When we built our chicken coop 8 years ago, it never occurred to us that wild birds would fly into the coop each day and eat the chicken pellets. Nor did we know that rats from the adjoining open space would come in the night and help themselves. We use ¼” hardware wire around the bottom 3′ and 2″ square welded wire on the top.
I really didn’t mind that towhees and sparrows were eating the chicken food, but the numbers increased over the years, probably doubling the amount of feed we use and then the jays arrived.
Our little flock of 3 produce 2-3 eggs a day and that is perfect for our small family. We don’t however, have any extra eggs at this point. Suddenly, the eggs began being pecked, sometimes eaten, shell and all. Yes, hens DO eat eggs occasionally. We believed our hens were pecking their eggs and eating them. When this happens, the only solution is to ‘dispatch’ the hen. In other words, kill her.
For a while, we blamed it on Daisy. But alas, we saw (on camera) her leaving the nest with the egg intact. A kind reader also notified me that he saw her leave the egg whole and that there had been a jay nearby waiting. The indignity of having those 2 delicious, lovely, golden-yolked eggs being devoured each day by those pesky jays was enough to get my husband outside with a new roll of ¼ inch wire, hammer, and staples and spend a couple of afternoons sealing up that pretty little coop. Don covered the original 2″ welded wire (too much trouble to remove) with ¼” hardware wire,
The coop is now bird-proof. Since building the coop, he has had to do little maintenance over the years. But considering the problem with wild birds we’ve had, I’d recommend to anyone building a coop to spend a few extra dollars and use hardware wire or aviary wire to exclude wild birds, rats, and critters that harass your hens.