rusts quickly. And while it will keep your chickens in, it won’t keep the raccoons out. . . . (more…)