We have had issues with wild (domestic) cats killing off our flock when we allow them to free range in our 3 acre yard. However, I worry that the run we built for them on the side of the coop may be too small to keep them happy and provide enough hunting ground. We have 4 adult birds now and 6 young chickens (6-11 weeks old) that we will be moving out there when the weather warms up a little. Is it better to allow them to free range and take our chance with predators or is it better to keep them in the coop and run? And should the run be bigger to accommodate all 10 chickens? The coop has nesting boxes and roosting poles inside. We cover it in plastic during the winter with ventilation to keep them warmer and remove most of the plastic during the summer to prevent over heating. We had the bottom half of the run covered with plastic due to one of our chickens getting killed by having its head pulled through the mesh by a predator, but recent storms ripped it off.
This is only the beginning of our 2nd year of having chickens since we adopted the first 3 when a family member moved and had to give them up. We are still learning and this website and the forums have been very beneficial.