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Coop for free range

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I got my first ever day old chicks this spring, and so far 9 of the 10 are still alive. One was attacked and killed when we left them out for about 10 hours one day, when they were younger. Anyways, I have a coop with a 100 SF run enclosed by hardware cloth. They get let out of the coop/run almost daily for a few hours but I want them out more. I have thought about making a bigger run that's more like 100' x 100' out of regular horse fence, to keep dogs and such out. I wouldn't mind just free ranging them instead but I guess I have questions about the coop, in that case. If I just free range them all the time, how do I keep predators out of the open coop during the day?
post #2 of 9

During the day  your predators will attack your chickens in the 100 x 100  Run.    Hawks as the leaders.     The rest of the predators are mostly nocturnal.   Raccoons, being the most common will climb the fence regardless.   will  get into your coop if not well enforced.    Bobcats, pretty much nothing you can do to keep them away.  Fox will attack during daytime and are able to burrow under fences.   Coyotes are daytime  problems as well but fences seem to keep them out.   Bottom line..  you have daytime dangers to some degree and even larger night time dangers as well.      Solution for night, is to lock the coop.    If you are not able to do it personally, then I may suggest an automatic door  closer ,, battery operated.    Ador 1 is a common one that comes to mind.   $200....   To protect from hawks, you need overhead netting.    The size of run you are talking about would require a huge netting,    Costly and cumbersome.    Maybe make a secure run that is smaller  and well secured and let them free range when you feel there is minimal danger. 

 

WISHING YOU BEST AND:welcome

post #3 of 9

You couldn't close the coop after letting them out in the mornings? Maybe have someone do it for you? You can offer them a couple of eggs a day or something. You could also buy an automatic door like cavemanrich said.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

cavemanrich, yeah they have a very secure run right now, with 1/4" hardware cloth, I just want something bigger

 

Zinniah, I could do that but then they wouldn't be able to get to their nest boxes

post #5 of 9
@klemsontigers7 Chicken tractors are great but I wanted bigger for a breeder pen for giants, have sussex in now also but they will be moved back to big coop in the spring. This is what I built, 4'x8' mini coop, 100' welded wire fence topped with bird netting to keep hawks out. It's movable until posts freeze in.
Still have to add a couple small windows and nest boxes that open from outside.

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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by klemsontigers7 View Post

I got my first ever day old chicks this spring, and so far 9 of the 10 are still alive. One was attacked and killed when we left them out for about 10 hours one day, when they were younger. Anyways, I have a coop with a 100 SF run enclosed by hardware cloth. They get let out of the coop/run almost daily for a few hours but I want them out more. I have thought about making a bigger run that's more like 100' x 100' out of regular horse fence, to keep dogs and such out. I wouldn't mind just free ranging them instead but I guess I have questions about the coop, in that case. If I just free range them all the time, how do I keep predators out of the open coop during the day?

Well, you can't<shrugs>

but sounds like there is a tortuous path from the horse fence paddock thru the enclosed run(I assume it's roofed solid or mesh) and into the coop.

 

Most predators that crafty are mostly nocturnal, so chances are low...but always look carefully in coop before locking up for the night. 

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 9

Just to add to aarts comment. I used to free range all the time, did prefer it until I kept losing them during the day. We have all the predators, fox,coyotes,bears,racoon,skunk,opossum,fisher,....Our outside dogs keep them away. It's the hawks that were getting mine, smart chickens can avoid them some of the time but they get them eventually, and I spend to much on them to feed hawks. That's why I went to a large movable enclosed run. Check out chicken tractors, many threads on BYC on them. They don't get the freedom of eating the bugs and worms etc on our tree line, but at least they have fresh ground to work.

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post #8 of 9
 
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
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A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
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post #9 of 9


That's about the best link I've ever read on BYC, thanks Beekissed! 

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