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Fence and other suggestions for planned coop and run

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey all,


I haven't gotten any birds yet, but I'm planning on getting some this coming spring (5 or so to start with) and would appreciate any input I can get.


I currently have a lean-to that used to be something of a small horse shed... I plan on eventually converting it to a chicken coop, but before that I plan on just building/getting a simple coop that I can put inside the lean-to, until it is ready.


I plan on free-ranging the birds during the day inside a long and narrow fenced area of about 50' x 200'.  The coop will be at one end of the 200'.  I can make this area more square... maybe include more trees? I thought this is already large enough?


I live on 3 acres next to some woods.  The coop will be on the side towards the woods, and about 400' from a busy highway. The run will extend from the coop away from the highway 200'.


What kind of fence should I use?  What height? I was thinking just chicken wire and some metal posts, and bury it about 6"?  I do have access to a trencher so burying it should be easy.


I have no close neighbors, so that's not an issue, however I am somewhat concerned with the chickens getting out and getting on the highway...  


I would like to keep them contained in their area as much as I reasonably can... but I'm thinking chicken wire and metal posts won't keep them in very well?  I have heard that most chicken fences are more for keeping predators out, than chickens in... is this true?  Do chickens roam less if there is a rooster?  With the highway 400' (maybe 450') feet away, do I need to worry about the birds going that far?



Thanks for any and all input!

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
Another thought... If there is no reasonable way to keep them in the fenced in area... Do i even need a fence? Maybe securing the coop would be good enough? Would a fence even be worth it?
post #3 of 12
Fence them with 6 foot fencing and purchase heavy bodied breeds. Then clip one wing for good measure. I have Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks and those fat-bottom girls would have a tough time making it over my 6 foot perimeter fence even if they wanted to. If you're still worried, bend the top foot of wire inward.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Do i still need 6ft fencing if i clip one of the wings? Would 4' work?
post #5 of 12
I wouldn't trust 4 feet to keep them in. Clipping doesn't totally ground them. It just prevents them from getting much lift and pulls them off course. They can still flutter around. If they can see the top of the fence they will be more apt to try and leap it. You're safer going with 6 feet from the beginning than having to modify a 4 foot fence later. Also, they are less apt to try and go over a fence if they aren't clear where the top edge is so fencing that has no solid rail at the top to land on is your best bet for keeping them contained.
post #6 of 12
I just noticed that you're considering using chicken wire. I would suggest against that. Chicken wire isn't tremendously durable. Predators can rip right through it. Dogs, coyotes, and foxes--all common daytime predators--can get right through it easily. It'salso ppretty flimsy and you'll need more posts to ensure the fence doesn't bend and sag. When buried or in contact with the ground it rusts pretty quickly, too.

I'd use 2x3 or 2x4 welded wire fencing. It's much more rigid and will support itself better than the chicken wire. You can pull it taut and it won't stretch and distort. It will stand up better to contact with the ground and offers more protection from predators than chicken wire. It's more expensive but you'll use fewer posts and get a stronger fence. One downside is that chicks can get through the openings, but run some chicken wire around the bottom 2-3 feet (probably the only instance I recommend chicken wire) and you're all set.
post #7 of 12

Welcome!  I would plan to modify your run-in shed as a coop, and attach a covered run to the side so you have a very safe place for your birds.  No chicken wire!!!  My coop and run are walk-in height;  you will regret having anything shorter.  I've also got 2"x4" horse fencing, and some 4"x4" goat fencing on the lot line with the near neighbors, so when my flock free ranges, they very rarely stray in that direction.  And their dogs aren't at my coop...   Chickens are jungle animals and prefer trees and shrubs, so that helps too.  Mary

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks all! I appreciate the info. We do also have horse fencing at the lot line, although it's coming down in some areas.

I'm also thinking about no fencing and just securing the coop only...what would be the downside? Would it work? Or maybe just repairing the horse fence at the property line? The only problems i can think of are predators, them getting into my pool, or them getting on the road about 450' away? We also have cats and a dog, but i think they would probably just leave the birds alone.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was planning on having them free range all day with no one here, but Mary's suggestion may be my favorite... Attach a smaller run to the coop and only let them truly free range when someone is home. This will also provide a safer option if we go on vacation etc...

Again, thanks all so much
post #10 of 12
That's the set up I have. Secure coop, somewhat secure run, and less secure open space with perimeter fence. Mostly I let them range only when I'm home (but I'm home a lot). Me being on the property won't guarantee no losses, but hopefully will prevent catastrophic losses. If I'm gone for extended periods during the day I lock them in the pen. I'm just not comfortable with the risk.
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