We built our coop in 2013 out of a ginormous server crate we got for free. We also had some pressure treated boards lying around so in keeping with our theme of reusing materials (and “not working too hard”) we used those to form a quick and easy foundation.
Everything was going along swimmingly until a gopher moved in underneath and started driving the dogs bat crap crazy. Hardly a day goes by that they aren’t trying to dig their way underneath and kill all the things. They also like to discuss this amongst themselves and these dogs do not use their inside voices.
To keep the dogs from driving us crazy and encourage the gopher to move elsewhere, we’ve decided this is definitely worth a little extra work.
Raise the coop high enough that rodents don’t feel comfortable setting up camp, and that chickens can use it for shade.
Add a fence underneath along the outside to keep chickens in and dogs out. Assume hardware cloth, because chicken wire is seen as an invitation by both dogs and chickens to defeat it.
- 4 Jacks
- Hardware Cloth
We have all of this around the house except for the sand. We have a set of four “ultra stacker jacks” from Camping World that we were using while levelling the RV. At 6,000 lbs capacity they were too low for that project and crazy overkill for this one, but at least they’ll be used.
The hardware cloth is left over from building the predator proof section of the chicken yard, and we should only need 6-8 feet of it.
Everything went exactly as we planned! Well, not exactly. We forgot about the enclosed run we’ve connected to one end of the coop for predator protection when we’re away. It wasn’t a huge hurdle, but of course we didn’t think about needing to move it when we first put everything together. We also decided to remove the roofing and add more hardware cloth for further rodent proofing.
June 6: This project is in the Purchasing/Gathering stage.
Actual Start Date for this project is on hold while our hen Phoebe is brooding in the laying box. We’ll move her after she’s had time to really commit to the effort, and then we’ll be able to move on to the next step: To raise one end of the coop and evaluate the condition of the bottom. It should be fine due to the base we made from recycled pressure treated lumber, but we may need to reinforce it. 5% complete.
July 3: Complete!
Cooler weather arrived as Phoebe the broody hen was ready to move out, so we were able to put the coop up on blocks where it will provide shade for birds and no more cover for gophers and other rodents.